It's time to face Death, again!
The PS4 and Xbox One are playing host to the return of a favourite game of ours, one that's kept us highly entertained on PC, Xbox 360 (and PS3) - Diablo 3. Welcome to the Ultimate Evil Edition of Blizzard's popular action hack-slash rpg-lite and what an edition it is. The Ultimate Evil Edition of the game is based on the PC expansion Reaper of Souls, comes bundled with Diablo 3 and expands on the PC game in ways that are perfectly suited to a console big-tv experience.
Here's our reviews of Diablo 3 console, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls PC:
For those of you new to Diablo 3 in general, who have perhaps thought to pick this up after reading positive reviews of the expansion on PC and Blizzard's continued commitment to revamp the vanilla game with the previous patches, new loot system and Paragon levelling system and so on, you're in for a massive treat because thanks to Blizzard's determination to make this the best possible game they can all the goodies that are possible on PC are now possible on the new-gen of consoles.
Hey, for those of you interested in that kind of thing too: patch support for Xbox One and PS4
Patch notes: Patch 2.1.0
The Vault: Preview of the Vault
Seasons: Preview of Seasons
Anyone who has played Diablo 3 on PC with the revamped loot and levelling systems generally loves it, from Adventure Mode to the Neph Rifts, the game is chock full of loot and more action than ever before. New difficulty modes supersede the old and everything has been changed to feel more intuitive and fun than it was previously.
The only let down then on console is the inventory system, which can be a bit clunky.
Why the UEE then?
So you say, I've played this on console before, I've played it on PC. Why should I get it again?
Reaper of Souls is Act V and the only way you're going to get Act V, the Crusader (kick-ass class) and Adventure Mode (the most amazing thing in Diablo 3) plus all the new goodies is to shell out for Diablo 3 UEE for your console of choice. PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One.
Want the good news?
You can export your save into the cloud, choosing your platform of choice. We'll let Blizzard explain this though, because they do it much better than we could.
Ducking and Diving!
The console version has the game-changing dodge move, dodge helps immensely against area effects like molten and poison for example. Rolling out of the zone of a molten explosion can mean the difference between life or death.
It's not just about the dodge move though: 1080p, 60fps and gorgeously revamped visuals provide another layer of sweetness to the Diablo 3 cake that's already nigh on baked to perfection with Ultimate Evil Edition. Diablo 3 really does look fantastic on PS4 and Xbox One.
Ultimate Evil Edition also fixes a problem with cooperative play that's been dogging the game since day one, the problem that meant a friend could only play with you if they'd got a character of suitable power to match yours. The game would slaughter a low level character travelling through Sanctuary with a 60th level friend (the level cap is now 70 with RoS and UEE), one hit would spell doom and forget even scratching a lowly mook until you'd reached a lot higher level, gained some much better loot.
The console version has the solution in the superb Apprentice Mode. This essentially boosts your companions so they don't feel overshadowed by you, don't get one-shotted by your game's monsters and can dish out enough damage to start kicking ass. Apprentice Mode automatically kicks in if there's a significant power difference between you and them, boosting XP, damage and stats accordingly and kicks out again once they reach a decent level to start to become self-sufficient. The loot flows thick and fast and soon your friends are having fun, taking names and not dying every 2 seconds to a lowly skeleton.
In one word: brilliant!
I was playing through Act V for review, tootling along as you do, slaying with my demon hunter and kicking all kinds of ass thanks to the new loot system and so on. I was around level 67 and heading towards 70 with a big smile on my face. Then the unthinkable happened, I made a mistake and in a Dark Souls style moment of 'uh oh' I died. My demon hunter perished and well, she's not a Hardcore character, so I respawn at my corpse and carry on.
I had forgotten about Nemesis Enemies...
Diablo 3 hadn't forgotten though, and since I was one of the only reviewers with a copy of the game on my friend's list... the game waited a bit...
I'm near the end, Act V is nearly over and...
The screen darkened, ominous music played and a badass enemy popped into my game world through a portal. It was clearly marked that it had killed me, and it was a Nemesis Enemy. It had killed me, looked around my friend's list for a victim, found no one and come back 20m later to kick my ass. I just about killed it (I was playing on Expert) and reaped the rewards!
I can only imagine the kind of fun this is going to cause as Nemesis Enemies pop up all over the place, slaughtering through your friends list, gaining power and hopping from world to world. If someone kills it, everyone who ever fought that enemy will get a reward of some kind. This shows Blizzard's commitment to making a game a lot more fun and a bit more social.
You got Mail!
From time to time you might want to give a gift to a friend, or a Legendary Gift drops in your game for a buddy on your friend's list. Diablo 3 UEE can be nice like that, well, player mail has been implemented and provides a quick, easy, fun way to share gifts around your friend's list even if a buddy isn't online at the time.
Legendary Gifts are new too, you get a sweet Legendary, there's a chance it'll spawn a little present tailored for a friend. You just click on it, hit send and away it goes to a buddy who'll love it, equip it and probably call it George.
Blizzard are no strangers to player mail of course, what with World of Warcraft.
New loot, new Paragon
The loot system has been implemented directly from PC and so has the Paragon levelling system. Get to 70 and the XP you earn from then on accrues into Paragon. Get a Paragon level (and it's quicker now too) and you'll get a point or two to pop into one of 4 categories with sub sections in each. You can tailor your characters like this and it brings a bit more RPG into Diablo 3 too for those of you who love putting stat points into things!
Anyone who reads the Reaper of Souls review I linked earlier will know about this mode, but here's a quick recap. The whole of Act I to V locations are open to you to teleport to at will and explore. There are randomly generated bounties (which give massive XP rewards and great loot) available and each time you restart Adventure Mode, it's all different. If you complete 5 bounties in an area, Tyrael will grant you a Horadric Cache which is packed full of great things like gems, crafting stuff, rift keystone parts and more (if you're lucky).
It's essentially the best post-game content that lets you just go wild and have loads of fun with friends and level solo. The monsters are tougher, the locations are given a different time of day/look and things feel oddly fresh even though you've been through that area 100s of times before. There's always something different.
Got 5 fragments? Open up a Rift and have a monster slaying time beyond a portal that charges you will slaying all the bad guys to power up the rift. Once you power up the rift meter, the guardian will appear, kill it and you'll get epic rewards.
I even played the PS4 version, which has Shadow of the Colossus themed transmogrification for the Mystic and a Last of Us themed Rift. It also does some funky things with the PS4's touchpad and light bar. The differences are pretty cosmetic and between both versions, I found the load times on the One to be slightly better with disc access on the PS4 taking slightly longer. It's only minor stuff, so both versions are just as good as the other.
All that and a bag of chips, fries, jelly babies!
The controls for Diablo 3 UEE are just plain great for console, mapping things onto face buttons, bumpers, triggers and selecting powers is pretty easy. Map rapid fire (demon hunter power) onto the right trigger and you get a demon hunter that feels like she's from a twin-stick shooter, control, precision and power at your fingertips. Throw in up to 3 friends and the 4 of you can have a blast exploring the old and new content Diablo 3 UEE is packed with.
It really is the best time to get into Diablo 3 and the best version so far.
The game is out in one day's time and I put 100s of hours into the 360 version, I haven't stopped playing this one since I got it over a week ago. I've seen a ton of content I've never seen in Diablo 3 before and I've been enjoying the massive levelling that Adventure Mode offers.
Fun, and that's the bottom line. It's FUN.