Diablo III has been a talking point in the industry ever since its release on the PC back in 2012. Two years later, developer Blizzard Entertainment has reworked a lot of the issues that have plagued the game since its initial release and has finally delivered the definitive version of the title on next-gen systems with Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition.
Although this is my first experience with Diablo III, I spent quite a bit of time with Diablo and Diablo II--over a hundred hours on both. I have spent about ten hours with Diablo III and my impression of the title so far has been quite positive. The game's opening cinematic was presented nicely with a nice hand-drawn animation that transitions to Blizzard’s incredible CGI work. The game's story begins when a falling star crashes into an old cathedral which then brings the forces of the undead back to life. Depending on what character you pick from the start, you will be introduced to your character and their motive for coming to the undead-ravaged village of New Tristram to investigate the falling star. I won't spoil any more of the story, but early on, it has piqued my interest and I’m itching to see where it goes from here.
Graphically the game looks good, but it doesn't seem to have that much of an improvement from the PlayStation 3 version of the title; that said, the game boasts impressive particle effects and some great lighting. One of the most striking features is Blizzard’s attention to detail. A lot of the environment is destructible--there's nothing like breaking down a wall as it falls and crushes your enemies. Breaking pots and tables may seem tedious, but not only is there a chance at rare pieces of loot, but the destruction remains in the environments rather than disappearing like in most dungeon-crawlers. I was surprised by the lack of actual music throughout my playthrough, but when it was present, it fit the mood and situation quite well.
As a dungeon-crawler, Diablo has always been at the peak of the genre and Ultimate Evil Edition doesn't disappoint. Hacking and slashing my way through hordes of Undead has never felt so fun. Players can map character moves to each of the four face buttons, making customization convenient and accessible. The game's menu system is activated using the PlayStation 4’s touch pad, which opens inventory and skill menus. Finding and equipping loot is not only important,but addictive. It became a necessity to collect every piece of loot I could find, making sure my Demon Hunter had the highest Dexterity and Agility possible.
Dungeons are where most of the good loot is found and where most of your time will be spent. I very much enjoyed going through these large, labyrinthine spaces. My only complaint with this would be the lack of puzzles; although it isn't a major issue, I would appreciate a diversion from the rampant killing. I do appreciate the variety I'm given in dispatching my foes. Besides just smashing on the attack button, I found myself using creative combinations like leading enemies with my dash ability to the space beneath a chandelier. I would then lay down a trap, causing the enemies to be slowed while I dropped the chandelier, killing all of them. Although you don't get very many abilities at the start of the game, my progression felt just right and well-paced from a balancing perspective.
I also enjoyed that the game gave me the chance to pick and choose what skills I wanted to use throughout the game. I first started off with a crossbow shot that has the chance to bounce off walls and hit other targets, along with a throwing dagger that stuns. As I progressed, I ended up switching my skills to an exploding shot with rapid-fire bolts for crowd control. Although I have played quite a bit of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface, which includes the Reaper of Souls expansion pack alongside the original game and its multiple modes.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition releases today on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 and includescontent exclusive to Sony's consoles, like an entire dungeon based on The Last of Us. You can read our review of last year's Diablo III release here.
Our review of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition will go up when I've experience enough of the game to render a comprehensive final verdict, so stay tuned!