Micro Review: Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – Utimate Evil Edition – Death Goes Next-Gen
Diablo is the father of all dungeon crawlers and any PC player that has played the franchise knows the addictive nature of the game, so it only makes sense for it to transfer to the consoles. We first got a glimpse of Diablo 3 on the PS3, which came at the tail end of the console’s life cycle. Now we’ve been given Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition and all its goodness for next-gen consoles. Many have asked me if it is worth the purchase of the title and the simple answer is: YES! Read on to find out why.
Ultimate Evil Edition brings you all of the content from Reaper of Souls, which includes all of Act V and the Mystic, changing the complexion of acquiring gear. The Mystic allows you to change the appearance of your equipped items, so now your character doesn’t have to look like it got dressed in a flea market.
Aside from cosmetic changes the Mystic also lets you enchant items, which allows you to change one stat on the chosen gear — instead of suffering with a stat bonus on gear that doesn’t benefit your character, you can allocate that bonus to a stat you need it for. Also included is the new character class of the Crusader, which plays a lot like a Paladin, but brings a new look and style to the game and helping it feel fresh.
Also new to this version is what Blizzard calls Loot 2.0. In a nut shell loot now makes sense for everyone playing because it is geared specifically for the type of character you are playing. For example, if you choose to role a Demon Hunter and spend hours going through dungeons, expect to find 90 percent of the items you come across to be for your specific class; once in a while you may receive a rogue item but it’s a rare occurrence. This really makes playing gratifying as you are never accumulating useless gear — you’ll find yourself constantly changing equipment as you play and gain levels.
Once you finish Act V you are given the option to enter Adventure Mode — here you can venture to all parts of the maps (simply by clicking on the map) and change difficulties on the fly. I played a ton of Diablo 3 on the PS3 and one thing that made that game a grind was the inability to skip difficulties without having to beat the game repeatedly. With Adventure mode you can hop from Act to Act and chase down bounties whenever and whereever you feel like.
You are also introduced to the concept of rifts, bounties and Blood Shards. Bounties serve as a quick way to gain extra experience by going on missions that reward you with Blood Shards. The Blood Shards can be used at a special vendor, allowing you to gamble them for better Mystery Gear. Rift Keys are also gained by completing bounties, which after getting five keys let you open a rift. Rifts are randomly generated levels with randomly generated mobs of very high density that tend to drop better gear. Also, as part of the rift, you will end each one with a random guardian or boss, which typically drops some epic gear.
One other feature that adds to the fun are Paragon Levels that are attained after you reach the level cap of 70. These are extra levels that not only let you further customize certain stats after 70 but also carry over to all of your other characters as well. All of these new mechanics really extend the life of the game, as well give reason to make alternate characters providing for a ton of replay value.
Other new additions to the previous version include player gifts, player mail and the Nemesis. Player gifts are a great way to share the wealth with friends playing Diablo 3 with you and are generated randomly when you pick up a legendary item or defeat a legendary enemy. You simply mail the gift to your friend and then they can open it on their end and boom, they have a rare to legendary item to help them with their quests. The Nemesis is a great twist to normal gameplay that spawns a very powerful rare enemy called the Nemesis. This foe can kill you and then hop into your friend’s game as well. What makes Nemesis so formidable is that is can randomly appear in a game, so it keeps you on your toes while questing and typically spawns in the most inopportune times to do battle with you. Worse off, it gains strength from every kill it attains.
As someone that played a lot of Diablo 3 on the PS3, having the ability to transfer characters from PS3 to PS4 or Xbox One was a great addition and really fired me up to play this version. The overall process was pretty simple but unfortunately is not available for our PC friends that played Diablo 3 and had characters.
Combine all of the above with seamless multiplayer action (both online and offline) as well as a consistant 60 FPS and 1080p graphics, it’s hard to doubt the greatness of this game. As someone that played a lot of Diablo 3 on the PS3 and used a Witch Doctor as my main character, it was not unusual to see slowdowns in graphics because of the mass amount of units onscreen at any given time. Fast forward to the PS4 and increases in enemy density in Rifts are handled near perfectly with no slowdowns, except in certain extremes on later Acts. Load times have also been all but erased, making trips back and forth to town to dump extra gear and do repairs a quick and easy task.
Ultimate Evil Edition manages to not only port a great game very well over to the console but also remedy any issues it may have had and make the game pure fun. Once you delve into the world of Diablo 3 it is an engrossing trip that will have you constantly searching for new gear and stats to kill the ultimate in evil. This is a definite pick up for any Diablo or dungeon crawler fan. I would even go as far to say that it is the most fun and rewarding experience on this new generation of consoles to date, with uncountable hours of replay value.
Now that we have seen Diablo make a successful leap to console maybe the good folks at Blizzard will grace us with a World of Warcraft port? We can always dream but until that happens, have fun with Diablo 3.