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Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition - Review

Updated on September 1, 2014

Diablo 3 has finally made its way to next generation consoles, alongside its DLC expansion, Reaper of Souls, in what could arguably be called the definitive version of the game at this point.

So what are the differences? In all honesty, not all that many, once you remove the on-disc DLC from the equation; which includes an extra act to play through. Most of the improvements are minor technical changes; a higher frame rate and slight improved visuals being the most notable. It's unlikely to be an upgrade that PS3/Xbox 360 Diablo 3 players will be desperate to have.

For those that are new to the series however this is still perhaps the most complete version. Diablo is the archetypal dungeon-crawler, a game that, in all honesty, has players repeat the same cycles of attacking, looting and levelling up, until they get bored enough to move on to another game. The series has never been an especially elegant example of game design - its random loot-drops and equipment grinding only serving to satisfy a specific kind of player that can put up with its repetition.

Granted, Diablo 3 does have a few aces in its sleeves, its six characters, five from the original game and one from the expansion are all varied enough to require different approaches. Classes such as the Witch Doctor excel at crowd control abilities, with the power to summon zombie dogs and hulking undead goliaths but not having many precision moves for one-on-one combat. Other classes, such as the Demon Hunter, have to carefully balance their skills (only a limited number can be hot-keyed at a time), to ensure that mobs and single, elite enemies can both be defeated with ease with the hunter's long-ranged attacks.

The Witch Doctor class has the ability to summon monsters to aid it, making mobs of enemies easier to handle.
The Witch Doctor class has the ability to summon monsters to aid it, making mobs of enemies easier to handle.

However, Diablo 3 is still a game that risks drying up incredibly quickly. The first few tentative hours in the game's first chapter are its best; your character is still developing and new skills are unlocked at a brisk pace, requiring that you constantly re-evaluate your set-up to be as efficient as possible. Later chapters though, risk descending into a dull grind. Many areas become boring, with repetitive level design and identikit creatures which aren't helped at all by the copy-and-paste elite "powers" that some of the enemies have, such as the ability to spit acid pools or lock you in place for several seconds.

"Bosses" don't fare any better either. Each act is usually bookended by a bigger fight, but the process entails the same actions as usually. Many of these encounters simply take place in a bigger arena than usual but your strategy will typically remain the same; mashing away with a button or two along with judicious use of the evade stick. Overall, given the sameness of pretty much every scrap, it kills the game's pacing, making every quest feel like an endless trudge rather than a chance to get excited.

There's plenty of customisation to be had, the problem is, once you've settled on a formula, there's little reason to experiment.
There's plenty of customisation to be had, the problem is, once you've settled on a formula, there's little reason to experiment.
The Crusader was added along with the expansion, as a class it relies on tanking and absorbing damage in order to power its moves.
The Crusader was added along with the expansion, as a class it relies on tanking and absorbing damage in order to power its moves.

Likewise, whilst the rune system is in one sense a great idea, allowing players the ability to experiment with different builds without committing to any particular one due to stat allocations, it also leads to some rather bland, simplistic gameplay; once you've "solved" your build deciding what works the best, there's very little room for experimenting or altering your set-up.

This leaves picking up new loot as one of the sole reasons to continue, the game quickly descending into little more than a fancy roulette table as you wait for the next mental rush from the game's randomness. Here again some of the game's design choices cause loot and new equipment to quickly become bland. Weapons and armour are tied to one specific stat, which varies depending on your class; Barbarians require strength, for example, whilst Witch Doctors and Wizards need intelligence. Since class effectiveness is so closely tied to one stat it reduces the vast majority of your character's loot to nothing more than junk. There's very little creativity to be had when improving your characters equipment given that cold, hard maths will usually dictate which is the best weapon or piece of armour. Altogether it makes the process feel rather soulless.

Diablo 3 is the kind of game that appeals to a specific kind of player. If you're someone that enjoys the thrill of randomness, or perhaps enjoys the warm glow of a fruit machine, then Diablo 3's wheel of fortune might appeal to you. For those that actually want a degree of strategy to their dungeon crawlers however, then you're perhaps best looking elsewhere, you're not likely to find it here.

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition was released for Xbox One, 360, PS4 and PS3 on August 19th.

This review is based on the PS4 version.

© 2014 LudoLogic

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    • LudoLogic profile image
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      LudoLogic 3 years ago

      @SlydeDraco: I see where you're coming from, and I do agree that Blizzard have improved things with the expansion, and there's now some added variety to the whole game. I will have to go on the hunt for some more purple unicorns when I get the chance.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • SlydeDraco profile image

      Sean K. Lueck 3 years ago from Kanata, ON

      Good review, LudoLogic. I have to disagree with some points, though. While there's a basic tendency to find a build and stick to it, it is by no means the only option available. I have been experimenting with various skill combinations, and sometimes a chance legendary's bonus stats will make you adjust the skills you use. And while the story mode can get boring after a while (I did all 4 original difficulties for 3 characters on PC, and for 4 on console, but only 3 for the other 3 characters = 37 plays through the story!!!!), the new adventure mode and Nephalem Rifts remove that boredom once you have completed the story once. I ran into a level in a Nephalem Rift, recently, that was full of Treasure Goblins and purple unicorns. I couldn't decide on a single goblin to attack, kept going after different ones, and only managed to get the loot from one of the 15 or so my buddy and I saw. Definitely a different feel to the game down there...

      On top of that, teaming up with other players adds many elements, including teamwork, working out a good combination of skills that you can use together, getting stronger and taking on more powerful difficulties. You're right that the play is not deep, strategically, and it is hack, slash and mash for a lot of the time, but you can get a little more out of it than just button-mashing and watching stuff die for the roulette wheel of loot.

      Anyway, nice review, voted up as interesting.

      Cheers!

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Brill review, LudoLogic! I've been tempted to try the console version of D3 as my laptop isn't strong enough to run it all that well, but when it comes to reviewing it I've been completely clueless in how to word it. Yours however has given me some ideas, so should I get this game in the near future (doubtful as October will keep me busy!), I'll have to come back here for inspiration!

      Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting as always!