Diablo III is now finally available on consoles. I really could spend time pushing some intricate intro about “the acclaimed PC game now being easily available for TV play,” but it’s Diablo III. The game is old enough that you probably know what it is and whether you’re interested in it or not. If you still have no idea what this game is and still want to know what it’s about, I’ll try to clue you in a bit.
For those of you who just want to know what’s new, the big differences are how the game looks, controls, and distributes loot. Because it’s on consoles, it certainly looks nowhere near as good as it does on a higher end PC, but that’s to be expected. The textures on character models look pretty rough, screen tearing is comfortably present, and the production values aren’t nearly there. Saying this, what the console versions do have in this department is a guarantee that the game will run and play comfortably well in an acceptable way.
As for control, the game now plays with the PS3 or Xbox 360 controller instead of a keyboard and mouse, and I believe that this is the optimal way to play. It’s comfortable, with dodges mapped to the PlayStation’s right stick and attacks mapped to face buttons, and feels way better than the PC ever did with a traditional set-up. Lastly, that auction house from the PC version has been nixed with the jump to a game version that isn’t always online, and this thankfully removes any of the complaints about Diablo being pay-to-win or having poor loot balance.
In saying that, I don’t know how much I like Diablo III. This is the third iteration in the series that inspired the term “Diablo clone,” and for good reason. The games are action-RPGs in a fantasy setting where you kill enemies by using simple attacks with various different classes like spell casters, melee attackers, and archers. Throughout the 10-15 hour basic quest with a negligible fantasy story (you can replay it on harder difficulty to get better pick-ups and a harder game with more potential to level up), the enemies you kill drop ‘loot’ that includes tons of weapons and armor to increase stats and change the look of your character. As you level up and kill stronger enemies, you get better loot, and its addicting on a legendary scale. Oh, and most of the fun comes from playing with other people in online or local co-op who also like killing enemies and collecting loot.
I’m generalizing these games in a very stereotypical way, but Diablo III is just a really good version of a style of gameplay that has been around for a very long time now. The quest lines are good, the potential for online is good, the class balancing is pretty good, the combat is pretty good, the weapons and armor all look interesting and have a massive selection, the leveling is pretty good, and the game feels far more iterative than Diablo II or even some of the Diablo-inspired games released in recent memory. As someone who has played more than his fill of these games, Diablo III did not grab me nearly as much as the last game did. Once I beat the game, I ejected the disc with the intention of never playing it again.
Newcomers to the sub-genre could probably not find a better path of entry to it, and people who really love Diablo but have never played III might now have a chance to play a pure, transaction-free version of it. Saying this, the package is such a late port to consoles and the fact that so many people who want to play through Diablo III already have multiple times makes it tough to get excited. Furthermore, despite being part of the series that started the genre, Diablo III feels just as uninteresting to me as many of the recent games that directly copy its style. But hey, if you really want a console version of Diablo III, it’s here now and it does a couple of pretty neat things.
PS3 review copy provided by Blizzard. The console version of Diablo III is now available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, while the original version is available on PC and Mac. A PlayStation 4 version will be available in 2014.