Since its launch on the PC back in 2012, Diablo III has appeared on both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Now the new-gen machines are getting their chance with Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, a package of the original Diablo III game with its Reaper of Souls expansion. I can safely say the package is a gorgeous dungeon crawler which plays really well on the console platforms.
Diablo III kicks off with a falling star hurtling towards and subsequently colliding with Tristram Cathedral. The star falls down quite a few levels which results in the dead being reanimated and a host of other beasts awakening. Fortunately for the town, a hero (you) is not far away and gets caught up in the events surrounding the falling star. The story is typical in that evil cannot be allowed to triumph and everything must be done to stop it. However, a great feature of the game is that is teeming with lore from the entire Diablo series; a bonus for newcomers who are experiencing Diablo for the very first time. This can be experienced by discovering journal entries and letters littered throughout the environment. Although the story can be a little underwhelming, it does provide a decent reason to slay the legions of beasts and demons that dare stand in your way.
And slay demons, you shall; Diablo III is filled with enemies just waiting to be cut down. The gameplay is the biggest draw as it is just plain addictive and thoroughly enjoyable. Players will first need to select a character, each with their own specialty. From the get-go, players will notice that gameplay is incredibly smooth and controlling your character with the left stick is a breeze.
Enemies come in all shapes and sizes and some will be significantly stronger than others. However, defeating stronger enemies results in stronger weapon and gear drops, which results in being able to defeat even stronger enemies. It’s an entertaining cycle and will leave you itching to see what new loot has dropped after dispatching a horde of enemies. From looking fairly naked the start of the game, a short two hours will see your character looking pretty bitching in some armour and wielding a new weapon.
So what’s new in the Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition? Well, quite a bit actually. Aside from including the Reaper of Souls expansion, a new playable character in the form of the mighty Crusader is available and takes the selection of characters up from five to six. Adventure Mode, which unlocks after completing the game, opens all the waypoints across the map. This allows players to take on Bounties and open up Nephalem Rifts. It should also be noted that Adventure Mode is an endless mode with none of the Campaign missions but Events are still present. Another bonus is the ability to transfer character progress from the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Diablo III, a welcome feature for players who don’t want to start with a Level 1 character.
What better way to tackle the hordes than with a friend? Diablo III features a drop-in/drop-out co-op system that adjusts the difficulty accordingly on the fly. However, what I really love about Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is that it doesn’t only restrict you to online co-op but let’s you hit the campaign with three other friends while just sitting on the couch. A mailbox system also introduces a social feature of sending mail with loot items to your friends.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition looks rather gorgeous on new-gen systems and runs quite smoothly without any graphical hiccups in highly populated areas, something that the last-gen consoles suffered from. The game is also on par in the audio department, displaying some decent voice acting even though some conversations are repeated in between combat. Unfortunately the game’s soundtrack also seemed somewhat absent except for during the fantastic cut scenes.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is an awesome game with so much in one package. The story isn’t captivating but the lore from the universe littered throughout the game is a nice way to catch up newcomers and also provides a good reason to vanquish all forms of evil. Gameplay is excellent and provides for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Six different playable characters add a great deal of replayability, even more so when you consider how entertaining it is to play the game with friends.
The amount of content is really worth every penny when considering that it includes the Reaper of Souls expansion and the rather fantastic and endless Adventure Mode. Visually, the game shines and doesn’t really experience any graphical hiccups during heavily populated areas. The audio isn’t too shabby either and features decent voice acting throughout; the near absence of the game’s soundtrack is a little odd, however. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is an amazing experience that is sure to please all dungeon crawler fans and would be a worthy addition to almost any gamer’s collection.
Lasting appeal: 9.3/10
Known as Brady Ruiters by day and GuitarDemon by night (Well, on the PSN mostly…) Professional, creative and frank, a self-proclaimed gaming journalist moulded by a passion and fascination for gaming and music, and in turn, taking a crack at shaping the rest of the world with the very same obsession. That, however, remains a trying task.