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?