I am a longtime fan of the Diablo series. I especially love Diablo I for the gothic horror atmosphere and the slow pace. In D1 each monster feels like a threat. I always advance cautiously, try to rouse as few monsters as possible at the time, and retreat a lot. And I love that!
D2 also has this to an extent in some of the tougher areas, such as the Chaos Sanctuary. I feel like it's easier to get to the point where you steamroll monsters in D2 than in D1, but in singleplayer the adjustable difficulty (with the "/players X" command) goes a long way to help the player set an appropriate difficulty.
D3 doesn't have this at all in my experience. D3 combat is smooth, fast-paced and steamrolling. I seldom feel like I am in danger. Cranking up the difficulty doesn't really make it feel more dangerous; it just makes monsters slower to kill. It slows the pace, but not in a fun way for me. It doesn't make me feel like I need to advance with caution like in D1.
But this post is not about dissing D3. That was just an introduction. My real point is: I want to try other action RPGs outside the Diablo franchise, and I want recommendations. What games would I likely enjoy, given my taste as I've described above?
I am not that much hung up about itemization and classes. They matter, but the main draw for me is the experience of fighting monsters. Moreover, I am more interested in the campaign and levelling part of games than the endgame. I am looking for a game to sink 20-50 hours into, or at most 100, but not 500 hours. So I don't want a game that "gets good" only when you reach the endgame.
Isometric camera (like in Diablo) is mandatory! I will not consider games with first-person or over-the-shoulder view. Dark Souls looks like it has a great atmosphere, but I am not interested in that kind of gameplay. This also rules out games like World of Warcraft.
I have played the first Torchlight. That was pretty good. I remember that I enjoyed the fact that, like D1, it took place entirely within underground dungeons and caves. That provided a claustrophobic feel which added a lot to the atmosphere.
I am looking at games like Grim Dawn, Inquisitor: Martyr and Wolcen.
Which ones do you think I am most likely to enjoy?
If you want to sink in less than 500 hours id say wolcen is the way to go ,
it has similar gear customisation a decent good story campain and a straightforward end game the pace should make you happy there are 2-3 steam rolling build but if you dont aim for those it doesnt matter
Build are simpler than grim dawn because you dont have to build around end game and stats feels more straightforward
Grim dawn making a build is much more complex as there are several layers to think of
Grim dawn has an ok ishstory IMO for the campain is also longer but end game more complicated to understand so either you do campain and stop there or you sink in much more hours to understand how to build your class
Most of the builds are steam rolling after finishing campaign