We've spent the past few days hacking and slashing through hordes of monstrosities, hoovering up loot, dazzling fellow adventurers with grandiose spells, instilling fear into the hearts of our enemies, and preventing Hell from consuming the world. Not literally, of course – we are referring to Blizzard Entertainment's latest RPG and its first in-house console production since The Lost Vikings II on the SNES: Diablo III for the PlayStation 3.
The third entry in the beloved PC series already proved a processor intensive experience on powerful rigs when it deployed last year, so the North American developer has a lot to prove with this console iteration. Fortunately, it's made the transition fairly smoothly. The 15 month old computer release is present with all of its patches intact, minus the bothersome always-online DRM and balance breaking auction house. Replacing those unloved additions is a much less divisive drop-in/drop-out couch co-op mode, providing the blueprints for some truly joyous dungeon crawling.
To be fair, the game has suffered a bit of a downgrade in the visuals department. The crisp, complex detail of characters has been stripped back, resulting in some blurry clothing and accessory textures – but you won't notice these sacrifices once you invest in the action. Importantly, environments are still a treat to explore, with dozens of enemies filling the screen without the slightest hint of a framerate hiccup, and the lighting and particle effects remain reasonably impressive. The classic isometric perspective covers any detail drawbacks, with the aforementioned player model problems most noticeable when you're managing your loot and skills.
It's this area that's perhaps the weakest part of the otherwise excellent package, simply because it's not immediately clear how everything operates. Tabs for inventory, party, quests, and lore are easy to navigate, but radials within each option for changing equipment, skills, and modifying spells are a little unwieldy. Once you get into the swing of things, though, everything begins to make sense. Icons indicate how each new piece of equipment affects your character's stats, and as you level-up, additional skills and spells are unlocked linearly that allow you to freely switch between the options that best suit you. Runes augment your powers with additional effects, and, similarly, can be experimented with on the fly. Skill trees are sacrificed in favour of an expected emphasis on loot, allowing you to benefit from numerous properties depending on your chosen gear. The flexibility is impressive, and while it does feel like it comes at the cost of approachability at times, the system manages to make the game's five playable classes feel like several dozen.
Your choices span the Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Demon Hunter, and Witch Doctor, with each type tuned to a different playstyle. Each class boasts a light primary and a heavy secondary attack, in addition to abilities that help to impair enemies, as well as to buff you and your allies and cause untold destruction. On the standard difficulty setting, you'll often feel overpowered – but offing dozens of creatures as they swarm around you rarely gets old. Shiny loot falls from corpses, and has been rebalanced to provide more useful items than tons of trash. Bringing your friends into the action increases the challenge appropriately, scaling the difficulty so that it always feels satisfying.
You can complete the core campaign in around eight hours, but you're unlikely to have reached the level cap during that initial pursuit. A second playthrough on a harder difficulty level will keep you hooked, with the randomly generated dungeons ensuring that each return visit to the underworld feels fresh. You'll tire of the corny narrative eventually, but fortunately, outside of the stunning pre-rendered cutscenes, the plot very much takes a back seat to the dungeon crawling.
It's worth mentioning, too, that the action maps nicely to the DualShock 3. Your attacks are applied to the face buttons, while the addition of a new dodge roll mechanic has clearly been influenced by God of War. While you'll always feel powerful on the normal difficulty, later tiers will brutally test your crowd control skills. As a consequence, the release offers a highly accessible adventure for newcomers, and an appropriately unforgiving experience for those in pursuit of something a little more hardcore.
Aside from some graphical and interface niggles, Diablo III has made the transition to the PS3 exceptionally well. The addictive loot loop remains intact here, and it's furthered by the addition of an excellent couch co-op mode. With several classes to sample and a seemingly never-ending supply of gear, this is an impressive port of an already outstanding game.
I want to play this, but I think I'm going to wait for the PS4 version. To be honest, this is the sort of game I'd really like to play on the Vita. I guess Remote Play will make that possible, huh?
I have to say I played the demo and I wasn't the least bit impressed. I never played any of the other Diablo games but I have played most of the Gauntlet games, and Titan Quest, and Torchlight, and most recently Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, and D3 just seemed blah. My son walked in on me playing just as you enter the cathedral dungeon and said it looked just like DH:A, and that's b/c it did.
So I'm not saying it was bad, it just felt like more of the same, only more brown. Wasn't this game bright and colorful when they first showed it off 5 years ago?
I guess the big question is what makes this game $60 compared to 2 yr. old DH:A $15?
The visuals are a bit lacking but other than that I love it. I have been playing it non stop. I'm a level 28 female Wizard and I'm in the middle of Act 3 as we speak.
I have never played any of the other games on PC so I can't compare the two but I love the controls on PS3.
The combat reminds me of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning which is by no means a bad thing.
This is one of the games on the list of: Don't play this game if you want to keep your college index/rating over 3.0,
So in other words I can't play this because I know its really good and addicting, maybe on vacations.
I'm smashing this game at the moment and I've found the drops to be a little off. 70% of legendary drops are barbarian weapons and not one single legendary drop for the wizard class yet and we are on Act 2, nightmare mode, master I.
great game though, lots of fun!
We're in the same boat mate, I loved the demo on PS3, hated the game on PC, loved Diablo 2 back in the day, this is the definite version of Diablo 3 only to be topped by the PS4 version, I guess Ill wait for that, hopefully it will include the expansion already and fill any gap in game releases on the new platform. Even though there is so much to play already, lol.
I can gladly say that this game was -MADE- to be on consoles. The PC Version, while basically the same, just didn't pull me in. But I can gladly say I love the PS3 version very much.
I still wish Blizzard North was still a thing, because then it would have been fun to play on PC, but this is a small price to pay for a ton of fun on my console <3
@get2sammyb itd be better if the game came out on the vita than just remote play, my gf bought this for us to play and well lets just say i can t stop playing the game its so addictive!
One of the greatest games ive ever played with friends on the couch. id recommend this to anyone.
Ive been waiting on the console release after how the PC version turned out. Like @Azikira stated, it probably suits the consoles & controller more than the PC set-up. If this plays anything like Baldurs Gate on Ps2 then Im gonna be all over this!
Well said, Get2sammyb, I'm going to wait for PS4 as well. I'm going to need some games for my new system anyway, and remote play will always be a fantastic bonus.
I've played half the demo so far, and I'm very undecided. It was definitely different than most of the games I've played, but I'm not quite sold on it either. Is the demo pretty representative of the whole game? Besides the fact that only 2 classes are playable, of course...
It's a fun game, especially with the local multiplayer. I've only played for about 7 hours. I am curious to see how the PS4 version will be different.
Better graphics obviously, but Blizzard did say thay are using the touchpad, but thay didn't go into details.
Remember them dev videos Sony where putting out on the PS4, look for the Blizzard dev vid.
I played it on PC and didn't care for it. To be completely fair though, this type of game is best on a controller in my opinion. I'll definitely give this a go on PS4 or if I can pick it up sub $20 on PS3.
EDIT: I'd buy day 1 on Vita.
@LDXD - Guess I just bought into the hype too much, I'm more easily impressed when something comes out on Steam from some company i don't know for $15 than when Blizzard takes 5 years to make something, I expect to be awed, butI was underwhelmed. Still good, but not 3 years of expectations run out and buy it for $60 must have good. And I don't play anything online so it doens' tmatter when I get it. I'm also annoyed it's rated M in the states as my kids love this stuff but it looks like it could have easily been T for Teen, which they play if I'm around.
@LDXD thanks for the input. I really wish the text was bigger. I feel like it's hard to read and I have a 37" lcd tv hooked up via hdmi and I still struggle to read some of the text. Hopefully it doesn't prove to be too big of an issue. The demo apparantly goes to the skeleton king. will that give me a decent amount of abilities? Although, there were only 2 classes available and I really wanted to try demon hunter. I'm probably gonna wait for a price drop for this.
My girlfriend and I have gotten countless hours of enjoyment out of the local co-op! Such a great game.
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