The story plays out in Diablo 3 the exact same way it did in the PC version. However, the Diablo 3 experience for consoles is far from a simple port of the PC version. Blizzard built some aspects of the game from the ground up for the console version so that everything would feel natural. Players will find themselves falling into a much more fast-paced rhythm then in the PC-based game. All the features from the point-and-click version will be available but moving through environments feels much smoother using the analog stick. Melee attacks used when playing as a Barbarian reveal the well-polished console gameplay.
Blizzard added a roll mechanic that allows players to quickly dodge and move around enemies. The added move, which is activated using the right analog stick, helps players adjust to the PS3 version’s fast-paced flow. Attacks and skills are performed using X, O, Square and Triangle buttons on the DualShock 3 along with the two right triggers. Potions can be used with the left triggers.
Inventory management has also received a makeover to make it more conducive to PS3. Simply porting the PC interface to PS3 would not make sense without the mouse. Instead, the console version has a circular dial-style menu, making selecting objects quick and easy.
Auction houses will not be making their way from the PC to the PS3 version of Diablo 3. In order to make up for the lost ability to buy gear, gamers will find more rare loot dropped during gameplay. Blizzard said the rare loot players will find will be tailored to the character being used in the game.
Co-op gameplay remains a huge part of Diablo 3 on the console version. The E3 demo featured four player drop-in, drop-out co-op, which runs seamlessly on PS3. When playing local multiplayer, gamers must stay within the designated area seen on screen. Unresponsive players will be forced to move in the direction of the others so the action can move along. Online co-op ditches the limitations and allows players to roam freely throughout environments.
Inevitably, the console version of Diablo 3 will be compared to its PC counterpart. While it mostly delivers, the visuals fall short. Many of the environments and color palettes in the game are dark. The PC version relied on lighting techniques for its visual appeal but the PS3 version played at E3 did not have those same effects. While this may be an issue only experienced in the demo build, it is likely that players who want the best visuals will have to stick with Diablo 3 on PC.
Blizzard has always been known strictly as a PC developer and, for that reason, hardcore console gamers have given the company little notice. Diablo 3 could start a dramatic shift in those preconceived notions. The game feels right at home on PS3 and could be a worthwhile experience even for players who already played the game on PC.
Diablo 3 is set to release Sept. 3 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A version for PS4 is expected to release sometime in 2014 and Blizzard is working on ways to integrate the new DualShock 4’s touchpad feature. No announcement has been made regarding Diablo 3 on Xbox One.