Decent Action RPGs that are not Diablo III

Being a huge hack and slash fanatic, I was truly excited and filled with anticipation for the release of Diablo III. Back in 1997, I had my first play with the series when an old friend of mine lent me his disc and I installed the Diablo Spawned demo. Shortly after when I graduated highschool in 1998, I picked up my own copy and played it religiously. When 1999 came, I pre-ordered Diablo II Collector’s Edition. Shortly after in 2000, I signed up for the Diablo II Stress Test. Luckily enough, I was chosen as one of the 100,000 players to test it out. Then finally in July of 2000, I picked up my copy of Diablo II and the rest was history.

Although Diablo and Diablo II have mutiplayer aspects, I really play them for the single player game. When I found out that Diablo III’s single player game would require you to sign online at all times just to play it, I decided not to buy it. It just feels so anti-consumer to charge $60.00 for a disc and then require the customer to sign online for something they rightfully paid for when its a single player mode (of course online and mmos excluded from this).

As a result, I started looking back into my catalog of games to see if I could find some alternatives. I’ve also been trying out demos and searching the web for more Diablo Style games. Here are some awesome hack and slash games that do not require you to sign online to play in single player:

     Darkstone (PC, PSOne) back in 1999, Delphine Software released this small gem. This hack and slash featured a full 3D engine with a user controlled 360 degree rotatable camera. It wasn’t perfect but it was a fun dungeon crawl for its time. Last night, I found my old disc and ran a Google search on how to get it to run in Windows 7. Thankfully, I found this page:

Additionally, you can find Darkstone on sale at Good Old Games for the low price of $5.99. Its also DRM Free 🙂

     Torchlight (PC, Xbox 360) What does the creator of the FATE series and the Codesigners of Diablo and Diablo II have in common? They both designed Torchlight, an excellent Diablo clone that features a whimsical art style combined with the frantic hack and slash game play we have all grown to love. To add authenticity to this spiritual successor of the Diablo Series, Matt Uelmen, The original music composer and sound designer for Diablo and Diablo II also worked on the soundtrack for Torchlight. Torchlight can be found at the link below. Also, if you purchase the Disc based version, its DRM free. The disc version can be found on Amazon:

      Dungeon Seige III (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) If you are looking for a darker hack and slash, Dungeon Seige III should fit the bill nicely. Being the most recent release, Dungeon Seige III features an indepth story mode, challenging bosses and beautiful, gothic artwork. The best part is that Dungeon Seige III can be found on three different platforms:

NOX (PC) NOX is a classic Westwood Studios hack and slash That takes a young guy from modern day and throws him into a fantasy world. NOX may be a hack and slash but it has many unique elements that seperate it from Diablo. First off, character classes are truly limited to the weapons and techniques they can use which makes playing the game with each class a different experience. Second, NOX has a deathmatch mode that plays from an isometric perspective but its extremely fast paced and fun. Adopting this from First Person Shooters such as Unreal Tournament, its Deathmatch mode is so much fun, that it actualy makes some other RPGs PvP look simple and convoluted. Unfortunately, EA took down Westwood Studios NOX servers when they aquired them but the game can still played over a LAN for multiplayer. Currently, NOX can be purchased DRM Free from Good Old Games:

I know there are plenty of other cool hack and slash titles I did not mention mainly because this post was geared more towards PC games. However, feel free to share some of your favorites from any platform.

4 thoughts on “Decent Action RPGs that are not Diablo III

  1. It does seem to be a growing trend with devs, to almost force you to becomke more openly social online. If I wanted multiplayer I would invite friends round to play, and if not, I would like the option to go online when I wanted. Good alternatives though.

    1. @Karl Weller

      I have to agree with you on that. Single Player should always be offline and SINGLE PLAYER. I like to play online every so often but we cannot let Single Player Gaming die out. Its so anti consumer to ask a person to pay $60.00 for a game then demand that they are signed online just to play something that is rightfully theirs to begin with. If you get the downloadable version, its somewhat understandable but if you rightfully paid for the disc, you should be able to play single player whenever and where ever. The online only single player strategy fails because the user is always at the mercy of the servers, bandwidth, traffic and hackers. Playing a single player game should never be this frustrating.

  2. Other great titles of the past….

    Baulder’s Gate: Dark Alliance 1 & 2: These games are a gem and something that’s pretty timeless to me. It showed some of the best water physics on the PS2 of its time. This also introduced me to the this sort of sub-genre at the time, as everyone wished for me to play Diablo I & II, to which I didn’t have access to a PC to play these games.

    Champions of Norrath & Return to Arms: These games were based in the Everquest world and one of my favorite games of its time. They played just like the Dark Alliance games but you get to choose from which class you wish to play and how your avatar looks, which was a bit robust than DA.

    Crimson Tears: I can admit this was one of the worst offerings from Capcom but the game was fun for a few reasons: dungeon crawling and the beavy of unlockables. Plus, you could unlock some of the character skins from the Street Fighter series, notably Guile, Cammy and (I think) Chun-Li.

    Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel: This one was fun because it was different. I didn’t know anything about the Fallout series until the release of it on the PS3. But is it worth a purchase? I found my copy (brand new) at Fry’s for $4.12

    That’s the only ones I can muster from my brain for now. But excellent article nonetheless, Rinja. 😀

    1. @Twilight Touch, inc

      I have Bauldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Champions of Norrath, Champions: Return to Arms and Fallout: The Brotherhood of Steel. Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath were both exceptionally good because Snowblind Studios worked on both of them. Dark Alliance II and Champions: Return to Arms were worked on by separate studios that thankfully learned good lessons from Snowblind’s solid designs. Honestly, I played Everquest back then and personally, I can do without EQ and keep The Champions series. It truly was that good to me and I would love to see a third Champions game on the PS3.

      Some other great hack and slash games on the PlayStation end were Untold Legends: The Brotherhood of the Blade, Untold Legends: The Warrior’s Code and Dungeon Seige: The Throne of Agony. Untold Legends seemed like a spiritual successor to Champions of Norrath. However, none of their character classes could beat a Dark Elf Shadow Knight. I truly enjoyed Dungeon Seige: Throne of Agony. It was dark and had a fun battle system. It was very close to a portable Diablo as far as setting, graphics and gameplay are concerned.

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