Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition ReviewAugust 29, 2014
Diablo 3 has undergone a lot of changes since it was first released in 2012. Dozens of patches balanced the game, removed the Auction House, and added new features before the first full expansion, Reaper of Souls, was brought to market earlier this year. Now consoles are getting Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, which includes all of the content from Diablo 3 as well as updates and features from Reaper of Souls – such as Adventure Mode, the all-new Crusader class, Act V, a level 70 cap, and more.
Upon booting up Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, I was immediately surprised by how well the gameplay translates to a controller. I reviewed the original release of Diablo 3 on PC, and I have to say I actually prefer this input method over using a mouse and keyboard – this speaks to just how well Blizzard optimized the game for consoles. Everything from menu navigation to ranged combat feels fluid and intuitive in this new version. Thankfully, Blizzard has made importing your character from last-gen pretty painless, so players won’t need to wade through hours of content they’ve likely played many times over by now before accessing the new stuff.
The game’s art style is quite beautiful – it looks like a digital painting, or concept art come to life. Each of the acts takes place in a completely different environment, with Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition starting out in a dreary, zombie infested, gothic town. Beyond that, the character design is flawless, and the variety of enemies is downright staggering. And they’re not only cosmetic changes – every opponent has a different attack pattern and A.I. behavior, which will keep you on your toes when you’re presented with an onslaught of all manner of hell-beasts.
While last-gen consoles had to make some visual compromises to run the game at a respectable framerate, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition runs at a sharp 1080p resolution and a smooth 60 FPS on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Overall, it’s pretty much on par with the PC version, though some of the effects aren’t quite on the level of what you would see with the game’s graphics maxed out on a high-end PC. Still, it’s a massive upgrade from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.
There’s a very addictive and satisfying nature to Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition’s gameplay. Finding and purchasing new weapons and armor is exciting. Just like in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, new armor shows up on your character’s model. There’s a great sense of progression to the game, and after each mission you feel much more powerful than you did when you began it. When you level up, you gain access to a new skill, which fits into a slot- you’ll gain more of these as you go along. Skills can be mixed and matched as you see fit, and almost always provide interesting results; allowing players to change skills regularly keeps the gameplay fresh and fun. Beyond that, there’s runes, which allow you to modify the skills even further. With all of these things combined, gaining a level usually feels like a substantial accomplishment.
There are some interesting new social features in Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition as well. The Nemesis system allows monsters that have slayed players on your friends list to come into your game, giving you the chance to avenge them. Player Mail and Player Gift allow the sharing of treasures among friends. None of these alter the game in any significant way, but they’re neat little additions that longtime players will appreciate. Perhaps the most welcome addition is the ability to play 4-player couch co-op by simply hooking up multiple controllers to the same system. PlayStation 4 gamers also gain access to an exclusive area where you battle enemies from The Last of Us, as well as exclusive Shadow of the Colossus-themed armor. While Ultimate Evil Edition is available on PS3 and Xbox 360, it looks significantly better on next-gen. If you own a PlayStation 4, it’s the best version to own, with the best graphics available on console and some cool exclusive content.
With each updated version of Diablo 3, the game has only gotten better and more refined. If you’ve been itching to give the game a try but aren’t a fan of keyboard and mouse gameplay, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is just what you’re looking for. Featuring intuitive analog controls, an updated loot system, new social features, and all of the content from Reaper of Souls, this is the definitive console edition of the game.
- + Lots of new content
- + Interesting social features
- + Substantial visual upgrade over last-gen