Diablo III hands-on impressions – a PAX East preview

Since the PlayStation 4 announcement, I’ve had a metric ton of questions about how Diablo 3 would perform on a game pad. Granted Blizzard has reworked the game quite a bit to suite a different play style with console gamers, but I’m ecstatic to report that it works, and works very well.

Direct control of a character is something that the PC crowd isn’t exactly used to with Diablo 3; however, that’s exactly what will be happening here. Control for your character is mapped to the left stick, giving a more tactile and action-orientated feel than what I expected. Controls are responsive, and performing techniques such as evading enemy attacks and just doing some major damage all comes easily with a controller. Menu navigation and all-round loot switching has taken a big overhaul from the PC release. When picking up items, you’ll get a small notification type box on the bottom left of the screen telling you how that item compares to the piece of equipment that you currently have on. The quick stat based judgement has also translated into the full-on menu system. Moving over different items quickly and easily shows how it compares to what you have equipped. Blizzard has put forth a lot of thought into how console gamers play, and it shows.

With direct control combat has taken a more action-based focus, and the camera is pulled in giving that extra sense of control. Special abilities are tied to the four face-buttons, and some to the shoulders. Moving through enemies is fun; there’s just no other way to put it. Constantly hitting foes, seeing those sweet, sweet damage numbers pop up is gratification at its finest.

Blizzard hasn’t released a console game in quite some time, but judging from my time with Diablo 3, I wouldn’t be able to tell. With the camera in close and the new overall feel of the combat, Diablo 3 is looking to debut on a home console in fantastic form.

Stay tuned to for all your Diablo 3 news.