Diablo III is a game that needs absolutely no introduction. The fact that you’re even watching this video means you’ve probably at least heard of the franchise, if not already played one of its lauded installments on the PC. For the uninitiated few, Diablo 3 is an isometric dungeon crawler featuring randomized dungeons and loot stretched across a sprawling fantasy epic. It marks a continued refinement of the franchise’s long-praised loot-grinding gameplay, and is currently the world record holder for fastest selling PC game of all-time. Apparently it’s pretty good.
In ending their 16-year hiatus from console development, Blizzard very clearly paid a lot of attention in making what is usually considered a ‘PC-centric’ style of game work as well (if not better) with a gamepad. Having direct control over your character brings a greater sense of immediacy to your actions — not that the PC version is lacking in excitement — that relying on mouse clicks and the number row on your keyboard just seems to lack. It pushes the game closer to something resembling a character action title like Devil May Cry, rather than a point-and-click action RPG. Spells are conveniently assigned to controller face buttons, and are displayed clearly below your character’s status area, similar to the PC version’s hot bar.
Loot, spells, and vendor activities like crafting and selling are done using easily navigated (if not a little crowded) wheel and tab style menus that recall the equally impressive console port of Torchlight on the Xbox 360. Since the console version of Diablo 3 lacks the precision of mouse-control and must scale to typically larger living room TV displays, these menus understandably take up the entirety of the screen. When playing co-op locally, this presents a minor inconvenience of having to wait for your partners to conduct their business before doing the same, however it does give a nice opportunity to discuss equipment and tactical decisions before you move onto your next objective.
There is no split-screen support, so in local co-op all characters are forced to occupy the same screen. This rarely presents an issue but does give rise to annoying and seemingly arbitrary teleportation of one character to the location of another. Thankfully the game seems a little more forgiving during combat, allowing players to be further apart than they normally would otherwise. Additionally, characters left standing still whilst another moves around the game world, will sort of lazily follow along; allowing gameplay to go uninterrupted due to someone putting the controller down momentarily.
On the Normal and Hard difficulties, the intensity and pace of Diablo 3 is easy enough that playing with less-skilled gamers rarely presents an issue. Managing things such as the Fury, Mana, and Hatred resource pools is easy enough given the large on-screen meters, and verbal cues from the adventurers themselves. While the Barbarian class is probably the easiest to pick up and play due to a focus on survivability and simpler hack-and-slash combat style, Diablo 3 never becomes so demanding on lower difficulties that any one class should prove too much of a challenge, regardless of skill level. Of note is how classes like the Witch Doctor change when going from mouse to gamepad control. You relinquish the ability to exactly target AoE spells like Grasp of the Dead, instead casting it under whichever enemy is currently targeted, but like every other change made for the console release, this rarely presents an issue.
Diablo 3 is the kind of game that gives out as much as you put into it. The story is threadbare and mostly serves to provide context to your actions; otherwise it is rather inconsequential in terms of extracting enjoyment out of the game. The main reason to play comes from the explosive visuals of combat, the constant pursuit of shinier and more powerful gear, and the camaraderie of playing with others. So while the totality of Diablo 3’s nearly endless amount of content might wear thin for non-gamers before you’ve even tackled the Butcher, you’ll have easily gotten several hours’ worth of co-op enjoyment just from the first Chapter alone.
Diablo 3 is currently available as a console release on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and will be released with the forthcoming Reaper of Souls expansion on the PlayStation 4, sometime in 2014.
Diablo 3 - Co-Opinion
- Learning Curve
- Learning Curve
- Player Roles
- Player Roles
- The Game
- The Game:
- Does it Co-Op?
- Does it Co-Op?
While the totality of Diablo 3’s nearly endless amount of content might wear thin for non-gamers before you’ve even tackled the Butcher, you’ll have easily gotten several hours’ worth of co-op enjoyment just from the first Chapter alone.