Review: Diablo III – console edition
I don’t think I’ve ever played any PC port of a game which was actually better than the original title, however Blizzard’s console version of Diablo III has taken the endless mouse clicks and hammered them out into a straight forward arcade styled experience.
Blizzard is known for going all out when it does something. As a gamer whose played the console version of the original Diablo way back in the PlayStation One days, I know how well suited this style of game is to a controller. Diablo III on console is more than just a shuffled redesign to bring the title to another system. Blizzard has actually taken its time putting this one together and what it has come up with is the definitive version of this game, and here’s why.
The newly reworked controls work and feel a lot more natural than a mouse and keyboard. Players use the left stick for movement and aiming, while the right stick is devoted to the newly introduced directional roll ability. This ability has changed the way the game is played by allowing more dexterity to the lighter more vulnerable character classes and a little less monotony to the tank classes. Rolling allows players to release quick and furious bursts of damage before diving under oncoming attacks and getting to a safe distance to plan their next strike. As you unlock more moves, each category is assigned to either a face or shoulder button on the controller letting you mix up the combat. These new revamps offers a much more refined system of play.
Ditching a traditional inventory, the system has been streamlined down to a simple and effective radial menu, splitting content into tabs and then by using the thumb sticks the player can quickly scroll through items and skills before rejoining the action. On top of the menu adjustments the new version allows drop in/drop out co-op for up to four players on one console. Players may also use another profile (either imported or local) or create a temporary character for a quick play at a friend’s house. The local co-op has been one of my favourite features, allowing me to play at home with my wife and also include other friends via online all at the same time.
Besides the aforementioned rolling and directional attacks, Diablo III plays mostly the same as its PC counter part. All of the levels, boss fights and creatures are still present and the game still throws relentless amounts of bad guys at you, just like it should. Even when playing online the game manages to hold a decent frame rate considering the hardware limitations and besides the obvious drop in visual flashiness, the game remains smooth and slick even with four players and a screen full of enemies. The game has no new moves for its characters however this new control system feels more strategic and less of button mash.
Though I am a PC gamer through-and-through, Diablo III on console is a more organic and accessible title than its PC counterpart. This is more than just a port. It is the quintessential version. Diablo III has a much further reach than ever before and may even steal a few PC gamers in the process. It works incredibly well as a couch game and console owners would be wise to check this one out. Be warned though, it may take your soul and all your free time.
Diablo III is available now on both PS3 and Xbox 360.