Although I really enjoy Diablo 3, I must admit that I have a particular bias towards the PC version, simply because of my preference for playing action RPGs with a mouse and keyboard. I play it almost exclusively multiplayer, however, and have thought at times that the experience could benefit from some couch co-op once in a while.
At E3 earlier this month, Blizzard gave us a chance to check out the PS4 version of the game, which is named simply Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition and contains all content and updates from the original campaign and the Reaper of Souls expansion. In our preview, I got a good feeling for how the game plays with a controller, and received some great details about new features coming to the updated edition.
The Blizzard team has clearly put a lot of effort into optimizing the UI and inventory management experience for consoles. There are a lot of ease-of-use features that are fairly intuitive, like pressing up on the d-pad to access your recent loot and the ability to junk or equip them with the click of a button. All of your loot is already marked for your character as you tear through the unholy denizens of darkness, so all you have to do during your bloodthirsty co-op rage is run around the battlefield and press X (rather than having to sift through all the loot and decide what belongs to whom). You can also click on the right thumbstick to see your designated player color, which, neatly, matches the light on the PS4 controller, in case you’re confused by the number of characters embroiled in the on-screen carnage.
Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition also comes with a handful of multiplayer features that aim to foster the game’s ever-growing community. Blizzard will be adding a mailbox and making fewer items account-bound, while also implementing an Apprentice system so that you can rampage alongside different-level players. There’s a new Gift system where mobs will drop gifts marked for your friends that you can send over, and that they can then open upon login and be rewarded with a rare or legendary item. Additionally, there’s the Nemesis system, which I plan to use endlessly to troll my friends. Quite simply, if a mob kills your character in your game, it’ll head to one of your friend’s games and give them the opportunity to show the world who’s the real boss. I’m not sure if I heard this correctly, but I think if that mob is defeated, your friend will earn a special title and bragging rights over their chump mate (you).
Note that a lot of these changes will not affect the existing console versions - at least not when the Ultimate Evil Edition launches on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360 on August 19 of this year. That means you’ll have to buy new versions of the game for your consoles, and if you’re playing on PC like me, you’ll have to wait for such a time when Blizzard decides that they want to implement these new features. You can, however, migrate your saves from the PS3 to PS4 or Xbox 360 to Xbox One.
I definitely enjoyed playing Diablo 3 on the PS4 in our preview, and liked the way the game felt when using a controller. It was also neat to hear that the PS4 and PS3 versions will be receiving an exclusive Nephalem Rift inspired by The Last of Us. Would I rather play it on consoles than what I’m used to, on PC? Probably not. But it’s nice to have the option, and another reason I’m rationalizing my upcoming purchase of a PS4.
Som Pourfarzaneh / Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.