So I played the hell out of Diablo 3 over the weekend with plenty of fine friends. Aside from a few minor server hiccups, things went very smoothly. Overall I really enjoyed the game; it felt like Diablo 2 without all the bullshit.

By bullshit, I mean doing endless research online to ensure you're applying your points correctly. Or slogging along an endless sea of corpses to catch up with your friends at the end of the area. Or running out of inventory space because I wanted to pick up 3 bows. Or, really, putting up with the game's many frustrations because the game itself is so fun.

However, one thing I found to be incredibly egregious in this game is the writing, especially in act 1. I feel my blood pressure shoot up every time I hear King Leoric shout "The fallen star has awoken me and now all shall suffer as I have suffered!" (or something like that).

He may as well be saying "HEY GUYS! I'M BACK AND I'M SUPER MAD!"

Seriously... I'm not the greatest writer, but if I was some insane skeleton with superpowers, I wouldn't take the time to explain the exact sequence of events that took place for me to return.

"New power courses through my bones, my tomb shall become yours!"

Bah, I dunno, maybe it's harder than it seems.

And then Mahgda, or however you spell her name, who has to essentially write down a to-do list and tell you where to go next every time you see her. "You'll never find the next piece of the puzzle! Give me your GPS so I can enter its coordinates for you."

Or Deckard praising Leah because she remembered the name of the neighboring town. Who's smoldering ashes can be seen across the lake. OK guys, I'm glad this "I'm so wise" circlejerk is ending soon.

Act one just seems like a sequence of serendipity and red herrings.

Not to mention escalation. Act 1 revolves around essentially pushing over skeletons, geocashing chunks of metal that fell from the sky, and filing a missing persons report. Oh, you did all that? OK, now go battle a centuries-old demon lord who has consumed an entire town. Good luck!

Or every boss in the game saying "I am the greatest, you are grubs and will never defeat me!" right before (or even WHILE) you kick his skull in. Come on guys, I know posturing is important, but you do know that I killed your boss and all his friends like an hour ago right? And then I trapped their eternal souls in this stone I use as a paperweight? I don't think your shit is gonna bother me.

It feels like they are trying to instill a sense of fear and desperation into the player, but it just doesn't stick with me.

Normal mode is just awkward. Being called the "greatest warrior" at level 7 for clearing out that temple was strange. Or the guards at the beginning saying they've "never seen anyone fight like that before!" because you hit zombies with your shitty sword next to all the guards hitting zombies with their shitty swords.

Nightmare mode is, however, becoming challenging quickly. Maybe after you beat Normal mode the screen says "Congratulations! You've beaten the Diablo 3 tutorial."

I am really enjoying the game in Nightmare. It's challenging to the point where I die frequently, but it's not very frustrating. The random elites and miniboss monsters are quickly becoming more challenging than the final act bosses simply because the randomization can create some brutal combinations. Loot is plentiful and I've gotten upgrades often enough to not get discouraged and go to the auction house.

I am thinking I should start to invest in a set of Magic Find gear though.

I haven't had to go online and look up builds to ensure I'm doing things right. I've hopped in and out of games and traded items easily. The cut scenes are gorgeous enough so the point where I cannot even remember if the writing is bad or not. The story as a whole is twisty for me, though apparently everyone else saw it all coming. Oh well.

That's about all I got. Overall, a very good game which has been, so far, worth the wait.

Edit: I feel better that parts of the Internet agrees with me :D
Penny Arcade