Personally, I would order them as: Diablo > Diablo 2 > Diablo 3
I'll explain my reasons below.
A very unique game with an atmosphere I still fail to see match, even with amazing graphics and quality like the Dark Souls games of today. I think what Diablo had over the other games is the whole premise.
You're very much a human with very human qualities (very relatable, even as a sorcerer who was still human) with a simple task – descend below a church until you reach hell. As you go down each floor, it becomes more and more dangerous with creatures literally being able to bombard you and fly your health down to the bottom in seconds if you don't utilise doorways and positioning.
Not only was the atmosphere unique, it was straight up horrific! That time you opened that one door and the butcher runs out at you, leaving behind the many humans he's decapitated. That time you get betrayed by that creature you're trying to help, or when the skeleton king and his army charged at you.
The game induces fear and a simple but effective premise and achieves it gloriously. As an RPG it was far from perfect, especially for today's standards – but to me, always holds a special place in my heart.
A creative and huge leap from the first game, the variety was gob smacking. However, it did lack the one thing that really drew me into the first Diablo, and that was the descent into hell, and into the unknown. By opening the map, letting you explore all types of terrain, the game expanded the simple concept I very much was attracted to from the get go.
I felt like Diablo 2 didn't captivate me the same way the first one did, but was still an amazing game and most definitely a better RPG experience than the first. For me though, a memorable and unique experience comes before all of that, hence why it got the second spot.
Now onto a game I personally didn't enjoy, as much as I wanted to. It really went away from the original formula, gone were the relatable humans and replaced with characters (even warriors) who could fly their weapons across the screen, ground pound and generally act as if they had super powers.
Although cool as a gameplay mechanic, really removed the whole premise of what I enjoyed about the original Diablo. This, coupled with the WoW art style (where's the dark, horrific atmosphere?) as well as the difficulty being far too easy on a first playthrough (yes I'm aware it gets more difficult later on, but that should have been from the moment I started the game).
For these reasons, I really failed to enjoy Diablo 3 on the same level as the original, not saying it's a bad game – but in my book it isn't and never will be "Diablo" or what Diablo was to me.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.
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