While the four-player cap and lack of PvP are a pretty big bummer, the multiplayer is every bit as strong as it was before. The addition of more debuffs encourages party play, and the enemies are a bit stronger than before with multiple players to encourage actual team movements rather than 8 guys randomly massacring a zone. This is emphasized by the fact that everyone gets their own loot from kills, so an issue that was problematic with Diablo II is fixed.
Guys! Join my game! My lightning won't fork to hit you, even if I wanted it to!
Still, the inability to create ‘themed’ games such as chat, trade, PvP, lore, whatever is a detractor. I never thought about how much the ability to name or join a named game would matter--after all, Starcraft II did this to custom games, but you knew what you were getting into regardless because of the map you double-clicked on. I hope Blizzard enables named games down the line, because not everyone wants to steamroll bosses and get rares all day.... Oh wait, I forgot what game this is.
With an additional difficulty setting compared to previous games, Blizzard seems to be trying to stretch your $60 further this time around. The game is still winnable until Inferno with virtually every build, but once you get there, its a bit of a rude awakening from Act II on. Itll become a slugfest that consumes perhaps a few hundred hours of your life, if not your soul. Plus, let's not downplay the fact that Battle.net is still gloriously free - a fact much in doubt for most of D3's run up.
It has been a while since I could endorse a game at the new retail sticker price, and I must say that your wallet will thank you from the meals youll forget to eat and movies youll miss from staying in and pummeling Hells forces.
With enough content to keep a working man busy for years, and the inevitable expansion or three around the corner to touch on the other prime evils, theres no doubt in my mind that Diablo III is here to stay. However, this game does not replace Diablo II. At the end of the day, I feel that Diablo II is a more twitch game that rewards perfect play (and punishes mistakes immensely!) where Diablo III is a more balanced game that is designed to be played and enjoyed by all, and not just the people who love to farm.
While near perfect--youll be drooling for more on your first play through no matter what--the shimmer does wear off a tiny bit on successive play throughs and youll begin to notice flaws yourself that hamper the experience ever so slightly. Thats the most important part though--none of these flaws are so great that you throw your hands up in disgust.
Instead, youll still be pummeling monsters until dawn. Youll still hunt Diablo down. Everything you love about the formula has not changed all that much, and the core game is still strong enough to become your obsession and/or the downfall of your relationship with your significant other.