Diablo III, from Blizzard, has just recently hit the next generation consoles and comes in the Ultimate Evil Edition pack, which features the expansion Reaper Of Souls. I’ve been playing Diablo since the first game was released in 1996. Diablo is essentially an action/adventure dungeon crawler that provides ever more challenging enemies as you progress along with exploration and story. There have never been any better dungeon crawlers to my mind, apart from Torchlight, and so Diablo still holds up well in its gameplay almost twenty years later.
Diablo III has you back in the town of Tristram once again at the start of the game and trying to find the location of a fallen star, which is being coveted by Belial and his minion Maghda. At the center of the search for the fallen star is your player character, helped along by Deckard Cain and his niece Leah. Cain is never a companion but Leah is for brief periods of time. Rest assured though, if you don’t have friends to play with you, you do get eventually get three companions to come with you on your quest. The first act essentially revolves around recovering the fallen star and dealing with Belial’s minions, most noticeably Maghda. However things with Maghda and Belial come to a head in Act II. And of course the head of the prime evils himself, Diablo, makes his appearance after you deal with Azmodan, otherwise it wouldn’t be called Diablo III. There are four acts to the story with a fifth act to cover the released expansion Reaper of Souls. Reaper of Souls sees you take on another fallen angel, Malthael, who has become corrupt and is intent on destroying all mankind because of their demon taint.
As with all Diablo games the view is an isometric top down that gives you a comfortable view of the environment while still hiding enemies well enough off-screen. Diablo has always been good at mixing in enemies that prove a challenge for the most part and if you play through on normal mode, only the boss fights are a challenge and then only if you use someone other than the Monk as your character. At least for me that was the case when I started as a barbarian but then went back and restarted as the monk. If the gameplay seems too easy, you can ramp up the difficulty at anytime you like, all the way up to hardcore mode. As you play Diablo III you’ll acquire loot items – some of these are rare drops, which can be used to augment your stats. Armour, weapons, necklaces and rings all give your stats a boost to help take down enemies and make boss fights easier. As you quest further in Act III, you encounter a gem-smith who allows you to create more powerful gems (with training) that can be attached to gem slots on your gear, thus boosting your stats even more. Major boss fights always end up with a randomised rare item drop that benefits the player class you have chosen. Weapons and rings can be assigned to your followers too to help boost their stats. As you level up in Diablo III, you will unlock new moves for your character that have different effects on enemies or companions. The same goes for your companions too, though with them you can only assign one of two choices to their ability four slots.
I played Diablo III and the expansion on PS4, and at first the control system seemed strange as I am used to these types of games on PC, however, Diablo III’s controls didn’t ever come across as clunky. The game slowly adds buttons for abilities as you progress until you can assign abilities to the four main controller buttons and the two right bumper buttons. In the end, Diablo III plays really well with a controller and I thoroughly enjoyed the ease of play. It made me dread another run through of Diablo II on PC as there isn’t any type of smooth control system for a keyboard and mouse.
When you’ve finished the main acts, you can continue in adventure mode.This sees you revisit each act to hunt and collect bounties. The bounties allow you to unlock the rift challenges and randomised weapons purchases. I got a little into this mode but other games were calling so didn’t hunt down enough bounties to open a rift challenge. Diablo III has had the auction house removed from the game now, and I never played it on PC originally, so I can’t comment if this is a good or bad thing, but the general consensus among Diablo III players when I read about the auction house being removed was a great big collective sigh of relief. None of my friends on PSN have Diablo III so I couldn’t really test out the multiplayer option and dungeon crawl with my friends. Unfortunately for me my wife is also busy as I would have loved to do couch co-op, which Diablo III supports. Couch co-op was always a fun experience in old games from the PS2 like the Baldur’s Gate series or Champions of Norath series. I have poked around the net to see what others have said, and couch co-op is really well received on the console versions.
There were a few times when playing Diablo III where my wife did ask me to turn the volume down as the squelching sounds of exploding enemies from my Monk’s fighting was getting a bit on the gross side. I liked it though, you can’t have a Diablo game without all the squelchy exploding enemies and crumbling destructive environments, that’s part of the fun.
Overall, the main game is a lot of fun to play and I’m sure the rift runs would a great deal of fun too, but after the main game I kind of felt like I didn’t really want to go another round just yet. Diablo III does offer a lot of replay value so if you like dungeon crawlers or the Diablo series then Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is definitely worth your time.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is out now on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac and Windows.