Co-Optimus has posted a decent Diablo 3 preview, based on their hands on play experience at this weekend’s Penny Arcade Expo. Here’s a quote:
Despite all the criticisms of the art style, I found the game visually stunning. Subtle effects throughout the world like blowing sand, small creatures running across the desert, and even the particle system which governed all the bloody mayhem looked really impressive. It’s pretty hard to make a desert level dark and emo.
The game was incredibly easy to pick up and play, perhaps because I am a Diablo vet. At one point I found myself surrounded by 60 or so enemies. As they quickly closed in I cast a spell which stunned everyone around me. I then executed a technique called the Seven Sided Strike which launched me around the pack that has surrounded me in what looked like a scene from a kung-fu movie. Finally rounding out the combo I did a an Exploding Palm Technique. Mind you, this was all done simply by tabbing and clicking the controls through my skills. The end result? A gigantic explosion of enemies and blood, and a combo bonus of 1500xp – as well as a new record on the machine, 67 kills at once.
In related news, GamaSutra has a good article about what makes the PAX special and sets it apart from other gaming conventions.
The Expo, which was started in 2004, was constructed out of the desire of the Penny Arcade web comic creators, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, to create a genuine, grassroots event made for their peer group. The duo have built their reputation on their sardonic but heartfelt love for games, and PAX is a key extension of that sentiment.
In 2004, a relatively small Seattle con was what resulted. But cut to 2009, where this year’s PAX practically took over downtown Seattle. Everyone, from taxi drivers to TSA officials at the airport, seemed to know about “that convention,” and seemed pretty happy that the geeks were in town.