Diablo 3 first impressions

Owen Hill at

The Diablo 3 beta has been released. And the team have been obsessively playing since last night. Here’s what four members of the PC Gamer team think so far. Hint: they like it.

Tim Edwards: So, we’ve played through the campaign as a group of four. Tom, you and I have completed a game as a two-some. The beta is about an hour-to-two hours long and runs up until the first boss: a skeleton king. Tom, you first. You’ve played it a few times now. What class did you pick, and what did you think?

Tom Francis: I went Barbarian. I didn't get much time with him when Blizzard let me play an early build of this beta at their offices a while back, and as soon as I hit something with him I wished I'd tried him first.

There's never any reason to 'attack' - the default skill that just swings your weapon normally. You start with a skill called Bash that does the same thing, but with tremendous force, extra damage, a manly grunt and spectacular knockback. And it doesn't cost any of your resource, Fury - it builds it. So you're this angry ball of muscle batting flimsy zombies away with one brutal crunch each. You hit some of them so hard their skin falls off.

Now that I've had more time to level up and mix in some of his later skills, what I'm loving about him is this very simple layer of strategy. Do you want to hit everyone quite hard, or one guy very hard? Cleave does the former, sweeping through everyone in front of you, and Bash does the latter. I burst rotting Grotesques with Bash, then slice the slithering corpseworms that spill out with Cleave.