The best version of Diablo III.
I have always been a Diablo fanatic. I’ve put well over 200 hours into Diablo II, and in the past few years have dropped at least 100 hours into Diablo III. D3 had its fair share of problems – we all know how that auction house stuff panned out – but over the past several months, Blizzard has gradually improved the game back to the point where I feel like that 15 year old playing Diablo II all over again. We already had a version of D3 on the last gen consoles, now it’s time to push it forward onto the current gen. After spending a good amount of time with the PS4 version, I’m still surprised at how much Blizzard can do to a game to make it work great.
The game has been out for over two years now, so I’m sure most of you have at least heard of it, but for the ones uninitiated, here’s a quick overview – Diablo III is an action RPG that is focused on obtaining loot and upgrades for a character. Travelling through different dungeons and gaining experience points will allow players to level up and learn new abilities, as well as augment their skills using unlocked runes. It is very combat heavy as well as stat tracking heavy.
Platforms: PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One
Price I’d pay: $59.99
Multiplayer: 2-4 co-op online and local
Diablo with a controller? Actually, yes.
Now, let me talk about the PS4 version. Since this was my first time trying D3 with a controller rather than a mouse and keyboard, I was a bit skeptical. As a hardcore Diablo player, I can safely say using a DualShock 4 to move around and attack feels great. In fact, I will go as far as to say I felt more in control of my character using a controller. Yes, blasphemy, I know. Using the right stick to dodge out of the way of attacks is a major game changer, and a welcome addition to the game. Due to the use of the controller, the menus have been redesigned to accommodate. They all work very well, as do some of the shortcuts. When obtaining a new item, a quick summary of what it would change in my stats would pop up. I could use the D-pad to automatically equip, drop, or junk it without even going into the inventory. It’s the small touches like that that make it feel like more than just a port.
The Ultimate Evil Edition comes with the Reaper of Souls expansion. That means a brand new Act, and the Crusader class to play with and the forever lasting Adventure Mode where getting all the loot my heart desired was only a few steps away. The only way to play Reaper of Souls on consoles is to buy the Ultimate Evil Edition. No DLC is available, but if you’re a big Diablo fan, it’s worth it.
The Nemesis appears.
A few interesting additions to the console version are the gifts that players can send to others on their friend list. Every once in a while, an item will drop labeled as “A gift for _” this can be sent to the person in their game, and they can unwrap it to obtain an item. The one time I received a gift it was a legendary item, so the more friends I have playing, the more chances I’ll have to get a gift from them. Another new addition is the nemesis system. At random, a powerful boss will appear that will have killed another player on the friend’s list. If the boss defeated me, it would disappear and then reappear in a friend’s game with even more power. I’ll be honest, I haven’t killed this guy yet, but I’m sure when I do, it will drop some great stuff. Let’s just hope I kill it before my friends do.
On top of all that, one of the bigger hurdles D3 had was the fact that if I were to play with my friends that were much higher level than I were, I would be totally useless in their games. Well, the new Apprentice Mode allows for an even playing field. So If I was level 30 and a friend were to jump into my game to play with me and he was only level 10, his stats would temporarily increase to match the enemies I was taking on. It’s a smart way of handling co-op and Blizzard has done it well.
Get that foreground out of here.
There is only one gripe I have with the game overall. It’s a small one, but it has irked me on more than one occasion. In the PC version, when my character would walk behind the foreground, the foreground would turn transparent so I could see my character. In this version, the foreground stays solid, and a bright white outline of my character appears. This is all well and good, but it doesn’t do this for the enemies. I found myself multiple times fighting enemies that I couldn’t see because the foreground was in the way. It’s not game breaking, but it is a little annoying at times especially in the heat of battle.
Diablo III is an amazing game, and it holds its own with practically every other RPG out there. The things that are in the Ultimate Evil Edition are done so very well, while still keeping it very simple and easy to play. I’m surprised I even like the controller controls, but they work, and work very well. Blizzard took the time to make this version special, and it turned out to be a worthy cause. Now, I know the big question is, if you already own Diablo III and its expansion on the PC, should you buy this? I think it all depends on if you want to go through it again, or if you have a group of friends that are picking it up. After all, it’s fun playing solo, but it’s a blast playing co-op. If you haven’t played Diablo III before and are interested, do yourself a favor and get this. You will have at least 30 hours if not more just in the main content. Diablo III was a fantastic game to begin with, and Blizzard has just refined it once again, making this the best version to have.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.