The Diablo franchise has become one of the most famous role playing game franchises ever produced. Diablo 2 sold over four million copies, and with a game that successful, the sequel could not come fast enough. However, Diablo 3 took just about twelve years to come out. Once the announcement was made, fans everywhere became frantic and perhaps waiting over a decade was the most prudent move. Diablo 3 released in 2012 exclusively for the PC, and on its release, it sold over 12 million copies, making it one of the most popular PC games of all time. Fast forward to present day and Diablo 3 is getting ported to all major consoles to supplement the PC game. However, porting a game, especially one as popular as Diablo 3, comes with many challenges. Thankfully, Blizzard Entertainment contains some of the best minds in the business, but did all that talent make a successful port?
Well, before we get into the review, let’s set the record straight. If we were to compare the console version to the PC version of the game, you’ll see that the game looks better on a high-powered PC. There really is no comparison, and, frankly, it isn’t fair to compare in the first place. This game was designed for the PC and that is where it really shines. If you have a top-notch gaming PC, that is where you need to play this game. This version of the game is really for those that don’t have gaming rigs up to the task or those that just plain prefer the consoles. From here on out, we’ll be analyzing the game independently of the PC version of the game.
From a visual stand point, the game looks great. All the character models looked good and the game ran very smoothly. There were a few minor frame rate issues, but nothing that really took you out of the experience. Even when the screen was full of enemies, the console was able to handle it without a problem. However, where the game really shines is the cut scenes. Nothing was lost from the transition to the console when it comes to the cut scenes. They are simply stunning, and when you watch them on the console version, it is still a sight to behold.
As far as the control scheme is concerned, things were changed significantly to accommodate a new audience. Moving around and getting what you need doesn’t always work as you’d expect it to, so there is a small learning curve to the game. However, the controls were simplified for the console to make inventory management and item control easier. For the most part it works, and there are some hidden benefits for using a controller that come with this version of the game. The old point-and-click method of getting where you want to go is gone from this game; instead, all your movement will be done with the left analog stick. On the right stick, an evade maneuver was mapped that quickly becomes a valuable tool in your adventuring. In addition to the new stick maneuvers, all your abilities are mapped to the face buttons, while the shoulder buttons are used for items and special abilities. All in all, the new scheme works quite well, and though it is different than what most Diablo players are used to, it still does the job nicely.
The sound direction also survived the port seemingly unscathed. The voice acting is still as good as its ever been. Sure, there are still some cheesy lines in there, but it did a great job of getting the point across while still maintaining the tone of the game. The sound effects sound great and are reasonably realistic. While you rarely hear the clash of swords or the wail of a monster, it sounds convincing enough. Finally, the score is excellent and is the best part of the sound direction as a whole. While you’ll spend a lot of time underground, the music still sounds great and sets the mood for your adventure.
Finally, Diablo 3 adds multiplayer for this version of the game, and it makes the experience better overall. The difficulty scales with the number of people fighting in your party so you can’t get more friends to make the game any easier. However, having that ability to bring your friends into the fray is excellent and makes this version of the game superior to other versions for that ability alone. The other impressive feature of playing in multiplayer is that each player gets an experience tailored to their character. All the loot drops, the dialogue, even cut scenes are specific to the class you are playing. This ensures that you’ll get your personalized experience while playing the game. This also avoids some of the biggest problems with multiplayer RPGs, including loot fights or having to watch cut scenes and dialogue not meant for your character which takes you out of your experience as a different class. Arguably the best features of this version are the removal of the auction house and of the always online requirement. The auction house keeps this experience more of a console-pure experience and removes the gold farmers and endless bots that so many other games have. It also allows you to play the game on your own terms, even if you don’t have internet. That makes this version the best version of the game out there.
Overall, this version of Diablo 3 is, by far, the best way to play Diablo 3, even against the PC version. Sure, you’ll lose some graphical fidelity by playing a console port of the game; however, the features that you gain in the process make Diablo 3 a better overall experience. Things like the removal of the auction house and removing the always online requirement help prevent some of the traditional MMORPG problems while focusing on what makes this game fun. Having fun is the most important part of a game and the console version of Diablo 3 focuses on making an already great game, even greater. Therefore, we say that if you never played Diablo 3, get it for the consoles and enjoy the game for how it should have been enjoyed all along.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 3 version of Diablo 3 developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment
- Focus on Fun
- New Control Scheme
- Slightly Inferior Graphics