I have been unforgivably remiss in not previously posting news of the 28 new DiabloWikiDiablo III Screenshots released in Blizzard’s media kit at last week’s pre-beta gathering, but I couldn’t think how best to do so. I said in our midnight UnicorNDAy chat that the new screens were by far the best we’ve ever seen of Diablo III… and I hold to that.

    When I point out that I created a new folder to house these (and future, for I assume these are but the vanguard of a new and glorious visual era) Act One screenshots, since they are that markedly different and improved from previous visuals of the game, it sounds like I’m despairing the previous screenshots.

    I am not; I’ve always thought Diablo III looked good, and sympathized with the DiabloWikiArt Controversy only in a joking sense. I’m not sure what makes these shots look so much better than previous batches; obviously the developers have been improving the visuals all along; adding more details to the dungeons, monsters, spell effects, and other environments, but it all seems to have come together in this batch with visuals of unsurpassed clarity.

    One factor is that they seem to have turned down, or off, the environmental effects. Quite often with previous screenshots, where the visuals were obscured by fog, or rain, or blowing sand, or glowing sunlight, I was left trying to explain that yes, the still image looked murky and fuzzy, but that in the game those effects looked awesome, since you saw the mist or wind or dust blowing realistically across the scenery. Which is true; the game looks far better in person than in screenshots or the LQ gameplay movies we’ve seen, but in screenshots at least, it definitely looks better without those effects visible.

    The fact that a DiabloWikizoom function has returned to Diablo III (after the devs previously said it would not be included) also helps, since a lot of these shots give you a real close up view of the characters and monsters that shows off their details and gruesome textures in pleasing fashion.

    I’ve included a few thumbs here, but with 28 new shots I’m not going to put all of them in, since it would just be visual noise. You really have to click through the whole gallery and look at the giant 2200×1238 images to appreciate the details. Enjoy, and if you want the full visual experience, download the press kit; you’ll get all 28 screenshots plus the rest of the artwork and the HQ gameplay movie. Be warned, the screens are all 8meg .tga files that you’ll need Photoshop to view. Thanks to HolyKnight3000 for uploading and captioning all of these.

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