Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition review - an intimidating amount of new content to explore

£59.99; PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One; Blizzard Entertainment

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The Independent Tech

Besmirched by an initial plague of server errors, a broken auction house system and a considerable fan backlash, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is developer Blizzard’s final attempt to rectify more gaming horrors than the Prime Evil himself could muster. Thankfully, the Ultimate Evil Edition stands hold as the final, definitive version of the controversial dungeon crawler.

Essentially a remaster of the version of Diablo III seen on last-gen consoles with the PC’s Reaper of Souls expansion tacked on for good measure, there is an intimidating amount of new content to explore here, even for those who’ve already picked up a controller and cleansed the grim, fantasy world of Sanctuary of all the lords of hell for the umpteenth time.

Despite a few occasions of slowdown when bracer-deep in the midst of a horde of mystical creatures, the latest generation of console hardware adequately brings the visuals up to speed with its ever-evolving PC brethren. The main campaign, in spite of its inert, contrived story is an all-round better experience on PS4 and Xbox One. The real draw here though is the inclusion of the Reaper of Souls DLC and the impressive amount of features it brings with it.

 

Set in Westmarch, an eerie, gothic city that conjures a mood which harkens back to the darker tone of Diablo III’s predecessors, Reaper of Souls introduces a brand new act in the campaign mode centered around defeating the sythe-toting fallen angel, Malthael. The act itself is arguably better than any present in the original game with a multitude of sidequests, varied locations and three monumental boss battles that are a genuine challenge of thumb dexterity.

A new character class - the shield-bashing, horse-riding Crusader - is a welcome inclusion, but it’s the complete overhaul of the endgame content that will draw relapsed loot addicts back to the fold. Whether it’s Loot 2.0’s gleeful ‘smart drops’, the Mystic NPC who can enchant your finest wares or the ultra-rare goodies found only in the unscripted adventure mode, Reaper of Souls rights a significant number of the ills found in the vanilla campaign and turns Diablo III into the game it always should have been.

 

The main draw of the console edition, however, remains the drop-in co-op mode which turns a once solitary PC experience into one of the finest local multiplayer games of its generation. Where pocketing any item in sight once rewarded greedy players, loot is now fairly distributed based on character class and each player’s current inventory stash. With the game’s nuanced paragon system extending the already increased level cap, there is almost too much content to bear without a companion joining in on the hunt.

For those more comfortable socialising online, a mail system for gifting equipment and the Dark Souls-esque nemesis feature – which can see a rare formidable beast that has slain your character transported over into a friend’s game – will no doubt increase the game’s behemoth value for money.

While the hackneyed story is still a damp squib and the series’ characteristic atmosphere of dread and despair is only glimpsed at in the Reaper of Souls add-on, the improved co-op and online thrills continue to revitalize the Diablo experience on console. Slaying demons with a friend has never felt so heavenly.

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