Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition Review

Diablo 3 has had a rocky relationship with its consumers since launch, plagued by a variety of complaints ranging from the in-game auction house to the distribution of loot. Indeed it would seem that Diablo 3 initially failed to satiate cravings for the orange, yellows and blues. However, since launch the game has received a plethora of patches and updates, which have both refined and changed the games systems, as well as added a sizeable body of additional content. So it was with hopeful optimism that I approached Diablo 3 on PS4, packing all of the content distributed for the PC version since 2012, this poses to be the definitive Diablo 3 experience.

As the game launched and I sat down for what was, initially to be very brief exploration of the games new features. It wasn’t long before I found myself captivated by the experience once more. Diablo 3’s loot and character progression systems once again prove to be addictive. If you enjoyed previous versions of the game then you’ll certainly continue to do so with this edition and the Reaper of Souls expansion.

The games combat remains fluid and responsive, although with something of a more visceral flair when played with a gamepad. In comparison to the PC version, the direct control you have of your character gives you a greater sense of place within the games world. Instead of merely commanding your hero on where to go, whom to attack and what with, it feels as if you play as your hero directly. This leads to a much more immerse experience, and for me this was a difference as stark as night and day. However, for others it may feel odd playing without a mouse and keyboard, and you certainly lose a little precision when directing the focus of your attacks without a cursor to guide your hero.

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The the game feels as if you were playing the PS3 version, but with the graphical fidelity and performance of a high end PC. The world of Sanctuary comes to life with a bounty of colour featured across a wealth of rich and varied environments, and the high quality art direction is even better appreciated with within a higher resolution. Technical performance has made changes to the gameplay too, and the game runs a relatively stable 60 frames per second – contrasting the 30 of the PS3 and 360 versions of the Diablo 3 – which results in far greater fluidity for the games combat. The game feels more responsive, and things don’t begin to slow down when the combat heats up with an abundance of enemies and effects on screen.

The bulk of your time with Diablo will spent searching for new loot and equipment. You kill enemies in order to get experience and better loot, which you can then use to kill stronger enemies. It’s a constant cycle of gear improvement and character progression that proves to be an addictive, although occasionally repetitive formula. Moreover, Blizzard have facilitated those looking to continue their Diablo 3 experience post-game with adventure mode; offering an endless number of additional bounties for you to complete.

The games narrative however is unfortunately somewhat dry, failing to provide incentive to continue beyond the aforementioned character development. Despite this, the Diablo 3’s gameplay is addictive. While combat is relatively simple, featuring a limited skill pool and only 6 classes to choose from, there’s enough diversity within each of these to make them feel as if they were your own. Flexibility within the games character development systems allow you to change builds and subsequently; play-styles in order to ensure the game offers enough variation to keep most players entertained. Co-operative dynamics offer additional depth to the games intricate systems and the inclusion of 4 player co-operative split-screen is a  real treat.

While taking on the perils of Sanctuary alone can indeed get a little repetitive at times, the game becomes all the more entertaining with a group of friends, either locally or online. Team synergy adds additional layers of depth to how you build your characters, and use their skills. Looting and exploring with friends is simply more interesting than it is on your own. Similarly the dry atmosphere of Diablo 3’s narrative fades away with co-operative partners, as your group crafts its own narrative and memories within Diablo 3’s world. It’s especially good if you can get a consistent crowd of people to play with, although it should be noted that item and skill management can be cumbersome when sharing a screen in local co-op.

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The included Reaper of Souls expansion adds another act and class to the experience, and whilst its narrative is just as uninspired as the core quest-line, it satisfies in providing more variance in what you’ll be killing, and where you’ll be killing it. The Crusader class adds more flexibility to your potential play styles while providing a reason to play through again if you’ve already experienced all of the original classes. The game also also features some additional content exclusive to current gen platforms. Most notably the nemesis system; which allows enemies that have killed your friends to ‘level up’ and come after you, or enemies that have killed you go after your friends. Colour-matched controller lights and some exclusive, The Last of Us related content is also available for the Playstation 4 version of the game, but none of this fundamentally changes the experience, merely offering slight alteration in what you kill, or in the case of the nemesis system; the circumstances in which something attempts to kill you.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this however, Diablo 3 is built upon simple gameplay staples and this works. It’s precisely the games accessibility despite profound depth that makes it such a sustainably enjoyable experience. The addictive loot driven gameplay is combined with plentiful variance in playstyles and the considerable character development makes it feel like your own adventure. All the while, the responsiveness facilitated by a higher framerate, and console controls make the Ultimate Evil Edition feel like an experience you’re in control of and more than just cranking out higher numbers than your foes.

Good

  • Addictive looting and character development
  • Plentiful variability in developing your own character and playstyle
  • Potential for team synergy adds depth when in co-operative modes
  • Adventure mode makes the experience truly endless
  • Pleasant aesthetic presentation

Bad

  • Can feel repetitive at times
  • Shared menu is a pain in local co-op

 

 

Ultimately the Ultimate Evil Edition is everything that consumers who cued up for the game in 2012 wanted. Blizzard have produced an exponentially better game through loot enhancements, and additional content and Reaper of Souls is Diablo 3’s definitive edition. A game polished near to perfection, and one that offers an experience fans of either Diablo, or loot driven role play games will surely find engrossing.

 

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Author: Jozef Kulik

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