Last year in May, after a decade of waiting, fans finally got to play Diablo III. Well, eventually they did – after staring at Error 37 screens and dealing with broken servers because of inadequate planning Blizzard’s part, forcing people to play their single player games online. And for a while, those people were happy.
But then, REAL Money auction houses, Gold Auction houses, a delayed multiplayer component and a miserable end-game made just about everyone realise that Diablo III just wasn’t as good or engaging as its predecessors. And now it’s coming to consoles, with nearly all of those issues removed. It’s not a port, says Blizzard – because “port” is one of those dirty, four letter words. Instead, it’s been built from the ground up to take advantage of consoles’ strengths.
There are a number of changes to Diablo III – and they make me believe that the game could be better on consoles.
The biggest, and most direct change is that players now have direct control over their chosen characters. By using the left thumb-stick, players can make their on-screen death-dealers move as they like, without having to click a single damned thing. Spells and abilities are mapped to the face buttons and triggers of the controller. There’s also a new thing, a dodge-roll, that allows players to get the hell out of the way of enemy attacks, making the whole thing more immediate…and fun.
Everything else has been streamlined and simplified to make it an experience better suited to playing from the couch. Gone is the inventory grid, replaced with a radial dial that allows equipment and inventory to be switched out quickly and easily – but you don’t even have to use it, if you’re the lazy sort. The d-pad allows you to scroll through and equip newly acquired gear and loot on-the-fly without having to see a single menu at all.
Best of all, is that the console versions feature up to four player local co-op – so you can play the game with friends in any combination of on-line or local. you could, say, have one lonely bastard playing with 3 friends at another mate’s place; 4 people all playing the same game from the comfort of their respective couches or whichever other combination suits your fancy.
The game won’t require any sort of authentication through Battle.net or any other service (save for the respective online services of each platform if you play online), meaning you can actually play the whole thing offline.
There’s no real new content for the console versions, so if you’ve already had your fill of the game there’s no real reason to pick it up – but if you’ve not yet travelled new Tristram, you might want to pick it up on Xbox 360 or PS3 when it becomes available for those platforms in September. It’ll also be hitting the PS4 at some point, if you think you can wait that long.