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Diablo 3 Review: Demon Slaying Fun Now Available on Consoles
Even before Diablo 3 came out on the PC, there were rumors circulating on the possibility of it being ported to the console. Eventually Blizzard confirmed these rumors back in February of 2013 with the announcement of Diablo 3 for Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and the Xbox 360. So what has changed in the console version of Diablo 3? Which version of the game is better?
For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Diablo 3 takes place twenty years after the events of Diablo 2. An object referred to as the fallen star has crash landed onto the old Tristram cathedral. The player character arrives in Tristram to investigate the fallen star while fighting off the undead forces rising from their graves in response to the fallen star. The story has not been improved at all and still feels weak, but given that this is just a port I wasn’t expecting anything new in terms of story.
As far as gameplay goes, little has changed between the console and PC version of Diablo 3. It is the same formula as what made Diablo 3 so much fun in the first place. You run around alone or with friends, kill a bunch of demons, and collect mountains of loot. Significantly less loot drops in the console version, the good news is that the loot will usually be better quality than what you’d typically find in the PC version. There is no auction house of any kind in the console version, so players will not be able to buy all the best gear off of other players lucky enough to have it drop for them. Another noticeable difference in the console version is the fact that you do not have to play online, nor do you need a Battle.net account.
The console version doesn’t add any new content in terms of quests or story, but adds a variety of small and interesting mechanics. The first one is the Nephalem Glory buff. Nephalem Glory can be triggered if you pick up a power globe, and it allows you to move faster and your attacks send a series of gold bolts of energy at all nearby enemies. This effect can last for awhile and is incredibly powerful.
The other mechanic that was added was the ability to roll. Rolling can be used by any class and allows you to avoid enemies and get out of harm’s way with just a simple movement of the right analog stick. Not only that, but for some odd and endlessly entertaining reason you can destroy doors, barrels, crates, and plenty more simply by rolling into them. You can even do miniscule damage to an enemy if you hit them while rolling.
Some small changes have been made here and there. You no longer have to buy a stronger health potion as you progress through the acts, as the health potion now heals you for sixty percent of your health rather than a fixed numerical value. Some bosses have been tweaked, with only a few noticeably so particularly in Act III. I noticed fewer white and gray quality items dropping, although they drop a little too often in later acts. Even in the console version, white and gray items are completely useless and are not even worth picking up to sell to a vendor. The inventory has also been changed so that it is no longer a grid and you can pick up a lot more items before you have to go back to town and sell them. The inventory selection can be confusing at first especially if you are used to the grid inventory featured in the PC version.
Some abilities have been modified as well. For example, the Monk’s Mantra skills no longer have a duration. The Mantra will stay active until you either switch your skill, leave the game, or die. Speaking of death, if you die you have more options than respawning a short distance away from where you died. You can now be automatically transported back to town and resurrected there. It is nice that they give some choice, as in later difficulties it may be a good idea to head back to town and resurrect there if you find yourself in a not particularly safe area.
Yellow items, or rares, no longer have to be identified to determine what stats they will have. As a result, the Book of Cain has been removed from all acts along with the ability for Deckard Cain to identify rare items. You still have to identify any legendary item that you find, with the exception of the pre-order Infernal Helm and the Playstation 3 exclusive items like the Hero’s Journey shoulders or Drake’s Amulet.
Monster Power is in the console version, but it has been tweaked slightly. Rather then picking a numerical level to determine how strong the monsters will be, you now have difficulty options like Easy, Medium, Hard, and Master 1 through 5. To get an idea as to how they will scale, Medium is the rough equivalent of Monster Power 2 while Hard is Monster Power 4. Master difficulty starts at Monster Power 6.
Diablo 3 supports up to four players playing on the same console. There is no split screen, and instead the game has all the players on one screen with their respective UIs in the corners. Arrows will appear over an enemies head, giving you an idea as to whom your fellow players are targeting. If a player falls behind the game will automatically move their character closer to the other players. If the game cannot catch the player up with the others, it will teleport the player to that location. This feature feels very smooth and never once did it feel like I was tethered to the other player and forced to follow them.
So which version of Diablo 3 is better? Well for the most part, they are pretty much the same game just with some modifications and tweaks that make each version feel unique. It will really come down to preference in the end. Do you prefer a crazy action RPG loot party like Diablo 3 on your computer or would you rather be able to experience the game while sitting on the couch and playing it with friends or family?
But I can say that Diablo 3 on console was as much of a blast to play as it was on the PC. At present, I’d say that I honestly like the console version a little more than the PC version. Of course this may change depending on Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. With so many tweaks and changes for the better, I heartily recommend Diablo 3 to both new players and veterans alike.