One of the most renowned, if not THE most renowned company in MMOs is Blizzard. Its main battle weapon is obviously World of Warcraft which, although persevering on a seemingly outdated monthly subscription service, still keeps millions as its everyday user base. Its rapid decline is mainly due to the multitude of MMOs who have scrapped monthly payments, or any payments whatsoever embracing a pay once or free to play system. Blizzard itself is adventuring along both these approaches with new title Hearthstone as a free to play game, while also sharing another hugely successful MMORPG such as Diablo with Activision, the latest instalment of which now also on consoles.
From the get go, the general feeling is that Diablo was always planned to be a console game but never got the chance it deserved. Diablo 3 feels polished, smooth and in many ways makes you forget that you ever needed a mouse to play it. Battle commands such as attacks and spells are spread evenly through the face buttons and triggers, while the d-pad is used for minor options such as scrolling through loot without bringing up the pause menu or visualising a map of the surroundings, as well as teleporting back to base. The execution of the commands, being battle or function related, is instantaneous, which makes it far more satisfactory. Diablo 3 also features little details which enhance the experience of the player. For example on PS4 the inventory screen is neatly opened by clicking the touchpad on the Dualshock.
Gameplay in Diablo 3 is as good as ever, and may be even better than that on PC, considering also the fact that the PC version released in May 2012, which is a full 2 years before the console ones, which has definitely given enough time for more refining. But before delving into the nitty gritty of the game, one must first go over the basics. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls is an online role playing game where you level a character over the course of the game. During this span, you will learn a lot of spells and collect an exaggerated amount of loot, especially for the first few hours of the game until you collect decent enough gear to suit up nicely. Once one gets the hang of things, there will no longer be the backpack full problem since mastering loot collection will become natural as you go along. As most classic RPGs, Diablo 3 revolves around a quest system, in which you happen to ask the right guy, a lot of times having something which distinguishes him from the rest of the NPCs, who in turn will ask favours in exchange for a reward. Typically, these types of games take quite a high number of hours, generally a couple of days, to complete just the main campaign and while that may deter some, it may attract others who prefer to immerse themselves into a lengthy adventure with their trusty combatant. Ironically, many experienced RPG players say that the game doesn’t even begin before reaching the level cap and beating the game once. That is because afterwards one can always take things up a notch by augmenting the difficulty level, and as the challenge increases, so does the enjoyment of the game.
Being mostly an online game, one of Diablo’s key components is multiplayer. Diablo features both local and online multiplayer, making it a contender for couch game of the year. Both multiplayer types feature a drop-in drop out which enables friends to enter and exit your game without any hassle, since the story continues regardless of number of players. It’s been such a long time since experiencing local multiplayer that I’ve almost forgotten where I put my second Dualshock 4. Thankfully it was quickly found, thus jumping into the action. The movement is a bit limited, being a shared screen co-op and not split, but it is probably the better option since the aim of playing with friends is to stay together not wander off. More players means more enemies, which are also tougher, but the more demons you kill, the more loot they drop so it’s not that bad after all.
One of the more radical changes which Blizzard has done in bringing the game from PC to consoles is the removal of the dreaded auction house, which means that much more rare loot will be dropped. This change was welcomed with mixed reactions, with anger from mostly the PC community, who even spend a lot of real money for incredibly rare items, and also with joy from the console players who will have better loot and without shelling out an extra dime.
The soundtrack of the game fits perfectly with Diablo, adding an ominous and mysterious yet calm theme to the surroundings. Characters have two types of sound; the noise from walking, casting spells and attacking, and dialogue. While the former is excellent and really goes well with whatever action you do, the speech is a let-down. Starting from some “I’m here” and ending with conversations with NPC’s, the script is really boring. When playing co-op and someone skipped the conversations by mistake, it felt almost a relief. But apart from the talking between each other, the sound of the game is very satisfactory.
In terms of graphics, the game outdoes itself once more. As one would expect, the game is mostly shrouded in darkness and a lot of objects emitting light are present in the world, most of all fire which looks like the real thing. The HUD is neat and never gets in the way, the map is neat and shows current area as a whole, at least the discovered parts, instead of endless scrolling. As spell and attacks are concerned, the animations are top notch and so are projectiles. Enemies are also easily distinguishable thanks to their red border so no confusions are made.
If you never had the chance to play it, I’d recommend the demo on PS3 or Xbox or also the Starter Edition on PC which let you play until level 8 or 13 respectively. Honestly, I’d recommend the console version because of how good it feels and responds, as well as the added content that comes with it. On the whole, Diablo 3 is a complete package of game, graphics, story and sound bundled nicely in an addicting RPG which could last weeks if not months. The multitude of bosses also keep the action from falling into a stale grindfest, and with the availability of local co-op the game may never feel boring.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.