"We never wanted to make War and Peace. Just a Decent Pulpy story about heroes killing demons."
Let me talk a bit about the problems in the story and why its "mediocre" as IGN puts it:
1. You think people WANT a super-fleshed-out world and a linear, "tell-me-what-to-do" story: You're so, so wrong. This is not Warcraft, or Starcraft. We are not talking Murlocks or Space Opera here. This is a really dark, dreary world and part of liking this world is not knowing everything about it.
Damon Lindelof once said "If I had to choose between the ending of Lost and the Architect scene in the Matrix, I would be miles away from the latter." Closure is good but too much half-baked descriptions and shoddy details just killed it. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THIS. People sometimes mess this up the wrong way. Mass Effect 3 had too little closure in the ending, but they corrected it to give just the right amount.
2. BADLY-DONE DETAIL INSTEAD OF WELL-DONE MINIMALISM
Diablo 1 and 2 had a tacked-on storyline but the overall storyline was engrossing with very little plot holes (since the plot wasn't so elaborately detailed). The characters were few but well-done (even the old man who opens the gate of Sescheron was brilliant in his 2mins).
D3 tries to put in too many characters, thus most are not well-done. The followers really are the ones who stand out, and Zoltan Kulle is a brilliant new character. Apart from them, everything else somehow feels tacky. As Bilbo Baggins would say, it's "...like butter sc*!*!d over too much bread."
3. A "PULPY" STORY FOR DIABLO???
What the hell do you mean by this? Do not disrespect the Diablo franchise, guys. I repeat, Diablo is not Starcraft or Warcraft. The storyline of the first 2 games was dark and epic. I repeat, dark and epic. This time around, you promised us an "epic storyline" and in the end you defend it as "pulpy"??? It's sad because pulpy is EXACTLY what the storyline is. Which makes me think you guys never invested time into the story, since you were aiming for a "pulpy" one anyways.
That is sacrilege. Again, don't put in so many characters if you can't make them worthwhile, nobody's asking you to. Keep it simple and dark and non-pulpy.
People may say the music was decent; I say bollocks. I still remember the music in the haunting ending cinematic of Mass Effect 3, the opening chords of DA:Origins, and almost 9-10 of the tracks in D1 and D2 in my head. The music in D3 is ambient and never pulls you in, never stays in your head. It just works as an aside. The only 2 tracks I still remember is Overture, the one that plays when you're running to the Crystal Arch, and the music accompanying Cain's death (post-Act-1 cinematic).
The problem: You went for ambient music, too much of it. Ambient music is just not clear or memorable enough. Screw that in the expansions. Make your audio team work double. You have to create a musical landscape for the games otherwise immersion will JUST, NOT, HAPPEN.
Any views/additional points/thoughts on the above are welcome.