The Xbox 360 version of Diablo III
can be played offline.
I don’t usually begin reviews, relaying such basic information. But in this case, it feels like an essential report.Blizzard Entertainment
wisely shook off the yoke of always-online requirements. Probably because they have ears... It’s a simple modification. And means Diablo III’s console launch already trumps its PC counterpart.
But console ports of Blizzard titles are cause enough for concern. Despite any next generation notions, Blizzard is a stalwart PC developer. So how does this iconic Loot’N’Boot formula stack up on home consoles?
There’s nothing wrong with the presentation here. The resolution is necessarily cut (1120x584) while frequent tears and jumps mar the bling. But barring the occasional dip, a smooth 60 frames per second is maintained. But see, most 60fps AAA games (Revengeance
, anyone?!) are the very definition of slick.
Diablo III isn’t.
Don't let that pre-rendered opening fool you Enlarge
The isometric style permits forgiving renders of basic character models, blocky environments and bland textures. Admittedly, this pared back aesthetic lets the particle effects and lighting pop, without overtaxing processors when 20+ characters start milling about the shop.
Still, this rudimentary art style is in direct competition with artistic cut-scenes and hilariously detailed CG movies. I’ll freely admit the latter are thinly veiled excuses to showcase a handful of wildly impressive character models. But they unintentionally emphasize just how much wow the main game lacks.
Although, seasoned looters won’t notice. They’ll be too busy getting their clicks (kicks!) out of Diablo’s flagship 4 player co-op to notice!
The joys of Diablo III are simple, yet moreish: Lay waste to hordes of gibbering hellspawn. Try on new booties. And Blizzard understands this formula improves exponentially with extra players. So in addition to a host of helpful NPCs, there is also the option to system link, go public, invite friends, or hand out four 360 controllers for some hectic heresy! The typical downsides to such jolly co-operation apply -anyone can jump past reams of dialogue, skip cut scenes or steal your kills.
Spending quality time together Enlarge
It’s no great loss to be honest. Character models and animations are positively goofy. The narrative and script are both offensively affected and self-important.
Goofy + Turgid = Naff!
Diablo III is a big fat naff experience. It’s got those massive level caps, increasing difficulty levels, an infinity of loot and even some PVP chucked in for good measure.
Unfortunately, combat is objectively sh*t.
Powers and skills are unlocked with each level climbed, but there is no incentive to experiment, no mechanic to combine, no compelling reason to leave to comfort zone of a long range arcane frost charm. Personally the prospect of spending sixty hours holding down the right trigger doesn’t appeal. But many would argue the devil is in the detail.
Which I kind of assume, in this instance, means the stats...
The Devil himself only knows how big the demand for Blizzard on home consoles will be. But this is a decent port. And it improves upon the failings of the initial release.
But as for Diablo III? This aint groundbreaking stuff. It’s blowing cobwebs from an old trophy cabinet and polishing away the rust with some brasso stuff.