The High Tech Society

Diablo III Console Review

Gaming

Diablo III Console Review

It’s been nearly 17 years since Diablo was released for the original PlayStation. Now it’s back on consoles once again, and I must say – the game feels like it’s come home. Diablo III was the perfect choice for the console return. With the storyline beginning back in Tristram, gamers who have played the original will be met with many moments that spark nostalgia. Since it’s impossible to say much more without spoiling the surprises, I’ll just jump right into the review.

Diablo 3 review

About the Game

Diablo III’s storyline is much like the previous incarnations. Our hero or heroes must journey through dungeons and across lands in order to stop the current Prime Evils from wreaking havoc on the human world. As with the PC version, players can choose from either male or female versions of several character classes:

  • Barbarian – a tank-like character great for those who want to get up close and smash things.
  • Demon Hunter – a ranged character for those who prefer to stand back and rain death upon their demon enemies.
  • Monk – a melee character somewhat similar to the assassin from Diablo II, with attacks that focus on landing combinations of hits with either fists or staves.
  • Witch Doctor – somewhat similar to the old Necromancer class from Diablo II, but with a focus on the Voodoo culture. Can fight melee, but really best as a ranged character.
  • Wizard – A magic wielding character that slings spells and uses magical staves to defeat hellspawn.

Each character class comes with their own set of skills and abilities that allow for plenty of character customization. You could create dozens of different character builds within each class, and each one would play slightly differently than the other.

The game also has several different difficulty settings. There are the main settings of normal, nightmare, and inferno, however, within each of these players can also choose between easy, medium, hard, and master levels 1, 2, and 3. For this review, I played the game on the medium setting of both normal and nightmare difficulties. There is also a hardcore mode in which your character can only be killed once and doesn’t respawn.

The Good

Along with the incredible level of character customization and excellent storyline, Diablo III has a lot going for it. The game is fun and engaging to play. Conversations between the characters and between the player’s character of choice and various NPCs feel authentic. All of the main NPCs you interact with have stories to tell, which you unlock over time as you play the game, including the companions available for single player games that you meet in your travels, who include the Templar, the Scoundrel, and the Priestess. In addition to the unlockable information, your companions will have random things to say as you travel through dungeons. One of the most enjoyable parts of the game for me was listening to my character joke and talk to her traveling companion as they ran through a dungeon. It gave the game a more immersive feeling.

You play the game over four acts, and each act takes place in a different location. Each location presents its own challenges, with different areas, and randomly spawning dungeons and special enemies. In addition to your regular enemies, you will occasionally run across “nightmarish” enemies marked by a blue glow, which are harder than the normal enemies you face. These are usually minions to a mini-boss marked by a yellow glow. These mini-bosses spawn randomly and usually drop some rare or legendary loot. The randomization of loot drops, enemy spawning, and even dungeon placement means that no two plays of Diablo III are exactly the same, giving this game added value over time.

Diablo 3 review

The Bad

In a game where collecting loot is a big part of the fun, getting a rare or legendary item should feel a bit  more like a serious accomplishment. By the end of my first playthrough, I had 4 copies of Leoric’s Crown (each with a different armor level, but still), and a stash full of other unique and legendary items. Additionally, finding a legendary item, and then two fights later finding a magic item of the same type that is more powerful can feel a bit disheartening. It cheapens the feel of item drops that are supposed to be special when they happen too often and other items are too powerful.

It may be the choice I made to play on the medium difficulty level, but it felt to me that the overall difficulty of the game was really backwards. Boss fights that should have gotten harder as I leveled up and progressed further in the game instead felt easier than ones I had faced earlier on. When I used my level 35 character in Nightmare mode, the first few bosses were easily taken out in just a few hits – which kind of defeats the purpose of playing a second time on a harder level.

Final Thoughts

Diablo III really comes into its own on the console. With both online and local four-player co-op, and a storyline that will inspire nostalgia in players that have enjoyed the original Diablo game, the console version of Diablo III is worth purchasing, even if you own the PC version. There’s something that just feels right about seeing those incredible cinematics on the big screen. Using the controller for skills and abilities feels natural and effortless, which wasn’t always the case with keyboard commands. All in all, I’d give this game a 9 out of 10.