Diablo III rocked onto PC’s a little over a year ago to much acclaim, becoming one of the fastest selling PC titles in history. Players simply couldn’t get enough of Blizzard’s cartoon-animated RPG fantasy world, encapsulated by the spell casting or sword wielding action against the demons of hell. The console version, a whole year late, brings the same adventure to PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. It’s safe to say that it was worth the wait.
After deciding on a class for your adventurer (all attributed to their own specific armor and skills, pick wisely) you’re briefed on the Diablo situation through a stunning cinematic. The demons of hell are moving into our realm and causing havoc and it’s your adventurer’s destiny to stop them. Classic fantasy dramatics. The storyline isn’t particularly engaging, maybe because of the recycled voice actors or maybe because it’s so cliché it’s almost tongue in cheek but that’s ok. The story is there and it does its job, it isn’t anything memorable but you’ll be more focused on getting that Axe of Wounding or getting to a level when you can cast a certain spell. It’s wrong to say these types of games don’t require stories but as long as you’ve got somewhere to go with things to hack away at you’re a content adventurer, something Diablo III supplies in staggering quantities.
Bad guys come in all shapes and forms from the usual undead skeletons to giant spiders and abominations. The enemy design is great and is realized gorgeously through Diablo’s distinctive animation; in fact they look even better with blood flying out of them. Whilst with a PC the button layout has over 80 to choose from, a Dualshock offers considerably less so to plough your sword into someone takes some getting used to. Initially you’ll panic and press everything, causing yourself to drink a potion, jump, then finally take a swing at them all in quick succession. Button mapping takes some getting used to but proves well thought out, especially with the heavy attacks residing on the triggers. Gameplay is smooth with a pleasing frame rate and the top-down view that’s almost Blizzard’s trademark suits Diablo III’s vibe perfectly however, much of the character and item detail is lost, an ability to zoom in a little would be nice.
One of the crucial differences with the console version of Diablo III is the omission of the Auction House and the always-on internet connection, two things that you should actually be happy to see the back of. The Auction House effectively removed the screech of joy when you found a rare item as you’d be able to pick up something better for a small price at the Auction House. Now, without that feature the excitement returns and exploring every inch of the dungeon becomes important, there might be chests of loot to be discovered. These omissions actually leave the console version more enjoyable and, according to Blizzard, more like the Diablo III they wanted to release in the first place.
Multiplayer is a fantastic aspect of Diablo III. With ease you’re able to see who on your friends-list is currently playing and subsequently invite them to join your quest. By having multiple players you boost XP gain but also raise the difficulty of enemies allowing the experience not to dwindle with extra people. Multiplayer offers whole new tactics to gameplay and is especially enjoyable when everyone playing is a different class, you’re able to combine your skills to overcome even the toughest boss. Playing with friends or playing online, Diablo definitely comes into its own with companions (providing their internet is stable and doesn’t lag your game out!). If you’re really against digital socialization then Diablo III offers you the choice to bring an NPC companion along for the ride instead. They’re found at different points in the game and much like you, are adept with only certain skills. You’re able to equip your companion with better weapons and armor with ease along with picking unique skills for them to use such as healing or special attacks that really come in handy in sticky situations.
Extra side quests are dotted about each of the 4 Acts and each play through offers a level cap of 60, you’ll definitely lose a few days to this game. You’re also able to train a blacksmith to make you unique weapons and a jeweler to power-up gems that you’re able to put into your gear for extra bonuses. The worlds you frequent are vast but ultimately linear. This clever combination means loading screens are blissfully brief but the in-game experience still feels like you’re in a massive map, exploring every nook and cranny is a must here with unique extras around every-turn. Completionists will have a field day with Diablo III and even the speediest of gamers will be looking at 12-15 hours to defeat Diablo, providing you don’t get lost in a dungeon.
Diablo III works great on consoles, albeit a little bit of a faff to begin with. You can tell it’s been designed with the freedom of a keyboard in mind but it certainly doesn’t feel like a cheap attempt to welcome console gamers. The visual experience holds up with the console port and blasting enemies to bits feels just as thrilling. The weak storyline is easily pushed aside by great gameplay, interesting enemies and an addictive leveling system which is made even more addictive thanks to the removal of the Auction House and the subsequent importance of finding rare items. For all intense and purposes Diablo III is a welcome addition to console gaming even though it’s not quite of the same caliber as its PC predecessor.
What do you think of the port? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and if you’re a fellow PS3 adventurer then be sure to drop @Ben_Tarrant, @Bagogames or @Alpha_Prince a message on twitter for a multiplayer game! Review Copy supplied by Indigo Pearl – Diablo III is available now on Xbox 360, Ps3, PC and Mac.
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