A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Diablo III is an action role-playing game that shows fountains of blood and severed body parts. Players are provided a distant, raised perspective of the action, which serves to lessen the intensity of the violence, but the carnage is almost non-stop and relentlessly gory. The game's story is a typical tale of heroes fighting to save the world from an ageless evil, and is filled with simple themes of duty and honor. Optional cooperative play creates a sense of community among players, but parents should be aware that this game supports open text chat. Also note that an online auction house allows players to purchase virtual items for real money, though these transactions are not necessary to complete the game.
What's it about?
In the making for nearly a decade, the long-awaited DIABLO III is set about 20 years after events of the second game. The action begins with series mainstay Deckard Cain, an aging scholar, seemingly killed when a fiery explosion destroys the ancient cathedral in which he is studying. Players choose one of five heroes -- a barbarian, mage, demon hunter, monk, or witch doctor, each with their own quick back-story -- before heading out to investigate the disaster. It is soon revealed that the world has become imperiled by the ancient and evil lord Diablo, and that you -- and potentially your friends, should you choose to play the game in cooperative multiplayer -- are its last hope. Players will spend most of their time engaged in brutal, bloody combat, employing a wide manner of attacks and skills to dispatch an enormous number of monsters. Loot -- items collected while adventuring -- is a key element, with players able to not only sell gear they don't need to in-game vendors, but also put it up for sale in online auctions, where other players can bid on it using virtual currency collected while playing. Another auction house, set to launch shortly after the game’s release, will allow players to buy and sell items using real-world money.
Is it any good?
This latest entry in Blizzard’s beloved action/role-playing franchise doesn’t do much to rock the boat. It offers up a very familiar formula in which players talk to non-player characters, accept quests, and then embark on journeys of battle and discovery. The graphics are detailed and atmospheric, but don’t push any technological boundaries. The character growth and management systems are slick and accessible, but perhaps feel a bit simplified as a result. And while the story and characters are engaging, they’re also shallower than you might expect, with the meat of the single-player experience ending relatively quickly. Cleverly integrated online cooperative play will keep many players coming back to engage in new quests and the search for ever better loot, but it comes at the cost of forcing solo gamers to establish a link with the servers. You can't play at all without an Internet connection.
Diablo III is polished to a high sheen, and quite enjoyable while it lasts, but it may prove more fleeting, less innovative, and more restricting than you'd expect of a title so long in the making.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. Have you ever witnessed graphic violence in a game that stayed with you long after you shut off the console? How did you adjust to what you’d seen?
Families can also discuss online safety. How do you protect yourself from online predators? What would you do if someone began asking you for personal information, made inappropriate comments, or requested to meet in real life?
- Platforms: Windows
- Subjects: Math: money
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Self-Direction: achieving goals, self-assessment, self-reflection
Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release date: May 15, 2012
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.