When Diablo 3 released for PC in 2012, it was met with great reception but plagued by connection errors. The game’s always-on DRM meant Diablo 3 would be unplayable without an Internet connection – a decision that backfired greatly when the Battle.net servers failed to connect at launch. Many gamers received the famous “error 37″ message when trying to log on while others experienced in-game bugs. While developer Blizzard eventually solved the problem, it cast a dark shadow over the game’s release.
More than a year later, Diablo 3 has come to consoles. The connection errors have been forgotten in the past, leaving the game’s famously fun multiplayer experience to take over the spotlight. Featuring smooth controls and tons of hours of gameplay, Diablo 3 provides console gamers with a package that might even top the PC version of the same game.
Despite a change of platform, the console version of Diablo 3 is essentially the same game as its PC counterpart. Players start by selecting between Wizard, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor and Monk character classes. Each has their own unique abilities and combat style. The overarching point of the story is to fight off demons who threaten the world. Along the way, players will uncover loot, fight off bosses and level up their character.
Unfortunately, the first act of the game is mostly a button-mashing experience. Characters will not have the skills necessary to use strategy and will feel overmatched against large groups of foes that take over the screen. However, the combat improves gradually as players earn new skills and find easier ways to take down enemies.
There is no auction house in the console version of the game. To make up for this, loot drops are much more useful than on PC. Players will have less access to loot but they will find more rare items, reducing the amount of time spent going through the inventory system.
Bringing a PC game to consoles will no doubt provide the title with an abundance of new players so it’s disappointing that Blizzard failed to include a tutorial mode. New players will have to learn on their own, which can be a long process considering the game’s combat, crafting and inventory-management system.
PC players might find it difficult to even think about using a controller to play Diablo 3. However, the game translates well on consoles thanks to an intuitive control scheme. The left stick controls character movement while the face buttons, triggers and bumpers are all assigned a specific skill. Flicking the right stick will initiate the new dodge mechanic, which has been added for the console version of the game. And just in case a character is swallowed up in a swarm of enemies, pressing down the right trigger will highlight the player.
Inventory management is handled in a separate menu system. Players use the sticks to navigate a wheel mechanic in order to scroll through items. It is not the most innovative way to maneuver through the inventory system but it certainly serves its purpose.
Aiming is not totally accurate and the dodge mechanic is over-sensitive but the console controls are simple and easy. Diablo 3 feels right at home using the Xbox 360 controller.
When Diablo 3 released for PC, it was hampered by problems brought on by the game’s always-on DRM policies. Thankfully, there are no issues with the console version. An online connection is not required but it is highly recommended. Not only is taking on baddies much more fun with friends, but it also makes advancing through the game easier. Players who do decide to attempt playing solo can get help at any time thanks to the game’s drop-in/drop-out multiplayer.
The title supports online co-op but the real fun comes from bringing together a group of friends for a night of couch co-op. The game supports up to four players locally and taking advantage of that feature leads to the most fun Diablo 3 experience players can have, no matter the platform.
Diablo 3 is packed with tons of hours of gameplay. Characters have a level cap of 60 but players will not even come close to it on their first playthrough. That gives perfectionists extra incentive to play through the campaign a second time using the game’s hardcore difficulty.
Players can also get a completely different experience by choosing different character classes. Even when using the same class, Diablo 3 promises a new experience with each playthrough as enemies will generate randomly. Of course, there is always the added benefit of inviting some friends over for a co-op party as well.
The console version of Diablo 3 is probably not the purest form of the game but it is the most fun, especially when played with three other friends. Controls are imperfect but they are natural enough to satisfy even the most hardcore Diablo players. Overall, the console version of Diablo 3 is an enjoyable experience best shared with friends. Getting four players together to take down foes will have veteran gamers reminiscing about their old arcade side-scrolling memories while also making some new ones.