Diablo 3 Review
You have to wonder why Blizzard are bothering to port Diablo 3 to consoles in the dying embers of this generation. Everyone’s saving their pennies to buy either an Xbox One or a PS4 so they can look at each nose hair on Mario Balotelli’s face in terrifying detail, bolstered by the epic power of the cloud.
With that in mind, just what unassuming games playing enthusiast is going to be interested in a late port of a game like Diablo 3, part of a series that’s as an unashamed a PC staple as World of Warcraft, Counterstrike and… er, Minesweeper?
For the record, they probably should be interested, as Console Diablo 3 has a lot going for it, including some pretty notable improvements over its PC iteration.
It’s not often you can say that about a console port, is it? For the unaffiliated, the Diablo series involves you choosing a typical fantasy RPG character class, and then wandering off on your merry way through a medieval dark fantasy world full of decrepit cathedrals, ransacked towns and spooky graveyards, all with the aim of taking out the titular Diablo, a nefarious monster who is basically Satan, horns and all.
It’s a classic dungeon crawler that sees you progress and gain new abilities constantly, mowing your way through zombies, fat zombies and skeleton zombies, all in the name of loot, levelling and the pursuit of happiness, if playing a murky, dark action RPG brings you happiness.
It takes all sorts after all.
Diablo 3 Console – Dreadful Cinematics, Plot And Tolstoy
Diablo 3 kicks off with a pretty impressive, dreadfully acted cinematic that sees a cathedral get decimated by a falling star (later revealed to be… well, something else).
It’s all suitably grandiose, with sturm und drang descriptions of the demon fuelled end of days being hammily recounted by an old chap who makes Rip Torn seem like Peter Cushing. After this bombastic intro, it switches to you and your selected chap or chapette, and you’re on your merry, demon-killing way. Diablo 3’s plot was never going to be Tolstoy, but what the hell, it gets the job done.
It’s set 20 years after the last game, and focuses on the adopted niece of series mainstay Deckard Cain and the big old adventure she has with your character. They’re all out to banish all traces of evil from the world and stop the prophesied end times. On their way, they’ll run into companions that’ll help the cause, like a Templar, a rogue or an enchantress.
The Templar fancies the Enchantress by the way, but fret not, there’s no hideously embarrassing computer game sex scene. Diablo and Sex don’t go together after all. Diablo 3 mercifully doesn’t mess around too much with over the top cut scenes or presentation either.
In-game plot development and conversation is reassuringly old fashioned, a profile picture of the talker popping up with what they’re saying appearing as text, along with the narration.
All of Blizzard’s manpower clearly went towards the gameplay side of things, and obviously, it’s paid off.
Diablo 3 Console – Levelling And Looting
Diablo 3 is hellishly addictive.
Its main selling point is in its levelling and looting. It’s pretty easy to see why Gearbox nicked the template wholesale and translated it into first person for Borderlands. You’ll nip on for a quick go, but before you know it a couple of hours have gone by and you’ve missed your dinner, all for the sake of unlocking a new ability, getting to a new area or finding a better crossbow to take out the hordes. Much of the appeal lies in its simplicity.
It won’t take long for you to get into Diablo 3 or understand what makes it tick. Your only goals are to explore the world and kill anything that looks at you funny. In an age where RPGs have tried to manipulate you and make you choose between say, incinerating a box of kittens or blowing up a planet full of starving orphans (orphans every time, kittens are adorable) it’s nice once again, to just be told ‘go kill shit.’ It’s this philosophy that makes Diablo 3: console edition a fairly engrossing timesink.
It’s a good game to sit down with on the sofa after a hard day’s work, turn the brain off and whittle away a few hours with. It’s a shameless, and honestly sometimes pretty joyless grind, but as the success of Borderlands or even the multiplayer of Call of Duty proves, the games-playing public likes nothing more than a good old grind.
There’s an unexplainable joy in hitting things for hours on end and seeing your little number go up, as your character gets stronger in-game, just as you yourself fester away into nothingness in real life.
It helps that it’s a good port. It’s not the most amazing looking game, but it doesn’t have to be, seeing as it’s all played out from an isometric third person view. It moves with a silky smoothness as well, so combat is fun and fluid, with barely any hiccups in its framerate. It’s also been tweaked a bit in other ways too, with a control pad friendly user interface added that makes changing abilities, weapons and equipment relatively quick and painless.
The nature of loot drops have been changed too apparently, meaning the goods will come a bit thicker and faster on console.
Diablo 3 Console – Now With Offline Play!
Another thing that console Diablo has over its PC iteration is that you don’t have to be online to play it.
This caused all sorts of grief at the time, with the (literally) hellish DRM stopping many from being able to properly play the game from the off, due to servers being hammered and suchlike. No such problem here, Diablo 3 is playable out the box, and is utterly fine to play even if you have a dicky internet connection. It’s a pretty damning indictment of the state of things though that something like that’s considered a plus now.
Another big plus though is the inclusion of offline co-op, meaning you can actually play games with real life friends in the same room, something that’s rarer than unicorns with most games that aren’t on Wii U nowadays. Of course all this is dependent on whether you have any friends. Still, taking on the hordes of hell with three other like-minded imbeciles in the immediate vicinity is a pretty major boon for the console version.
It’s a big game too, and once you find yourself hooked, it’s eminently replayable.
Of course, with length comes tedium, and there are times where Diablo’s relentless grind can become mercilessly wearying. Certain levels are far less interesting than others too, the second act of the game a prime example as it sees the fiery cathedrals and haunted woodlands replaced by dull sands and deserts.
With patience and some moderation though (if the grind’s getting too much, turn it off and do something else for a bit), these qualms can be dismissed and overcome fairly easily.
The real question is, do you need console Diablo 3? That depends.
If you’re looking for something to fill the loot-shaped hole in your life now that you’ve done both Borderlands, then Diablo 3’s your next natural step.
If you want an RPG type game that’s not a dull, wordy Western one or an embarrassing anime hairdo JRPG car wreck then again, Diablo 3’s a pretty obvious port of call.
It’s a solid console iteration of a solid game, and it’ll find an audience with those who think of whacking demons repeatedly in the face when they hear the phrase ‘bump and grind.’
Version Tested: Xbox 360