Diablo 3: heaven or hell on consoles?

By Dave Cook, Thursday, 29 August 2013 09:36 GMT

Diablo 3 reviews are lifting all over the shop, so as per normal VG247’s Dave Cook has jotted down his thoughts in article format. Does the game work on consoles? Proceed on to find out.

Want our Diablo 3 review round-up? Go here.

I’ve not finished Diablo 3 on Xbox 360 yet. It requires a lot grinding, exploration and time, plus there was that little event called gamescom taking up most of my life. With the taste of sausages and beer out of my mouth – and my colon – I was able to spend some quality time with the game, barrel through its first act and write down some short impressions for you here.

Here’s what I thought.

I can safely say that if you liked wading into packs of enemies across big maps in search of randomly-placed loot in previous Diablo games, then you’ll really enjoy what the new game has to offer. It’s big, challenging and brimming with coin just waiting to be hoovered up by your hero. That – for me – is infectious and I really do get into this hypnotic state where I just have to pick up everything shiny within an area before moving on to the next. Do I need help? Be honest.

On the console front the game has transitioned well, with a simple ‘hold A to keep on attacking’ system that compensates for the lack of mouse click. It’s easier on your digits that’s for sure. Being a chiselled adonis myself (HAH!) I went with the Barbarian class and played dual wield, which is probably what I do in every RPG come to think of it. There’s a real chunky feel to the combat that is highlighted by this class and he becomes an utter tank as he levels up a bit.

”I think the best thing for me, personally, is that Diablo 3 has an old-school vibe that takes me back to the days of Windows 98, shitty 56k modems screeching in my ear and the early days of the interweb before it turned into a verbal Royal Rumble.”

You can stroll into a swam of 30 enemies and just start tearing through them with the area-of-effect move Cleave, which also casts a bleed effect on all enemies nearby. Seeing them all just explode after a few seconds in a bloody mess is satisfying, and underlines Diablo 3’s dark tone. It’s a depressing game to begin with, as the town of New Tristram is under seige from the undead horde, and you even have to help a man mercy-kill his wife after she’s been bitten by a zombie. The piles of burning corpses on a hay-cart is also uplifting to see.

Nah really it’s dark, capturing the same downtrodden vibe as previous titles, and fears that the colour palette has gone a bit ‘World of Warcraft’ are just mad because this is still a Diablo game at heart. The follower system is also great fun, in which you enlist and level up your very own ward. You’ll first encounter the Templar who can dish out punishment on foes as well as healing your hero in a pickle.

In fact, many NPCs can be levelled up, and that includes your local blacksmith and jeweller. With the blacksmith you can pay coin to train him up in the art of forging, which gives rise to new recipes. You can also break down certain items into scrap that can be used to make stronger and more effective items. It’s a fun system, even if gold is quite scarce to begin with.

You’ll find that as you level up loot drops become more common – again, as with the first two games – and before long you’ll have a decent bank balance to spend on upgrading your load-out. My problem was that I wanted to level up the blacksmith too early and get all his good stuff to begin with, when I should have been spending that loot on potions and my own progression, but hey, I’m the impatient type.

I’m currently playing on hard mode so I’ve been dying a lot. As we were advised against playing online ahead of release, I’ve tackled every quest solo. Unlike Diablo 2, where you had to collect your corpse after every death, you can resurrect at your body in most areas in Act One. I’m not sure if this extends to the whole game yet, but it certainly helped. The caveat is that you can’t resurrect in boss areas and must start the encounters from scratch, so it encourages levelling. Your load-out durability also goes down 10% with each death once you hit a certain level, so failure is not without penalty.

So while I’m playing alone I can blatantly see that this game will be a riot with friends. It just will be. Put it this way: if you want an RPG that is challenging, tough, addictive and fun to play then you should absolutely give Diablo 3 a shot. Fans of Skyrim’s sheer scale and first-person perspective may yearn to get a more ‘boots on the ground’ view on Blizzard’s world, but that’s a matter of personal taste.

I think the best thing for me, personally, is that Diablo 3 has an old-school vibe that takes me back to the days of Windows 98, shitty 56k modems screeching in my ear and the early days of the interweb before it turned into a verbal Royal Rumble.

If that sounds like you then yeah, get this game for sure.

Diablo 3 is out on PS3 and Xbox 360 September 3.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.