I wasn’t a fan of Diablo III when it first debuted in 2012. I felt Blizzard made several bone headed decisions which kept me from enjoying the game from the beginning; it soured my initial impressions of the title. It would take two years before I even considered revisiting it and I’m glad I did.
Blizzard’s dungeon crawler came a long way since its debut on the PC. It made its way onto the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 which many claimed it was the best version of the game due to the absence of an “always online” requirement and the removal of the auction house. I wasn’t about to play the game at 720p and 30FPS, so I passed on it. Blizzard eventually removed the auction house from the PC release but that alone didn’t convince me to go back.
Reaper of Souls’ PC debut put the game back on my map but with the arrival of new PlayStation 4 titles, my attention was diverted. It would take GiantBomb’s coverage, growing interest in playing Diablo III with a controller and the summer lull to convince me to buy Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. I figured if my brother and I were going to spend $45 each for Reaper of Souls, we would be better off spending $65 on the Ultimate Evil Edition and sharing it.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition was a revelation.
Blizzard rectified every problem I had with Diablo III and then some. They allowed me to adjust the difficulty from the beginning which offered up challenges that I didn’t experience in the original release. They made a game out of breaking environmental objects where we would be granted a temporary boost in movement speed if we broke a set amount of objects in rapid succession. They highlighted the benefits of stringing enemy kills in a similar manner as well. They increased the rate of quality equipment drops and gave us a reason to invest in the “Magic Find” attribute on our first playthrough. Lastly — and perhaps the most ingenious addition of all — they added the ability to quickly compare and junk equipment without having to enter the inventory page.
Blizzard essentially reduced the “time-to-fun” gap with these tiny systems and changes. By the end of my first playthrough, I was given a good taste of what Diablo III was all about and if it wasn’t for Destiny, I would have dove right back into it.
With Diablo III, I discovered what keeps me engaged with loot games. It isn’t the simple act of picking up increasingly better items or wading through a mountain of junk for that one legendary item. It’s facing the tough choices that makes loot games interesting. Weighing the desire for more movement speed or Magic Find versus increased attack or defensive capabilities was the internal struggle that I faced with every lucrative legendary drop.
I didn’t play as the new Crusader class but I witnessed his super hero moves first hand. The Crusader’s abilities seemed to have been inspired by the likes of Thor and Captain America with their lightning hammers and ricocheting shields. I played as wizard and enjoyed the power that was that class’ fingertips. It’s a good thing I chose the wizard because it allowed me to put the console exclusive “roll” ability to good use. Pushing the right stick away from the enemy made my wizard take a back step and keep his distance while he unleashed blizzards, ice shards and other magics.
“The game gets better after ## hours.” is a phrase that I absolutely abhor and it was a phrase that was attached with the initial release of Diablo III. “Mash through the normal difficulty and then that’s where the real game begins!”
The real game should begin when I launch the game. Imagine having to play Mario Kart 8 at 50cc or Halo games on Normal difficulty first? It’s absurd to lock away compelling and interesting experiences through artificial gates and I’m glad Blizzard came to their senses and opened up the game with Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. Master difficulty isn’t the most challenging difficulty but it is far more stimulating that playing the game through Normal.
Finishing the original release of Diablo III left me disappointed and confused. Finishing Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition left me curious and wanting. I’m inspired to try new classes and discover what other enemy encounters are like. How crazy do they get with the loot? What is it like to play hardcore mode? I want to play more but when the biggest release of the year comes knocking, I couldn’t ignore it. But as soon as I’m done, I foresee myself returning to Diablo III. It’s just too delectable.
For more information on Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, visit the official website.