Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation 3
Genre: Action/Adventure, Role Playing
Rated: M for Mature
Blizzard’s triumphant return to one of their most celebrated franchises back in 2012 was a huge success. Then earlier this year Blizzard and Sony announced that for the first time since 1996 they were working on bringing Diablo to consoles once again. Not only did the PlayStation platform get this stellar title, but so did the Xbox 360, now owners of either one can experience the best that the PC has to offer right in their living room.
It has been 20 years since the destruction of the Worldstone and the defeat of the three Prime Evils: Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal. Peace has returned to the world of Sanctuary, if only for a short time. A prophecy has been foretold, one that is said that a fallen star will play harbinger to the End Times and that Diablo, Lord of Destruction, and his brothers will once again return.
Before I talk about the actual gameplay, let me just say that having the auction house and always-on function completely removed is wonderful. These were the most controversial things that angered a lot of the PC players of Diablo III. The Auction House allowed any player willing to spend their real-world currency to simply purchase the game’s most powerful items and having to constantly have to be connected to the internet to play on PC infuriated players. Thankfully console players can play offline all they want and the discovery of powerful weapons and armor is all up to our tenacity and vigilance.
For those who’ve played Diablo on PC will no doubt notice that a controller’s control scheme is much different from that of a keyboard and mouse (no duh). In place of the series’ long used point-and-click interface, you now have direct control over your character. This is strangely invigorating to me personally; I don’t have a problem with point-and-click, but this translates to more fluid and responsive control over your character and even the combat. Newcomers to the series will be able to easily jump in and have a blast knowing that this is the best way to play Diablo III.
Diablo’s core experience has been a dungeon crawler, annihilating waves of the demonic hordes while constantly acquiring seemingly infinite amounts of loot. Players can choose between five different classes, all with unique abilities and powers that just begs for multiple playthroughs. Barbarians use their strength to deliver savage melee strikes, the Demon Hunter use ranged weaponry and the shadows to stalk their prey, Monks use lightning-fast precision strikes to disable enemies, the Witch Doctor commands the forces of life and death to use the dead to do his bidding, and the Wizard used the arcane arts to produce elemental energies to cast powerful spells. No matter which on you pick, you’ll be merrily carving through the armies of Hell while getting more and more powerful items to improve your demon slayer.
Another significant component that has received a reworking is the inventory. The Tetris-like way of fitting items in your pack has been replaced with a radial menu. It may not be as easy-to-use as the PC version’s yet it still works remarkably well for the console redesign. Players that know an item they possess will just end up being sold can use the Junk function to mark all unwanted items and sell them all at once.
I pretty much said that a controller is the best way to play Diablo III and I’m sticking to that statement. Having direct control over player movement makes the action more fast paced, but it doesn’t take away any of the tactical aspects of combat, on the contraire it enhances it. The face buttons and right trigger are the attacks you can perform, and while you only have one in the beginning, you will unlock other attack categories as you level up along with multiple attacks and runes that boost them with status effects.
Even if the overall tone is dark to convey that evil roams the land, the colors and esthetics itself is like its straight from Blizzard’s art department. The textures on the actual character models is noticeably low and the details are not as refined as the PC’s, but when playing you are looking down at them from a distance so it’s not like it’ll be an issue.
There is the occasional score playing quietly compared to the booming sound effects of attacks and growling monstrosities so it’s largely ignored for the most part. But it’s when the action stops that you can hear the eerie ambience set by the music; it would almost seem like the barking of Cerberus or cries of damned soul echo through dungeons, giving these instances a really creepy vibe.
Diablo III’s second outing on console territory is a magnificent one. Diablo has offered countless hours to millions of PC player and now console owners can join in on the fun, I know I am. The ability of co-op on the same console is great and I said it once and I’ll say it again; controllers are the absolute way to play Diablo. With none of the horrid auctions, constant internet requirements of the PC version, and all of the best elements kept intact, this is the definitive version of Diablo III.
Replay Value: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.75/5