Few games are as closely tied to the quintessential PC gaming experience as Diablo. Blizzard, like Valve and a few honored others, has ascended to become one of the paragons of PC, with their epic franchises like Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo that continue to provide countless hours of entertainment.
When Diablo 3 first landed, it wasn’t the anticipated follow-up to Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction that we all hoped, but rather a poorly structured re-imagining of the classic action role-playing standard chained to a diseased real-money auction house. And even though Diablo 3 eventually redeemed itself with the expansion Reaper of Souls, that initial fumble left a big ARPG sized hole in the hearts of players everywhere. Fortunately, Diablo 3 is much better now, but let’s play pretend for a minute and imagine that, for whatever crazy reason, you find yourself looking for a suitable alternative. Maybe you’re just burnt out, or maybe you want something that can be played without dropping the lump sum of cash upfront.
Whatever your reasoning might be, we have you covered: Here are a list of games like Diablo 3.
Let’s not waste any time. If you’re looking for an experience that mimics the endless smashing and grabbing of Diablo 3‘s cyclone of kill-and-loot, Marvel Heroes 2015 has you covered. Bonus points are awarded if you’re a fan of the comic-books, but even if you don’t live for these costumed heroes, Marvel Heroes has so much going for it that is can be a hard item to pass on.
For starters, Marvel Heroes relaunched last year, adding the 2015 to the name, as part of a master plan to help players forgive and forget the lukewarm experience that the game was several years prior. If you’re worried about jumping in and seeing any trace remains of that sad time, have no fear: Heroes has shaped up into a very rewarding action RPG with enough content to justify the asking price.
By the way, that asking price is zero. That’s right, Marvel Heroes 2015 is entirely free to play, which is good news if you’re wallet is feeling a little light. Even better news is that the microtransaction system is actually quite fair. Unlocking new heroes can take some time, but a large portion of them are playable right off the bat, so chances are that if you have a personal favorite you can get smashing immediately.
Of course, every game has its downsides and Heroes is no exception. For starters, while there is an endless string of loot being tossed your way, your costumed hero’s appearance won’t change unless you fork over cash to grab one of the nifty alternative costumes or are lucky enough to have one drop. A big aspect of ARPGs is building your hero to look more and more awesome, so without this being able to change your appearance, it means you’ll derive less satisfaction from your hero’s progression. Since everyone plays from the same pool of heroes, you’ll also see a lot of copies of yourself running around, which is also a bit lame.
Path of Exile
Path of Exile is, in many ways, a better evolution of Diablo 2 than Diablo 3 ever was. If you’ve ever played Diablo 2, you’ll know this is a very good thing. While Diablo 3 was catching flak for its more robust visual aesthetic and lessened emphasis on horror, Path of Exile doubles down on the creative vision of Diablo 2 to create a visual aesthetic that oozes dread. The serrated mountains and stifling jungles of Wraeclast are fun to explore, especially considering that they are entirely generated at random. Each time you venture out into the wildness will feel as exciting as the first.
The two three big features that make Path of Exile such a worthy contender for the ARPG crown are the skill system, leagues, and the, what developer Grinding Gear Games calls it, “ethical” microtransactions.
The skill system is staggeringly deep and somewhat reminiscent of Final Fantasy X‘s sphere grid. As your character levels up, you can unlock new nodes along the grid, empowering your character in new and diverse ways. The system is fantastic for its diversity of character builds, but, just like Diablo 2, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to dig yourself into a deep hole.
Path of Exile also features leagues, which are similar to Diablo 3‘s ladder system (but, to be fair, Path of Exile had it first). Leagues allow you to roll a new character and race to level them while contending with various obstacles that liven up the process more than your standard level grind. Leagues are a constantly changing mechanic, so logging in each week always presents you with a different way to play.
Finally, Grinding Gear have worked hard to create a game that isn’t plagued with any sort of microtransaction that impedes progress of the game. Mostly everything available from the cash shops only serve as basic utility or cosmetic purposes, which is really refreshing.
Of course, if this sounds too good to be true, you should know that there are some pretty horrid issues with Path of Exile‘s netcode, which can cause an aggravating issue known as client desynchronization. Basically, once in a while what you’re seeing on the screen isn’t actually happening, which leads to jarring moments of your character teleporting back in space or, even worse, outright death.
Despite being a shooter, Destiny and Diablo 3 share a lot of common themes. Both games feature an emphasis on acquiring better loot so that you can run progressively harder content. Both games feature social hubs where you can meet up with your friends and sell off all the useless loot you’ve acquired. Both games have a variety of classes with abilities that are all independent of one another. So don’t be swayed by the fact that Destiny looks and plays like Halo, in its heart it is an action RPG like the rest of them. This is the best option if you’re wanting a loot-driven experience akin to Diablo but without the fervent mouse clicking that defines the genre.
Of course, the biggest thing to be aware of is that, unlike Diablo 3 and many of the games on this list, Destiny isn’t available for PC. If you prefer a keyboard and mouse, you’ll have to look elsewhere (don’t worry, you’ll be fine). But if you’re rocking any of the current consoles (ignoring the Wii U, of course) you’ll be happy to know you can get a taste of Diablo 3 with a first-person twist that might just be what you’re looking for.
Destiny pits you as a guardian, squaring off against the galaxy’s most terrible bad guys as you seek to unravel the mystery of the massive orb floating over what remains of Earth. Known as the Traveler, this orb granted humanity a short but glorious golden age where we colonized the solar system and learned to do away with petty annoyances like death. Of course, the higher you climb the farther you have to fall, and it wasn’t long until humanity buckled in on itself like a dying neutron star.
By running a series of story missions, dungeons (known as Strikes), and intimidating end-game raids, Destiny feels like a fairly competent blend between traditional shooters and elements of MMORPGs. That said, if you’re sick of grinding faction reputation for marginally better rewards, or running the same content over and over and slightly higher difficulties, this might not be the game for you.
Despite the lukewarm critical reception, there is no denying that Destiny has its charms—if only evidenced by the fact that almost a year later people still plug hours into it daily. If you prefer a couch to a computer chair and have had your fill of the console port of Diablo 3, Destiny is sure to please.
Action RPGs are an excellent way to chip away a block of time. There is an almost zen-like state of relaxation you can fall into as you click away, obliterating hordes of enemies on your quest for that slightly better piece of gear.
Diablo 3 is certainly worth your time, even years on from its initial release (it’s only gotten better), but if you’re desperate for the same action without the Diablo name attached to it, you should give one of these games a go.
Of course, action RPGs aren’t as rare as unicorns, so if none of the above caught your eye you might want to check out some of these rapid fire suggestions. Torchlight 1 & 2 both mimic the feel of Diablo but with their own take. Torchlight 2 is highly moddable, which will always provide entertainment. Realm of the Mad God plays like what Diablo would feel like if ran on a graphing calculator, but that’s actually a good thing. It’s gotten pretty unbalanced due to overbearing microtransactions, but there is still enough there to have some fun. And, finally, there are a ton of other ARPGs that might grab you. If all else fails, check out Titan Quest, The Epic Quest For Mighty Loot, or even browser-based game KingsRoad.
If you have your own suggestions for what you would turn to when you have the craving for loot, let us know in the comments!Related: Destiny, Diablo 3, Marvel Heroes, Path of Exile