It feels weird to say it, but I think the most recent release of Diablo 3, The Ultimate Evil Edition, to PS4 and Xbox One just might be the best version of the game out there. Not only does it come with all of the content and improvements the PC version has already seen, but there are a load of cool console-only features to boot. Oh, and what’s best? You don’t have to experience any of it online. You can play the whole thing disconnected from Battle.Net, the Internet, and still play alongside three of your friends from your couch. That alone makes this the defacto edition of Diablo 3.
Now, if you’ve already logged a hundred plus hours in the PC edition, The Ultimate Evil Edition might not be a must buy for you. You can’t transfer your save files from the PC to the consoles, so you’re essentially starting from scratch. But if you’re picking up TUEE for your PS4 or Xbone, and you already had D3 on the PS3 or Xbox? Well, you can export your save and pick right up where you left off on the newer consoles. That’s a handy thing, and I wish I’d thought of it before trading in my PS3.
Still, I’ve never really explored the Crusader since Reaper of Souls launched, so the PS4 edition provided to me by Blizzard was a perfect time to do so. If you’ve played the console version of D3 before, the controls will be immediately familiar. X is your main attack, while other are assigned to the face keys, triggers, and so forth. It’s hard to deny that playing Diablo feels good on a controller, even for a PC devout player, because it’s just not as hard on your wrist and click finger. Plus, you get a handy dodge roll that makes playing on Expert Hardcore when starting out a bit easier to stomach.
The inventory and many layers of menus are also surprisingly adept, using radial windows to categorize your weapons and armor, and side by side comparisons with up and down arrows illustrating the pluses and minuses of equipping new gear. This is a pretty nice feature if you’re on the go and want to just equip the new shiny thing you looted, and figure you’ll look at it later. The game lets new loot be scrolled through with the up and down on the D-Pad and equipped with the press of a button. A “quick equip and compare” would be a welcome addition to the PC version too, in some cases.
There are several key additions to the Ultimate Evil Edition that I think pushes the newest console version ahead of the PC classic, the already significant offline coop notwithstanding: the Apprentice Mode, the In-Game Mail, and the Nemesis System. Apprentice mode allows lower level players to be boosted up to higher level players, like a reverse mentoring system. Freaking awesome for power leveling friends and/or just playing a new character with someone higher than you. The in-game mail lets you send gifts to and from friends, the ideal replacement for the horrid Auction House.
And lastly, the Nemesis System will send monsters that defeat you into your friend’s list and their games to hunt them down. You’ll know where the monster came from via the nameplate, and can thank your friend later with nice hatemail. And one last cool feature is being able to export your characters to a USB and bring them over to your friend’s house, if you know… you actually want to see your friends while you game. It’s an old-school notion, but something that once made D1 and D2 so amazing: local co-op.
In all, Diablo 3: The Ultimate Evil Edition is a great game, even if you’ve already played it to death on other systems. If you’ve got a lot of work put into the PC edition, I’d only suggest buying it if you’re a hardcore fan who wants the best possible console edition too. If you’ve been playing it on the PS3 or the Xbox 360 and still can’t get enough, it’s worth a grab since you can transfer your saves. And if you’ve never played D3 or any Diablo game before? Well, you should just go buy the damn thing now. Thank me later.