Wallet Crusaders: Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition

Diablo 3 released on PC in the United States on May 15, 2012. Since then, the game has seen many iterations, including current gen console versions and updates to those releases to try to bring them up to speed. This review will be solely on the current-gen home console versions, as the previous-gen versions do not even hit 1920×1080 resolution, and do not feature things such as the Nephalem Rifts, Greater Rifts, Legendary Gems, and the Vault. The PC version will also not be exclusively covered, as the graphical benefits to playing on a PC are assumed, and because the PC version is naturally favored by Blizzard. That being said, there will be references to it throughout the article, for the sake of comparison, and to be able to explain the direction of the current-gen releases.

For clarity, the base game was initially released first on PC, with the PS3/Xbox 360 versions released over a year later, and the PS4/Xbox One versions (Ultimate Evil Edition or UEE) following almost two years after the release of the first home console versions.

The base game for last-gen home consoles falls into our Wallet Crusaders category but considering Blizzard continues to update and support the game for current-gen consoles, a price drop to $20 for even a used copy of the game is unlikely in the near future. We at Super Game Reviews felt that this was the best way to classify the game, as it is not a new title but it is also not too old to be abandoned by the developer.

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System(s): PS4/Xbox One

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Price: $25-$40

Publish Date: August 19, 2014 (UEE)


The
Gameplay:

UEE is pretty accessible to people new to the franchise while being deep enough to keep old and new players alike playing long after the story has been completed. It is a standard dungeon crawler in which the character that you choose uses abilities and spells to fight enemies; in this case, those enemies are demon spawn or area specific. There are 6 classes to choose from: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Monk, and Crusader. There is also the choice to make the character male or female. Here the player can choose to play a normal character or a hardcore character. Choose wisely! When a character dies in normal, you can respawn. In hardcore, that character dies permanently. Each character chosen is then saved (as is the progress), so it’s possible to have multiple characters, depending on which play style the player likes or just out of curiosity. The player gains experience, gold, and maintains armor, jewelry, and weapons, while also upgrading abilities. As the game progresses, weapon/armor/jewelry crafting becomes available as does the ability to enchant those items, or the chance to manipulate stats on those items.

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Items can be obtained through several different means. Items (weapons, armor, and jewelry) come in different rarities and are designated by the color of the lettering, and the backdrop color on the item: Junk (gray), Normal (white), Magical (blue), Set (green), Rare (yellow), and Legendary (orange). Item drops can occur when an enemy is killed, and RNG (random number generation) is used to determine the rarity of that item. Items that aren’t Junk or Normal, have added effects added to them; ie stats or bonuses to abilities. Most weapons/armor/jewelry that have magical properties can also have sockets, which are used to set Jewels in (not to be confused with jewelry). These jewels can increase base stats of the character as long as they are socketed into an item.The player also has access to a stash, to hold extra items since the inventory is limited. The stash can be upgraded with gold.

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The console versions bring a massive list of features and quality of life improvements that differ from PC. Most notably a redesigned HUD that doesn’t cover a lot of the screen, a dodge feature and the ability to play the story in offline mode. Old saves can also be imported from last-gen consoles. While this is great for keeping characters and items from say, a PS3, it’s not great because PS3 game save data was easily manipulated, and that causes people in UEE on current-gen consoles to be able to have modded items.

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The Single Player:

The story mode is broken down into acts. Within those acts are chapters, and within those chapters are areas and dungeons.Each act also contains a Town, where no enemies will be. The base game contained four acts, with the DLC Reaper of Souls adding a fifth. They are referred to as Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV, and Act V.

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The game opens with a falling star crashing to the Earth, and the character being curious as to what it is. The motivation for finding the star changes with each character type. After reaching the town in Act I, the player meets Leah, and she explains that her uncle Deckard Cain went into the cathedral nearby when the star fell into it. She asks you to go get him. After finding Cain, he explains that according to ancient scripture, you are a Nephalem, the offspring of an Angel and a Demon, long thought to have been extinct. After then saving the town from an immediate threat, the Nephalem and Leah discover that the fallen star is actually an Angel who was cast out of heaven. It is revealed that the Angel chose to join the humans to attempt to save them from the Demons currently holding dominion over the realm. They would need the Black Soulstone to trap the Demons (known as the Prime and Lesser Evils) into the stone with Diablo, who not only was trapped in the stone already but is also a Prime Evil. This is ultimately the objective of the entire story.

The conclusion of the storyline is fantastic. The only problem with it is that to fully comprehend the story, you must fully comprehend the previous games’ stories as well. Even having played these games, I had a hard time understanding it fully until after a couple of playthroughs.

Post-game content is plentiful. Difficulties are opened based on character level, and once at max level, Torment is unlocked, along with it’s higher modes (Torment 1-13). Playing on higher difficulties increases gold and experience gain, but increases the difficulty in enemies. Playing on Torment and above also allows for Legendary and Set pieces to have a chance to drop with a border called Ancient. The stats are usually higher and effect slots are usually added while retaining the rarity of the item. An all new mode called Adventure Mode strips the story and adds bounties for the character to do for NPCs and various crafting items for Legendary equipment. Adventure Mode also includes a feature called the Nephalem Rifts. While in the Rift the player has to kill enough enemies and collect orbs dropped by them to summon and defeat a Rift Guardian. The Rifts are broken into two categories: Normal and Greater Rifts. Greater Rifts give the chance to have Legendary Gems drop (gems that give unique properties instead of flat stats), and upon killing the Rift Guardian, a spirit allows you three chances to upgrade any Legendary Gem you have. Spending gold to empower a Rift gives the player a chance to get an extra gem upgrade upon finishing the Rift. Rift difficulties go much higher than the games’ Torment XIII. The highest difficulty in the Rifts is 150. The highest normal base difficulty sits at around Rift 64, when playing solo, for reference.

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A slightly watered down version of the Horadric Cube from Diablo 2 also makes an appearance in UEE as Kanai’s Cube.

The Multiplayer:

The multiplayer in UEE is integrated within the core experience. The player can choose to play solo (LAN), set to invite only, friends only, or open to the public. Players join the game (up to four) and can assist in completing the story, Rifts, or bounties in Adventure mode. When they leave, they just leave. It almost feels seamless and isn’t a huge hassle to get some friends in your game. But when playing with multiplayer active the game compensates by making enemies stronger, per ally joined. The game feels as if it takes on new life when playing with other people. Whether it be with friends or strangers, running through the game (especially post-game content) with other people helps with understanding everything about the deep experience, and is really refreshing.

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Lastly, UEE gives the player the choice of having one of three followers join your party to help you. The followers can be equipped with some items, and they also have abilities suited to their, and the player’s, playstyle. While this is suitable for the core storyline while playing solo, the followers feel almost useless when playing at higher difficulties, if for anything but their abilities to slightly give the player an advantage.

 Final Thoughts:

Ditching pixellated sprites in favor of 3D models, Diablo 3 a big departure from the previous games. While not starting off on the strongest of footing, the ongoing support, patches, and content keep the game feeling fresh, especially in its’ current form on current-gen consoles. For example, the 20th anniversary of Diablo 1 just happened, and to celebrate, the entire game was added into Diablo 3. Pixels and all. The Necromancer class is also soon to be made available in the game. With the addition of seasons also coming soon to the console versions, any residual modding will be eradicated, since seasonal characters do not allow anything to be imported, and because the last-gen consoles will not support seasons. But still with all of that said, it feels like a good console game, but it doesn’t feel like you’re getting the same experience you would expect on PC. It’s almost like there is something missing. Whether it’s the minimalist HUD, the lack of clicking around to walk, something just feels lacking in the experience.

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Regardless, this game is a great way to just unwind and relax or a great way to go all-in. It has something for everyone. Hopefully, with time, it will continue to get even better, especially with the 20th anniversary for Diablo 2 coming up around the bend.

Pros

  • Easy to pick up
  • Great story
  • Helpful and nice community
  • Loads of content
  • No set style of play and uncountable build options

Cons – 

  • Visuals aren’t as good as PC
  • Modded items are still around
  • Missing that Diablo feel

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Graphics – 10/15

  • The initial game released in 2012, and it’s age is beginning to show. This being said, the game still holds up, especially the cutscenes.

Sound – 10/15

  • Most of the soundtrack is really hit or miss. In most instances, it’s not an aspect of the game that is focused on. But the songs that play in the areas that the player frequents, like the Town, are perfectly fit the ambiance set by the style of the game. Also, the demon/monster sound effects ar pretty good.

Gameplay – 15/25

  • While the game feels optimized for consoles, with the addition of dodging and so forth, the lack of point and click movement makes it feel less like a Diablo game, and more like a game trying to be like Diablo. Regardless, the controls feel fluid and it is a solid dungeon crawler on consoles. Initially, the game locks abilities to specific button inputs, but the player can assign any ability to any button they wish by checking an option in the options screen. The camera being locked in place and lack of dancing/emotes is a real shame, though.

Replayability – 15/15

  • The game pretty much allows the player to keep playing the story if they wish, or just dive right into Adventure mode right after beating the game. Since there is no real ending to the game (not counting the story), one could theoretically play this game forever, given the servers are still supported in the distant future.

Fun Factor – 20/30

  • On its own, Diablo 3 is pretty fun. Just like with any game, once it turns into just straight up resource farming or Paragon grinding, it can lose its shimmer. UEE‘s saving grace is in the multiplayer, which completely cures any feeling of boredom or monotony. Because everyone knows resource grinding is much better with friends who are doing the exact same thing.

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Final Judgement – 70%

Diablo is a kind of a niche market. While the games have been wildly successful over the past 20 years, it doesn’t cater to the average gamer. Well, that was until this installment. As a game, it is fine. As a Diablo game? It feels almost like the entire project was built with consoles in mind, and while the console version holds up in its own right, I couldn’t help but feel alienated while playing it. It’s just not the same. So, if you are a Diablo fan and somehow haven’t played the third installment yet, I would suggest sticking to PC. If you’re a console gamer, or if you aren’t a hardcore Diablo fan and want to play a game that will soak up A LOT of your time, this is the game for you.

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