Diablo might just be what started my path deep into gaming. As a kid we didn’t game much, I wasn’t the typical kid with a NES or Sega Genesis laying around. The gaming we did do was at thew Grandparents house when we visited (they had a Genesis) or playing the original Game Boy at my brother’s sporting events. Not long after we did finally get a decent desktop PC, though, and that’s when we got a copy of the original Diablo. I played around with it some, not really falling too deep into it (and grinding through all those church basement levels) but once Diablo 2 finally came out I got hooked. I didn’t really see myself as a gamer then (by that point we had an N64 but only really played sports games) but looking back I did show all the signs as I dumped hours into Diablo 2 and the expansion. Fast forward a handful of years, now 28 I am deep into gaming and finally getting to go back to my roots with Diablo 3. Yeah, yeah, it came out on PC a while ago, but being able to play on PS4 (and other consoles) has finally pushed me back into the same state I was in however many years ago with Diablo 2. Long story aside, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is a very well done version of the solid Diablo 3 game that came out a while back, and now with DLC!

The Ultimate Evil Edition of Diablo 3 is the main game (that came out on Xbox 360 and PS3 a year ago) packed with the newest “Reaper of Souls” expansion that just hit PC recently. The game has been revamped to work on consoles and works well with a controller overall. Gone is the click-to-move controls of the PC version, replaced with direct character control using the left stick (and a nifty roll move on the right). I never had issue with the controls of Diablo on PC, but playing it with direct control on a console controller really does make the game feel that much better. Torchlight may have spoiled me on that. The only issues I had with control was more based on menu navigation. The inventory UI is a bit clunky to navigate and dumps a bunch of information on you. It’s not terrible by any means, but I do wish the menu systems were a bit more elegant to use with the controller. Overall though, the console version of the game controls very well, and makes “comfy couch” gaming make all that much more sense for the Diablo franchise.

The actual game itself is a lot of fun to playthrough. When you start out you choose a class (I went barbarian primarily), pick a name, and dive right into the story. Diablo’s story has never really been the reason to play that game, and it’s the same here. The story isn’t awful, and you’ll find some cool tidbits about it in finding books laying throughout the world, but some cheesy voice acting (looking at you Deckard) and an overall stereotypical sense of doom and gloom make it more background noise to your monster smashing than anything. The classes all feature different skills and methods of domination. I chose barbarian because to me Diablo is a “smash everything in sight” game more than a “sit back and pop AoE spells or snipe dudes” type of game, but all the classes are fun to play. The difficulty is something you will have to decide on for yourself. I started on normal and within 30 minutes realized I hadn’t even been injured yet, so I bumped it to hard. The game does a good job of making it easy to change difficulties on the fly, so that’s nice. I would suggest most people start on hard though. It gives you a 150% boost to gold and loot, and you still barely take enough damage to lose half a health bar. There are a lot of difficulties, but only three you can use until you beat the game once. It is odd how they are balanced, because normal feels like you can just sleepwalk through the game, which is more what an easy (or very easy) mode should feel like.

This is a Diablo game at heart though, so you’ll spend (once you pick a class and figure out the best difficulty) plenty of time running through areas, tombs, crypts, churches, etc. smashing dudes (and barrels, lots of barrels) and beating bosses. The combat is as satisfying as ever and because of the loot patch the PC version got post-launch the loot rates feel solid enough to keep you wanting to kill just a few more guys to try and complete that set of legendary armor.  If you enjoyed Diablo 1, or more so Diablo 2 you’re going to like 3, you just may notice a few different design decisions (less moves available to use at one time, you get six total). The new Reaper of Souls content is very well done as well, and gives those players who have already beaten the main game a new reason to go back, or to pick up the console version for a new run-through (word of warning, you DO have to beat the main game to play the Reaper of Souls content, though). The new expansion adds more content aside from the story like adventure mode (explore everywhere without creating a new character), Nephalem rifts (random dungeons, the PS4 version has a Last of Us-themed rift), bounties (one-off missions in each act to kill a certain guy or something similar), a new enchanting and transmogrification system, and even places to gamble blood shards. It’s a lot of new content and folks jumping back into Diablo 3 will enjoy it. 

Overall the Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition is one hell (no pun intended) of a package for console gamers who never played Diablo 3, and a solid buy for PC gamers who want to try to new expansion and give the game a shot with a controller. Aside from a few UI nitpicks and some voice acting woes the game holds up well, looks and runs great (only a few frame dips on PS4 here and there), and is a blast to plow through (and find tons of loot). There are a TON of games coming out this fall, but I’d advise everyone to grab this if they are looking for something to play before the onslaught hits (and Destiny launches in a few weeks). It’ll give you hours of enjoyable bad guy smashing and loot, and who doesn’t love that?