Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Don Parsons0
Diablo 3 Review
Summary: Consoles finally get the loot-fest, Diablo 3, and it turns out that the game is just as amazing with a controller as it is on PC.
There was a large gap between the release of Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, and with the ever-changing landscape of the gaming industry, I and the legion of longtime series fans were a little nervous about Blizzard getting it right. I never pulled the trigger on the PC version of Diablo 3, though. There were a ton of console games out that needed played and the spark of a rumor that Diablo 3 would come to consoles. Earlier this year, I jumped for joy when I saw the announcement that the action RPG epic was, in fact, coming to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
Since the game has already been out for a year, I will shorten the usual banter. The graphics are great, Blizzard did a phenomenal job with the lighting and attention to detail, and as per usual with the series, the music is creepy and sets the mood perfectly. The story is about saving the world from Diablo and his minions, but really, the focus is on killing monsters and getting loot. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the larger aspects of Diablo 3, since it is so similar to its PC counterpart. Instead, I’ll going to hop right into the parts that are particular to the console versions.
I never really had a problem playing Diablo on the Playstation 1. The controls weren’t ideal, sure, but they worked. The controls in Diablo 3 feel much more intuitive than in the previous console effort. I no longer have to fiddle with my inventory to get a town portal spell- it’s simply tied to the right d-pad button. Working spells and powers can be done deftly and with complete ease, unlike a game like, say Sacred 2, which had a few dozen button combinations like holding one of the triggers and hitting a button. Face keys and the right triggers are the main action keys and unlocked spells as I progressed. Chaining an axe throw, a Scorpion-style spear move, a stunning ground stomp, and a vicious hammer pound has never been easier than simply pressing Circle, Triangle, Square, and R2.
The original Diablo started my obsession with loot. Since then, loot-based games have become a favorite of mine. Borderlands 2, my most recent loot-driven game, got repetitive after playing through the first time. Despite the ongoing quest for a better gun, I found myself bored with the motions. Diablo 3 has fixed this by placing random events through the levels. My first time through Act I, as I patrolled the graveyards, I never stumbled across the “Jar of Souls” event. I tend to be pretty thorough when roaming the maps, too, mind you. After completing the game and starting again on Nightmare difficulty, I was pleased to find this random quest sitting there waiting for me. One of my very few complaints about the game was the lack of side-quests, but knowing that they are randomized just makes it all the better. Especially since I intend to platinum the game, which requires nearly five playthroughs, this randomness ensures a few surprises each time I go through the game.
One thing the console version has to its great benefit is couch co-op. Something we as critics knock games for having is in-person co-op when there is no online play. When a game has both it can be a sheer joy. I enlisted the help of my wife to sample the couch co-op option, as she picked the Demon Hunter class and learned the ropes. She had never played a Diablo game, but it didn’t take her long to get the hang of things. The screen doesn’t split, so you can’t wander around by yourself, but working together is the real reason behind cooperative play, right? The game even saved her character on to her own profile, so if she wanted to resume on her own, that would have been an option.
Diablo 3 is also easier than ever for people who have not played a Diablo game (or a game like it). Blizzard has streamlined the leveling mechanic, so I no longer have to go in and assign attributes each time I level up. What a chore that was, placing strength points for a barbarian class or intelligence points for a mage class. At the time, I had no idea how cumbersome that was. There was never really much of a decision factor, after all. A slight one, sure, but nothing that would break the game if it was removed. Now that it is removed, my wife didn’t have to fumble around with assigning points and could focus on the important parts: skills and loot.
After completing the game, it just continues but back from the beginning. There is an inherent addictiveness to Diablo 3. Between learning new skills when I level up or dressing myself up in the strongest fashions, Blizzard has pegged the loot-fest down and reclaimed that piece of the gaming market. If you had no inclination that Diablo 3 was on PC first, one would never know, because it feels right at home on the PS3.
Diablo 3 is driven by a constant revolving door of loot, a concept Blizzard has perfected. For people that want a great adventure to save the world, Diablo 3 provides that with its first playthrough. But for people who want to feel empowered by new items and are greedy for more, Diablo 3 provides an addicting and satisfying experience, one that left me fat and happy with a pile of goodies. I love my Wildwood, a Legendary sword with dangerous poison damage, but I just know there’s something better out there waiting to be found. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get some loot drops.
Note: This review was written based on gameplay on the Playstation 3 console with material provided by the publisher. Diablo 3 is also available on the Xbox 360 and PC. For more information on our review process, please read here.