I know it’s not fair to compare every dungeon crawler to Diablo 3, but for me, that game defines what a dungeon crawler should be. It’s not perfect, but it’s as close to perfection as we’ve got. So maybe I’m a little spoiled. I’ve spent more hours than I can count in Diablo 3, and everything else since then just seems a little… bland.
I’m a huge Torchlight 2 fan, and it’s a fantastic game with some creative game play and amazing loot drops, but it can’t match Diablo 3 in terms of a complete gaming experience. I haven’t given Borderlands 2 a fair shake, and I’ve never played any Phantasy Star Online, but it’s hard for me to imagine anything topping D3 when I need my dungeon crawler fix.
I tried to introduce a new game into my rotation this week with Dungeon Siege 3. Granted it’s not technically “new”, but I picked it up during the Autumn Steam sale and was really excited to try it out. I like the premise – I get to choose a character, and over the course of the game I’ll get to party up with other characters and, well… siege some dungeons. Unfortunately, I think the fact that it was created to also be a console game, it hurt the PC experience. The controls are incredibly frustrating (incredibly!), the drops are hard to see, sorting through your inventory is a nightmare, and overall, while it’s pretty, the game doesn’t offer anything over Diablo 3.
And that’s fine. I’ve decided DS3 wasn’t made with the intention of stealing Diablo’s market share. Some people love this game, and maybe it’s my fault for getting my hopes up too high and expecting something unrealistic.
So what should fantasy dungeon crawlers shoot for with their releases from now on? Do they need to only try to be a Diablo clone and be better than D3? Of course not, that’s not what I’m saying. I think what’s important here is to understand what a game TRIES to be, and what it actually IS.
After spending some time with DS3, I can clearly tell it’s not trying to be a Diablo 3 destroyer. It’s trying to be Dungeon Siege. Like I said, the game looks really nice and there’s a story there (I can’t say whether it’s great or not, I’m not far enough in, and who cares anyway? It’s not like Diablo 3 has me coming back to experience the story over and over again). Maybe someone who has played this game more than me can correct me here, but I get the sense that Dungeon Siege isn’t intended to be played over and over again, farming to get better gear and items. That’s what Diablo 3 does and what makes you come back. Dungeon Siege appears to just be a game designed to allow you to play through the story with your friends, trying out the different characters, and then be done.
Again, maybe I’m not experienced enough with the game yet to know what I’m talking about, but what I’m trying to do here is actually defend your game. It got some pretty terrible reviews, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say maybe that’s because of what people thought the game was supposed to be. They looked at this game and hoped for some sort of Diablo 2.5 while they waited for Diablo 3, and that’s just not the case. It’s a different game, a different experience… it’s just not for me.
But fear not. I haven’t given up on it completely. While I’m frustrated as heck at trying to control the game, and it boggles my mind how difficult it is to interact with objects and see your loot, I’m going to keep going. If for no other reason than Katarina is really freaking hot!