BlizzCon 2008: Diablo III Hands-On Preview

By Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor
By Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

The fight between the forces of good and evil can never be truly finished. Despite all the efforts of the moral and ethically pure, evil tends to linger in the hearts and minds of any being with free will. In the world of Sanctuary, few entities exist that are beyond the touch of evil, even those that seem to have the greatest intentions. It's up to the players of Diablo III to step in the path of the greatest of those evils and destroy those creatures before they can annihilate everything they come in contact with.

I didn't consider the D3 graphics to be cartoony in the slightest.

At BlizzCon 2008, I had the opportunity to take a look at the gameplay of Diablo III, which features this eternal struggle on the world of Sanctuary. Unlike the rest of the staff at Ten Ton Hammer, I was uniquely qualified for this particular task as my judgments of Diablo III haven't yet been augmented by any previous loyalty to either of the previous two Diablo games. (Editor's Note: It's shocking, isn't it? If you're looking for a seasoned veteran, read Garrett Fuller's wizard class overview.) As a fresh mind, it was my duty to take a critical look at what was being offered at BlizzCon '08 and give you a brief glimpse of what can be expected from this game-in-development. With my fingers primed and ready for some rapid mouse clicking, I stepped up to the rather crowded computer area and set myself loose on hordes of hungry zombies.

Upon setting my virtual feet onto the stony path of the demo village, I paused to get a feel for the world around me. Apparently, the Diablo III developers had opted to place my character at the very entrance to a village that had been overwhelmed by an army of particularly nasty undead creatures. Even though no action was taking place on screen, I could already feel the atmospheric immersion that the Blizzard developers had lightly discussed in many of their panels.

If you think zombies are similar to drawings of Rainbow Brite, you may need to see a doctor.

Although many Diablo fans have uttered their frustration with the "super rainbow fun time" graphics that they saw in the initial unveiling, I could immediately feel a dark, foreboding dread as I stood outside the gates of the village. Those individuals who believed that Diablo III wouldn't be a dark and sinister game are absolutely wrong. As I explored the village, there was moment after moment that I encountered that pointed to the absolute depth of the depravity you'll find in the world of Sanctuary.

For example, as my character traveled down a particular road in the village, I saw a man standing next to the opening of a basement. I moved towards him, sure that he would need my help, but before I could reach him the man was pulled into the basement from behind, screaming and kicking. As I watched, gouts of blood poured from the basement as body parts and entrails burst forth and rolled on the ground.

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