Diablo III – Xbox 360: Some innovation, even better adaptation.
Diablo III was released mid-2012 for the PC by one of the giant companies in video games, Blizzard (popular thanks to titles such as Warcraft, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, amongst others). Even before release, developers spoke to the crowd about their dreams and wishes of bringing the Diablo experience to console players. Still, it wasn’t until after the original release date that the official statement announcing the console version was released. Some were confused, others were delighted. After playing it at launch day (August 7th 2013), I have my own opinions on the game.
Before we begin with the actual review, a quick glimpse at the game, for those unfamiliar with the original PC-version of Diablo III, or the Diablo franchise. The game is an RPG, dungeoneer, adventure type of game. You must pick a class for your character (5 in total for Diablo III), level him (or her) up, and equip him (or her) with a range of different armour set pieces and skills specific to your class. You progress through dungeons crawling with hordes of monsters and the occasional boss fight. The game is played through a third-person perspective, which would seem familiar to MOBA fans, and even resembles the camera style of classical RTS games.
Firstly, I would like to state the purpose of this article’s title. Diablo III for the consoles has some innovative elements brought into it. However, this is NOT why it may be considered a good or even a great game. Instead, this title can be given to it, simply because Blizzard was able to accurately transpose a game specifically designed for the PC since the first Diablo game (1996), to the console in a manner that deserves applause.
Gameplay-wise, the game is solid. Blizzard was able to design the game’s controls effectively. It is easy to get used to the new button-designation of your character’s skills. If you are coming from the PC version, the keyboard-to-controller transition might feel a bit clunky at times, but it is only noticeable on the first few hours of the game. Surely, Blizzard deserves a nod of approval in this aspect. Additionally, the new evade feature, which is controlled by the right-stick, has my head scratching as I wonder why the feature was not added to the original game. It adds a great dynamic sense to battles, and mastering it can be just as important to your strategy as any of your skills.
Of course, we cannot forget this: We are talking about Diablo III, not Diablo III-2: Director’s cut version. If you buy the game, looking for more content, you are better off saving that money for the upcoming PC-version expansion. The console version offers virtually the same amount of gameplay hours as the original game (which to be honest, disappointed most players). Its replayability is designed so that a player can experience the game four times, through the four different difficulty levels (Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno). These difficulty levels are only unlocked once you complete the previous level. Unfortunately, they are accurately named, as difficulty levels. They offer no new content to the story, the only change being loot and enemy level. I’m sure that I’m not the only player who would not be bothered to play through the same campaign JUST for the sake of the challenge. Still, for any hardcore gamers out there, it’s nice to have that option.
The game’s visuals are what you could expect from a Blizzard game. That well-defined, signature balance between the cartoonish and realistic. It is darker than say, World of Warcraft. Yet it is still recognizable, and I am perfectly fine with that. Diablo III ran in a surprisingly slick manner on my 360. Minor visual bugs were present, but these were petty and easily forgettable. One thing that only a madman can pass from saying in a Blizzard game are the cutscenes. If these do not make you gawk at your screen, nothing else will. And that is all I have to say about them, because if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you better change tabs and search for a Blizzard cutscene on Youtube right NOW.
The interface has also been cleverly designed to fit in with the console version. The various features in your character’s inventory have been collapsed into sub-menus and such to add some agility to it. It is nothing special, but worth mentioning that Blizzard took the time to modify from the original game’s inventory menus.
The game’s multiplayer servers worked reasonably well. Even with my not-so-decent connection I was able to play online and only disconnect a couple of times at launch day. Lag was an issue, but it was expected, and I seriously doubt it was Blizzard’s fault. The game does offer an option to play on region-locked servers, or override these completely, which is a real perk worth noting.
As said before, this game is made good by the fact that it keeps that Diablo element loved by many. Exclusive console players now have the chance to experience this renowned type of game that has become a classic, and almost spawned a genre of its own. Gamers who also enjoy and prefer the perks of playing on the console rather than the PC will also value this game. But again, expect disappointment if you played the original PC-version and you’re simply looking for new content, because you will NOT find much, sorry.
• Couldn’t be stressed farther – some innovation, and a great adaptation. (+)
• Gameplay feels like a Diablo game. (+)
• Controllers and interface were carefully transposed to the console version. (+)
• New evade mechanics is a great plus to the fighting side of the game. (+)
• Visuals stay true to the Blizzard style. (+)
• Multiplayer servers function well. No more error 37 folks. (+)
• No new content worth noting added. (-)
• Replayability isn’t great unless you seek a challenge that will taste repetitive. (-)