BradyGames is one of the biggest names when it comes to creating strategy guides for video games. Throughout my time as a gamer, I have purchased countless strategy guides from BradyGames. When I was asked to review their latest guide for Diablo III, I leaped at the opportunity. This review is specifically related to the Limited Edition of the guide.
Presentation and Contents
There is no denying the amount of quality that was put into the presentation of this guide. The Limited edition is a very high quality hard bound book. The cover is simple but beautiful in black with three glossy slashes across the front. This edition also includes a metal Diablo headed bookmark, which is very cool and compliments the book very well. The guide is full color and is the artwork contained is very nice.
The layout of the book is very straightforward and easy to navigate. As most BradyGames guides, this one begins with a breakdown of gameplay and the basics on how to play the game. The guide then goes into details on each of the five classes in the game. It begins with the basics on each class, and then gets into a full breakdown of the abilities and the runes attached with those abilities. The next section is a walkthrough of the game, which is obviously the largest section of the guide. It includes objectives for each mission, the monsters that will be encountered in the area, loot and rarity that can be found, and detailed breakdown of the quests.
The latter sections of the guide focus on the other areas of the game. There is a section related to the two artisans of the game: the blacksmith and the jewelcrafter. It includes basics of crafting, as well as the items that can be created, what level they can be made, and items required for crafting. This area is followed by a detailed list of the loot than can be found in the game. It explains the terms that are associated with the weapons and armor in the game and the attributes associated with those terms. It also breaks down weapon types and levels in which some of the weapons are found in the game.
The “Denizens of Hell” section includes a breakdown of the monsters that can be encountered. The first part focuses on the different traits that the monsters may have. The second part focuses on the creatures and the levels of those creature at each difficulty level. The final part details each monster, information on each creature, levels and experience points, hit points based on rarity, damage that can be dealt and any additional damage effect that creature can deal.
The achievement section includes all of the achievements in the game. They are separated into sections based on the type of action needed to receive the achievement, such as conversation, exploration, campaign, classes, and so forth. This area also shows any type of additional awards that will be given, such as banners and sigils.
In the Limited Edition, there are a few extra features that are not included in the general guide. The final section of the guide includes artwork based on each of the classes and the armor themes for each class. The artwork includes both the male and female of each class. The limited edition also includes a digital copy of the entire strategy guide.
This guide was put together extremely well. It was very well thought out and executed very well. The quality is absolutely top notch. Navigation throughout the guide is very easy. The information on the classes was the most useful section for me in this guide. Many of the suggestions used in this area I found to be quite useful.
I also found the armory section very helpful. It really helped me understand the terminology that goes with the weapons and what to look for. With enough practice and memorization, I could imagine somebody could know what each item would include without looking at it.
The bestiary section is a bit more useful as the game goes on. In early levels, I did not find it too important since my character was tearing through monsters quite easily. In later levels, every little piece of information is valuable. It really helps in understanding the details of the rarity of monsters that can be encountered as well as any traits they may have when fighting them.
Usually the campaign sections is a strategy guides strength. Unfortunately in this guide it is its weakness, but I do not put the fault on the guide. Almost all of the dungeons in the game have random layouts and the guide has the inability to map out the contents of the dungeons. They do make an effort to compensate this with a bit of creativity. An “explorer’s journal” from a first person point of view to explain some of the encounters in dungeons and methods of attack. There is also an effort to explain as much as possible what to look out for. Plus, the game itself does a very good job of explaining what needs to be done and I never felt confused to a point where I needed the guide to help me. I will say that the information related to boss fights very useful.
Unfortunately, this guide omitted some information that I find a bit unforgivable. The first is the omission to include any information about the journals. I am referring to the many books that can be found in houses, as well as in various regions in the game. I understand there is randomness in the location of some, but they are usually located in the same region every playthrough. They are good for experience as well as including more of the story inside the game. It is very hard to overlook this omission.
Another omission that I am highly disappointed this guide did not cover is the Diablo III secret level. None of the items that need to be acquired for this level are included, as well as the level itself. I feel that a guide should include everything about the game, and leaving this piece of the game out is a pretty important piece to leave out, especially for people buying a guide.
For this guide, it is very difficult to make a simple “buy or do not buy” determination. While the guide is put together very well, I do not consider it a must buy. For casual Diablo III players, there may not be too much to use unless you are having difficulty figuring out what to do next and defeating bosses. For the more hardcore Diablo players, the armory and bestiary are very helpful. Too many things are left out to recommend to those that want to find everything, unless you are only looking for achievements. I definitely would recommend to those collectors for the quality, the artwork, and the creativity of the writing within the guide.