Story & World
The opening starts well enough with an interesting quest to reunite three towns that have mysteriously been separated by giant walls. Once in the dungeon, little mention is made of it again. Even worse, a generic princess rescue quest is just thrown in right near the end. There's little to no buildup to any of the bosses, especially the final boss, Deathmaster, who I become aware about only after first meeting (and then killing) him. I was glad to see Ruu again and was doubly glad to see they used the exact same graphic again (albeit just for his upper torso). 4/20
Quadrupling the number of character slots from the previous installments is always going to be a big bonus. The main character is restricted to being a fighter (the only fighter) and the other three classes are quite distinctive from one another. Just remember that mages are teh sux. I never really bothered to check out most of the potential party members found in the dungeon but the one I did look at was just a weaker version of the priest I already had. Since the character system is so simple, I'm assuming that none of the dungeon characters had anything unique about them. Would make for a cool challenge though where you start off not generating any allies. But since I'm never playing this game again (ever), it won't be me.
Having a standard magic system in place works so much better than the item-based one used in DD's predecessors. One interesting note about the magic system is that the translation patch also altered the healing spells to work 100% of the time. Apparently the original DDIII would have the heals possibly fail just like offensive spells. I guess the characters are making their saving throws versus beneficial magic? I'm not certain as to whether the original fail rate also applies to casting attempts made outside of combat. If not, then I think this aspect didn't need to be changed; it would have made combat more tense and represent how spellcasters get their shit disrupted all the time in the middle of battle. If the healing failure also happened outside combat, then I think this was a good fix. Either way, it probably saved me from accumulating more Rage Points™ and I already had plenty of those from the other aspects of the game. 8/20
Combat & Monsters
Having four characters and a (very simple) tactical battlefield is, of course, an improvement over the hack n' slash fest of the previous two games. I wish the failure rate on spells wasn't so high as I wouldn't have minded playing around with them a little more. Breaking off from the norm of having spread spells affecting all enemies, here the spells can only target one row on the 3x3 field. An interesting mechanic, though a little unfair as spell-casting monsters can hit all four characters.
Monsters are generally all melee fighters though a lot have palette-swapped versions that have additional abilities. There's a good variety, too; some monsters show up on just a single level and then never appear again (not even palette-swapped). 7/20
Graphics & Sound
This category may be skewed a little due to the graphics mod I applied but funk it, it'll only make a difference of a point or two. It was worth it to have caves looking like caves and castles looking like castles. And, is it just me or did most of the monsters seem to be more well
drawn than in DD 1 and 2? Eh, maybe the previous games just lowered my standards.
Music was crap, once again. I did get a laugh when the ending tune abruptly stopped halfway through the credits. Like so many other aspects of DDIII, it just kinda gave up, probably happy that the game was finally over so it could go home to its family. 7/20
Making a surprising comeback is the presence of a robust economy.
Equipment and spells are expensive and there's no opportunity to exploit
the sale of item drops as they are so rare. I had the best of
everything by the end of the game but was just barely able to fund it.
Out of all my complaints about the previous games, I noted that at least they were at least quite short little outings. That doesn't apply here. It took me about 50% longer to complete this game than the other two combined. That's a lot of bloody mapping and it's going to count against it. Again, I started off being quite meticulous in mapping but leaving many areas unexplored by the end. I can pretty much guarantee that I didn't miss anything important or fun. 4/20
Final Ranking: 30/100