The Diablo III saga (SNAFU) continues

Gamers have been waiting years for the latest installment of the Diablo franchise to go live.

Sadly, the introduction of Diablo III went much the same way as the roll out of Duke Nukem (another long-anticipated title), insomuch as the game was lambasted by reviewers and plagued with launch issues. Yes, Blizzard opted for an architecture that requires server access to play, and those servers have been up and down since the game launched.

On top of the annoying server glitches, some gamers who actually managed to log on and play found very little to like.

Indeed, reviews on Metacritic are flaming Diablo III and lambasting Blizzard for disappointing gamers after years of anticipation.

Diablo III has racked up 1839 Metacritic reviews with an average score of 3.5 since it launched. While not all of those reviews are bad, some of the negative reviews do highlight various issues a number of gamers have with the title. Many of the less than stellar reviews tend to focus on Blizzard’s rather unpopular DRM system that forces users to remain online and log in via servers.

Other reviews slammed the cookie-cutter game play and sloppy graphics which are arguably not on par with previous titles, while others claimed they managed to beat the game in under seven hours. One reviewer wrote, “If Blizzard demands that the user have an active online connection. The user should be allowed to demand an active online connection.” Clearly, the statement is aimed at the servers that have been down due to a traffic overload.

Another particularly scathing review is from a user going by the name of Psychodrake. “Where do I start? Graphics – Woah. One of the biggest developers in the world can’t even deliver a game that looks half decent. What is the bloody industry coming to. Not even Blizzard care about taking steps forward with technology. The game suffers from low-res textures, low-poly models and some of the sloppiest animation work I have ever witnessed. Sound – Redeeming feature. I gave the game a 2 just because the soundtrack is good. Story – Nothing special, beaten already… Where did all that development time go? Forced DRM – Nothing can excuse the trouble people had playing the game they paid for. This is a disgusting practice that needs to go. I can’t say much more. The game is the embodiment of disappointment.”

Blizzard has responded to user outrage over downed servers by issuing the following official statement: “We want to sincerely apologize for the difficulties many of you encountered on day one. Our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough.”

The servers were supposed to come back up at 7 AM this morning, and so far reports indicate the network is, in fact, online and operating. Hopefully, the servers will continue to remain afloat, allowing susbscribers to finally play the game they paid for. However, gamers who haven’t been able to get online and play Diablo III may find, like other users, that it fails to deliver.