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So while all the E3 nuts are going cuckoo for the Wii U, we're back to this refreshing alternative that has nothing to do with a major electronics convention happening around this point in time.
Today, I'm going to discuss the Diablo clones I've played and if anything can be salvaged from these many brazen imitators released in the 15 years since the first Diablo graced our CD-ROMs (Really? 15 years? Why do I keep doing this to myself...) Once again, this is inspired by a recent game I've played (that would be the complementary Dead Nation for PSN users, which I shouldn't really be disparaging since it was a freebie.) Obviously, one could make the case that these games are actually borrowing the far older Roguelike formula and adapting it for an age where all games have amazing non-ASCII graphics ( Dwarf Fortress notwithstanding of course) and gameplay engine capabilities, and just so happen to all play in an isometric top-down format with large mobs and randomized magical loot. I mean, you could make that case. If you were stupid.
As Diablo clones go, it's not too awful. There's some variation in the combat, as you can choose between specific types of attacks to suit the enemy you're facing, as well as a slightly more in-depth magic system than clicking the "yo, this one does fireballs" icon. Overall, it's certainly one of the better copycats. Honestly, given how the game industry tends to work, there's nothing wrong with stealing another game's gameplay if you do something interesting and different with it. My usual issue with these games is how they're advertised, as "You liked DIablo? We got something like that but even cooler: You play a corpse!" is unfortunately the direction they tend to go with.
It does have its own house band though, singing something about a dark stone shining. So I guess that's where the name comes from. You also get quests from a giant hologram head, so if you ever wanted to play a medieval-esque Fantasy Diablo-clone with elements of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers thrown in, this is your chance. While Darkstone was predominantly a PC product, I believe there was a PS1 version that probably looks a hell of a lot worse. Go nuts, console fans.
The game is slightly more linear and less "back and forth from a hub world" than most Diablo games of its time, and it actually looks kind of good. Also, unlike most Diablo clones, the dungeons are the same each playthrough and you're really just chasing the story through cutscenes delivered in a manner similar to the Infinity Ward games. However, it's still highly derivative of the Diablo format, especially with its real-time click-click-clickety-click combat.
Dungeon Siege's primary and perhaps only contribution to the Diablo clone army is the addition of a pack mule, which uses up a slot you could use for another hireling. It's an interesting dilemma: Do you want an additional fighter for the many extra opportunities it gives you when formulating a strategy for combat? Or do you want more space to carry shit between shop visits? Because who even cares about all that combat and gameplay nonsense, really?
I try to sound like I'm above this game but then I bought Space Siege. So by all means take everything here with a pinch of stupid.
Honestly, it's not like I can tell the difference between a Diablo clone made by an Indie team for five bucks or a richly-layered PC Diablo clone port made by a full development team for 15 bucks. You kill things and steal their shit. Sometimes there's secret walls. Help me out here, someone?
If Mento and Giant Bomb are still alive,
If this blog can even survive,
I'll see if Blizzard's new Diablo can thrive.