The time has come again for another installment of Diablo, and with it, more modes, difficulty options, lore, and loot. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition packs Diablo III’s greatest features into a neat package available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, as well as the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Despite being a two-year old game, this new “greatest hits” package comes with everything you need to get the most out of the Diablo experience. Not only does it come with the base game, the Ultimate Evil Edition also includes the Reaper of Souls expansion that was released in March of this year. It also comes with all the updates for difficulty and loot-finding that helps refine the game.
For those of you unfamiliar with the franchise, Diablo III is the story of the Nephalem in which they be a Crusader, Witch Doctor, or Wizard tasked with destroying the lord of all that is evil. Throughout the base game’s four acts you’ll come across a barrage of characters that range from evil mages, ghosts, and, of course, demons. Once done you’ll be able to continue on to the RoS expansion where you must defeat the Angel of Death, Malthael and his minions. As you quest you’ll gain access to new abilities and weaponry that will give your character the power they’ll need to accomplish their quest.
One of the main aspects of the Diablo franchise is its emphasis on cooperation and teamwork. Luckily, this system has grown much better now that it has been implemented on consoles. I remember a few months after Diablo III had originally released on the PC I was attempting to find a game of random players to co-op with, but I saw that there were only seven other people doing the same mission and difficulty as I was. What surprised me most was the minuscule number of players who had stuck with the game just a few months after the game’s launch. I feel that since this game has had such a wide release there will constantly be a large active player base for others to interact with. The game also supports up to four local players, meaning that you can have an additional three friends sitting in your living room adventuring to your heart’s content. Even if you don’t have friends online the game still supports game chat which has led me to meeting new people and adding them to my list of friends so we can pick up where we left off later.
Diablo III on PC was one of my favorite games for a very long time, so I was slightly worried when I heard the game was going to be ported to consoles. There’s always been something that felt right when controlling the game with a mouse and keyboard. As I’ve played more and more of this game however I think the controller layout has won me over. All of the player’s abilities are mapped to the right side of the controller. I found that his layout is a lot easier to use because I don’t have to move my fingers across my keyboard while having to look to make sure I hit the right key. With the console version I just have to look at the screen, read what symbol is, and press the corresponding button without having to glance at it. I also really appreciate mapping the dodge (roll) option to the right stick because it’s a much faster to use than a key on a keyboard, which really matters if you’re trying to dodge an attack that could spell your doom.
Another one of my favorite additions to the game is the trophies. I’ve always been the kind of gamer who tries to get as many of the achievements/trophies as I can, but I can already tell that getting all the achievements in this game is going to take a few months. I really like, that, in this game, achievements are achievements. The requirements for the “Above & Beyond (Hardcore)” trophy states that you need to reach level 70…without dying. Being able to reach level 70 means beating both the original campaign and the expansion, playing on the hardest difficulty to get the most experience, and completing a few bounties in adventure mode. To put this in perspective, I’ve played around twenty hours and my Crusader is only level 64. I should also note that after beating the first four acts I had only acquired 30% of the trophies, and another 10% after the DLC.
Though most of what makes this game fun remains intact, there are still elements that hinder the overall experience. As much as I love the control scheme, mapping the interact button to the X button was a complete mistake. At one point in my journey I had been sandwiched in between a doorway to another area and a bunch of enemies. As I kept getting pushed back I would often hit the X button to use my primary attack, but would often change areas because of my proximity to the doorway. This continued for about another two minutes before I had finally cleared the area, leaving me extremely aggravated. Another issue I had was targeting. Without the use of a proper cursor the stick is used to select which enemy you want to aim at. Something I found is that if a large group of enemies are coming at you, the game will, for whatever reason, target an enemy towards the back of the horde, leaving you defenseless against the enemies already in front of you. Whether this was a problem with my controller or the game itself, I still hope this is addressed in some patch down the road. My last gripe is Blizzard’s implementation of the PS4 controller’s touch-pad. In one of the the developer videos regarding this game, some developers were talking about how they thought using your finger to select categories in your inventory was a great idea. Maybe if the inventory UI wasn’t based around a radial layout they may have been correct. Since the pad is a small rectangle, you can’t properly move your finger around in a circular motion. However, despite these minuscule problems, the game still makes up for it in keeping the player immersed in the action.
In many ways I feel like this game has eclipsed its PC counterpart. It takes what’s great about the franchise and pushes it to the limit. I also found that this game has the ability to satisfy any kind of gamer. If you’re a fan of RPG’s or just love loot-centric games like Borderlands or Destiny. Perhaps you’re the kind of gamer who just wants to hack and slash your way through endless waves of enemies across a beautifully crafted world. No matter what kind of gamer you are I can guarantee this game can offer whatever you’re looking for and more.