A Diabolical Odyssey: Firm3D’s quest for a suitable sequel to Diablo 2
I’ve kind of been on a quest. A quest to figure out what it is, beyond the obvious (DRM, endless repetition), that has been so disappointing about Diablo III. The only reason I haven’t reinstalled Diablo II is it’s awkward; Blizzard haven’t released a patch to make it compatible with Intel Macs and Apple took Rosetta out of the operating system, which is what allowed Mac users to run pre-Intel OS X applications. That leaves CrossOver, which lets you run Windows app without a Windows license on Mac OS and Linux, but I’m not sure my Mac saves would work in a Windows version of Diablo II and I don’t want to start from the beginning.
So what have I been playing to satisfy that shameful urge? I’m talking about loot-lust of course. Well, I already played a lot of Sacred 2. What it does better than Diablo III is its loot management and how you get around. How is it better? Loot can be sold in much the same way at vendors, but it can also be scrapped from the inventory screen, giving instant cash. As for the transport, you just open the map and click anywhere you’ve already been. Even that could be frustrating though, if it weren’t for quick loading. It helps that there are more areas to Sacred 2 as well. Yup, totally going back to that… At some point.
You see, lately I’m playing Kingdoms of Amalur. Which manages to be even more like World of Warcraft than Diablo III. I know right!? Guess what, it also lets you manage your gear and transport more easily than Diablo III. When you loot or go through your inventory in Amalur, you can press a button to send it to Junk. How’s that useful? That same button sells all junk when you’re buying stuff from a vendor.
Aw, but then something bad happened. Two Worlds II GOTY went on sale on PSN for cheap. I’d bought that for Mac when it hit Steam, but it ran poorly and even if you can tweak the settings to a good place, they were forgotten every time you quit the game. Dammit! But I saw something worth pursuing and liked the way magic worked in the game; you build your own spells from their components through cards, like fire, whether it’s a homing bolt or an area effect, whether it’s damage or protection. And like I said: Cheap.
So the frame-rate isn’t great on PS3 and there are plenty of rough edges here, but I definitely dig it. I seem to be fond of saying lately: It’s a kind of broken I can get behind. For contrast, every Bethesda RPG after Oblivion is not the kind of broken I can get behind.
Hold up, I missed something important. All these games have actual choices where you, you know, choose things when you level up. I know, it’s a radical idea that
Blizzard once embraced, but in Diablo III it’s all decided for you. You have zero options for specialisation and that has to be the most galling thing of all about Diablo III: It’s designed on the assumption that you’re too stupid to make you’re own choices. No doubt Blizzard would wheel out the old “accessibility” excuse, but it counts for nothing. It’s an excuse that says everyone is stupid. Newsflash: People who don’t play games aren’t stupid, they’re just not into games. Both developers and gamers need to get over their insecurities and just make/play the games they want.