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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition Review


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On 11/21/2014 at 02:13 PM by Julian Titus

Loot lust: the 8th deadly sin.
RECOMMENDATION:

Totally worth a second purchase if you already got it on PC. If you missed out the first time, this is one of the greatest games I've played in years.

When Diablo 3 came out for the PC in 2011, I don’t think I really understood what it was. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it. It was the first game I awarded five stars to at PixlBit and it went on to become my game of the year. With all of that said, I treated it like every other one of my games: I played it, enjoyed it, and moved on to the next thing. It wasn’t until I plunged back in with the PlayStation 4 “Ultimate Evil” edition that I finally let Diablo get its claws into me, and now I’m trapped.

Even though the game has changed a lot since the original PC release, all of the praise that I heaped on Blizzard’s dungeon crawler is still applicable. Diablo 3 on console is just as fun and satisfying as ever, thanks to that lovingly executed fine-tuning Blizzard is known for. The core loop of slaying all manner of gruesome beasties, leveling up, and finding shiny new gear is ever present, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Of course, the biggest difference in this version of the game from the one I reviewed in 2011 comes in the form of that comfy PS4 controller. PC elitists may balk at this, but I feel that this is truly the way to play Diablo 3. Movement was never as precise as I would have liked with a mouse, and the simple ability to point an analog stick in exactly the direction I want my warrior to move is a little piece of the High Heavens. With six abilities that map nicely to the face buttons and triggers, every move is a snap to unleash without the threat of carpal tunnel breathing down my neck. Er, wrist.

In most aspects, Diablo 3 has been brought to console in an elegant manner. The menus have been completely redesigned, and I appreciated the handy radial selections for weapons and armor, both in the equip screen and all the shops and crafting spots. Comparing new gear is streamlined thanks to a Borderlands-esque use of green and red arrows to signify just how much better or worse an item is at a glance. In a brilliant move it is possible to immediately set unwanted equipment as junk in order to sell it all off with the push of a button in town.

Less elegant is the handling of items and crafting components, especially when it comes to managing the gems used to augment socketed gear. The items take a little bit of digging around to find, and learning a new crafting recipe or messing with gem combinations is oftentimes more cumbersome than it’s worth. If this was a port of the original Diablo 3 I might have had a bigger axe to grind about this choice, but with the redesigned “Loot 2.0” system there comes a point where gems fall by the wayside.

Ah, the loot! With the abolishment of the auction house system (and with it the “always online” requirement) I have found a much more robust selection of gear. Somehow Diablo 3 always manages to find that “sweet spot”; I would never be holding on to a weapon so long that I got bored, but I also wasn’t changing major gear every level or two. This is quite a tightrope to walk, as the gear you find needs to feel special and useful, but at the same time the desire to get bigger, better, and badder is the center of the compulsion that has kept this disc spinning in my PS4 for almost a hundred hours so far.

As someone who has been known to buy a game on launch day and have it finished in a week or two before putting it down forever, the fact that I played Diablo 3 to completion twice before writing this review should say volumes. Although I had dabbled with the other character classes before, I had really only played the barbarian, and I was pleased to see just how different the characters play and control. The new class from the included Reaper of Souls expansion—the crusader—is a powerhouse of a tank that eventually has so much armor that only the baddest of demons can damage him. Conversely, the demon hunter that I used for my hardcore game (one life is all you get!) was always a tense dance with the devil that required me to be mindful of my surroundings at all times.  The more I played the more I learned, and the more I learned the more I wanted to play. The past month my life has been very much “eat, sleep, Diablo 3, repeat”, which is one of the highest commendations I can give a game.

Naturally, on my fourth time through the story I began to get just a little tired of the core game. The story of Diablo 3 is passable at its very best, and quite laughable at its worst, so I could only take so much of Deckard Cain’s blathering. Fortunately, Adventure Mode unlocks after completing all five acts of the story. This strips out most of the story bits and provides a great outlet for grinding levels and loot in the form of bounties. Complete five bounties in an act and there’s a huge XP bonus, and usually enough items to open up the new Nephalem Rifts.  These are basically tough areas comprised of randomly generated levels from the entire game, which is delightfully jarring once you’ve seen enough of the story mode.

I could go on and on about how much I love this game, but to be perfectly honest, I’d really like to stop writing about Diablo 3 so I can go play some more Diablo 3. I still need to get to level 70 in hardcore mode and try out the other three classes and get access to Whimseyshire and find that Last of Us rift and…

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

11/21/2014 at 06:54 PM

5 stars, eh? Looks like Diablo III is muy bueno!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

11/21/2014 at 08:52 PM

It's my third 5 star review at PixlBit, the other two being Diablo 3 vanilla and Fire Emblem: Awakening. So yeah, grab that and don't let go!

TheMart22

11/21/2014 at 10:30 PM

I managed to get my Hardcore Crusader to level 70 earlier this month and it's difficult to describe how satisfying that was. I'm currently on my third character (Witch Doctor on Expert) and I'm most definitely hooked. I'm totally with you in that Diablo 3 has most certainly dug its claws into me. I'm in for the long haul and going for that platinum Smile 

 

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is absolutely my favorite game on the PS4 and no doubt my GOTY.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

11/22/2014 at 01:04 PM

Wow, congrats! I'm also on the platinum trophy hunt. It will probably take me a couple years, because leveling all 6 classes to 70 is daunting, but I will do it.

I'll have to ask Nick about our GOTY criteria. I'm torn, because I feel like it could be my game of the year, but it's also a re-release, which kind of disqualifies it in my eyes. With it out of the picture, it's currently a tie between Shadow of Mordor and South Park: Stick of Truth.

mothman

11/22/2014 at 07:39 PM

I bought the vanilla version on PSN and I've played a few hours and definitely enjoy it a lot. I'm pissed that I can't buy an inexpensive upgrade to this version and am forced to buy it again for 45 bucks. Not gonna do it. Not only paying for the new version but losing all my progress and the money I paid for the original. 

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