Despite a troubled launch and some unpopular ideas (always online/real money auction house) Diablo 3 was a huge hit for the PC and I was jealous of all of my PC gaming friends. So, naturally, when I read about the console port I became very excited. That didn't mean I didn't expect failure. You see, Diablo is a PC game, the last time they ported it to consoles (on the PS1) it didn't work out so well so I was curious to see how things would go this time around.
They went bloody brilliantly.
Boasting a redesigned UI, an R3 controlled, God of War style dodge, four player offline or online co-op and, of course, a plethora of trophies/achievements, Diablo 3 feels right at home on consoles and is an excellent experience from start to finish that borders on perfection. Unless you don't like dungeon crawlers, but then, why are you reading this if you don't?
For those who don't know the story of Diablo 3 is that Hell has risen up to destroy the world and you, as either a Barbarian, Monk, Demon Hunter, Sorceress or Witch Doctor, must cast it back into the fiery crevices of ash and mud that it came from. You begin by picking your character, with the barbarian and monk favouring melee and the witch doctor, sorceress and demon hunter favouring ranged attacks. You can name your character and design them a banner which will be displayed behind them on the start screen and in town centres and then you jump in. After a tutorial that lasts about half a minute you arrive at a town (New Tristam) and begin your quest. Your quest will take you down into dingy caves, through lofty cathedrals, across miserable fields and into fights with every type of hell spawn you can imagine, from undead, to trees and the Devil himself. The world and enemy design is superb. Environments are detailed, fairly destructible and never get boring and the enemies, and allies, are varied, detailed and well animated.
The gameplay is exactly what you'd expect. You hack and slash your way through hoards of enemies, unlocking new moves to use and new runes to enhance these moves. Then of course you find tonnes upon tonnes of new equipment, which you must meticulously study to decide what to equip, what to sell, what to give to a blacksmith to salvage and what to stash in your chest in town. As with all dungeon crawlers its the endless quest for better gear that makes the game so addictive. The weapons and armour are all superbly well designed and making your character more badass, both statistically and aesthetically, never gets old.
All of this is made even better when your sharing a couch and screen with up to three friends. Not enough games these days have couch co-op and this game is a great example of why that's such a crime. Offline co-op is an absolute joy and the frame rate and quality hold steady throughout. Sadly I couldn't test the online mode because despite the PSN functioning without issue I couldn't join a game and Blizzard say its Sony's fault rather than their own. Ill update you all with online impressions once/if it's fixed but for now its fair to assume it will be great fun.
Technically the game is great. There are plenty of prettier games but the graphics and art style do their job just fine and the soundtrack is suitably hell-has-risen-ey. As always with Blizzard it's the characters and equipment that stand out and it really does look incredibly awesome when a sickle swinging barbarian charges into a horde of the undead under the cover of a hail of crossbow bolts courtesy or his demon hunter partner.
This game was amazing on PC and if anything it's better on PS3. It's a brilliant experience played solo or in co-op. if you're after a great dungeon crawler or a great co-op game then this is the game for you.
Verdict: Near flawless dungeon crawling married to a fantastic co-op game makes for hours and hours of fun.