Diablo 3 Header

New or same old?

Diablo 3 is going to be hitting the console market soon, and people have proven to have an interest in purchasing the game due to the fact that they enjoy controllers and their system more, or they lack a high powered PC to play the game. There are certainly going to be differences between the two versions, but is it enough to intrigue most gamers? What will the console versions of Diablo 3 offer that's different from the PC version?

Differences and changes

This section can't be split up into separate categories so it's going to get long. I'll divide it into sub headings so it's not a block of text that'll want to make you gouge your eyes out. The differences between the console and PC versions of Diablo 3 are notable, but the core game play hasn't changed.

Controller vs. Keyboard + Mouse

Diablo 3 is known to being a point and click game, so many people are naturally skeptical how well the game will fair with a controller instead of a keyboard and mouse both in game play and in screen selections. Thankfully from the reviews and hands on experiences I've seen so far it looks like the game will actually be pretty good and not an atrocity like we would expect. Blizzard has introduced an evade concept into the console version so you can dodge incoming projectiles and attacks similar to a Demon Hunter's vault ability. I think this feature is unique for the series and will prove familiar to console gamers alike. The movements and button mashing goodness are still there, only now you have your abilities set on your four color shaped buttons instead of 1-4 on the keyboard. The game looks smooth and very playable with a controller, so I'm happy to see others who don't have computers getting their hands on this great game.

Offline mode

This one is huge and honestly I'm still perplexed why Blizzard hasn't extended this towards the PC player base. Diablo II was offline and online, and for Diablo 3 to be online only was a huge problem with many people with slow internet or no internet at all. The console version of this game solves that problem by creating an offline mode so if the internet is down or the Playstation network is having issues you can still play the game. That's another point too is that console gamers won't be using battle.net to play online, but instead the infrastructure of the Playstation online network. This means that there will be no cross between online platforms which is both good and bad. Bad because it would be neat to play with others on the console, good because the console players have a different game set up with additional features that wouldn't sync well with the PC gamers.

Gameplay style

Due to the controller being vastly different from keyboard and mouse the gameplay is different. For one players can move and attack at the same time instead of holding the left click or attack button they have set to do all the work. You have a more dynamic feel and approach to the fights you encounter. Another thing that was noted by Blizzard was the more solid boss battle type feel in the game. Since console gamers are used to bosses in a traditional RPG sense the boss battles will feel more epic and worthy to be called a boss, whereas PC gamers are used to just farming a boss in a few seconds and moving on. This approach will be more attractive for gamers looking to get a more dynamic epic experience in their fights instead of just loot farming and leveling up which is prevalent in the PC version with PC gamers.

Items and menus

Loot in this game, as well as the inventory system, were big questions for people in how it would translate over to the console version. Diablo is heavily mouse and click oriented, so how do you pick up loot in Diablo 3? From the PAX video it seems as you run over the loot and press a button to select it. Loot is less common, but more valuable which is translating over to the PC version soon anyway. The menus are totally different and the inventory system is as well. You use a ring system to move around the inventory and skills to select your runes, skills, armor, and weapons. It's quite unique but hard to explain, I'm just going to insert the video below and you can get a feel for how it looks

Mob density and activity

This one was interesting because I wondered how mobs would be played out on the console. The console looks to be less intense in the form of quick gameplay so with the PC having very dense mob locations a console player could quickly get overwhelmed. The reviewer at PAX said that they have reduced mob densities and have also tweaked enemies to not immediately go all out against you right away. Instead they will take a moment before pounding on you, which is good with the slower nature of the console game play.

First look at Diablo 3 on the console at PAX East 2013

Release date

As of this writing Blizzard has placed their dreaded and copyrighted "soon" stamp on this release of Diablo 3 for the console. They are happy with how it's coming along, but they aren't going to release even a date until they feel it's ready to be produced and good to go. With the vagueness and hatred for the "soon" tag Blizzard puts on their products, we could very well be looking at another year or two down the road before seeing this come to lucky Playstation owners around the globe. I will be sure to update this article with a release date when one has been solidified.

Final thoughts

This game looks great for the console, and I'm really pleased to see some of the cool new features that lucky console gamers will be able to use such as the evade feature and offline gameplay. I hope to see some more unique things for us PC gamers that won't be getting this game, but one can only wish right? Diablo 3 for the console looks amazing and as time goes on we'll see tweaks and more video releases of game play to satisfy the hungry gamer.