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Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition (Xbox 360) artwork

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition (Xbox 360) review

"Not the best version of this game, but still good enough to be quite addictive."

I normally don't buy ports of games that were first released on systems superior to the ones I own. The way I see it, a game that was made for Xbox One and then ported to the 360 is likely to be buggier and less structurally sound as a result of that process. And since the port was likely an afterthought, it will probably lack the support that any more modern versions enjoy. If something's broken, in other words, it's broken. Don't hold your breath waiting for a patch that may never come.

There are exceptions to every one of my rules, though, and Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition was one of them. It was an easy choice, since Diablo III was initially ported from PC to the 360 and PS3. Ultimate Evil Edition is the exact same game, but with an extra fifth act (Reaper of Souls) and an Adventure Mode. I figured I would get roughly the same experience as people with more modem systems, and for the most part, I was right.

That's a very good thing, since Diablo III might be the best action-RPG, loot-collecting game I've ever played. It has an infectious arcade rhythm to it that's easy to get into as the campaign gradually grows increasingly complicated.

Ultimate Evil Edition features six character classes. I chose the Demon Hunter, which is this game's take on the archer. Initially, that means walking around and shooting foes with an unlimited supply of arrows. As players level up, though, they gain additional active skills that they can map to other buttons, as well as passive character enhancements. Eventually, they'll also unlock various glyphs to accompany each skill and alter them in useful ways... or not. It depends how you approach the game, which means you have to experiment to find the combination that suits you best.

Shortly after starting the game's first act, I accessed a skill that carried me through many, many hours: Rapid Fire. Constant use quickly drains your Hatred meter (which essentially translates to "magic" for this particular character). It also turns your bow into a machine gun, however, allowing you to send wave after wave of projectiles toward all enemies in your path. When energy runs low, you can resort to a standard attack until your supply refills, then begin unleashing agony once again. I find this simply awesome. My guy stands there like he's frickin' Rambo, gunning down all sorts of undead, hellspawn and whatever else crawls out of the crypt to stand in his path. After a couple of minutes, I had to pause the game and sit back for a moment before concluding that my entire life had been building up to that shining moment. I was at the peak of my existence!

And yet my dude's powers had only begun to develop. As an archer, you won't want to find yourself in a situation where you're standing around, trading blows with monsters. Why not lay down some traps which can slow them down and allow you to retreat a few steps so you can safely unleash more death? Or set up a sentry turret that fires homing missiles at your foes? Or, if you're tired of playing games, just call down a deluge of sharp, pointy things from the skies? The game does provide a trio of computer-controlled allies who will battle at your side, but why bother with that when your Demon Hunter can summon animals that capably savage the forces of evil? There's something amusing about scoring a quick and effortless kill on a powerful boss because it was too distracted by a small animal gnawing at its ankles to do anything about the one-man death machine skewering it with 500 arrows per second.

And so I tore through the game's campaign, despite only ever making a few quick stabs at the first Diablo release all those years ago. I couldn't really get into the ongoing plot, which is essentially five acts of "Something wicked this way comes... now get to killing!" with a couple of twists along the way, but that didn't matter. All you really need to know is that humanity is trapped in the middle of a war between demons and angels, and your guy is the one person who might be able to resolve it all. By the end of the tale, I'm not sure much was actually resolved, but that hardly matters.

Put simply, this is one of those games you play for the love of it. Your true goal is to turn your character into a demigod of destruction by venturing to the far ends of the world, where the most powerful monsters and loot await. The level cap is 70, but that's not the end of your growth, thanks to Paragon levels that can strengthen individual stats in the manner you see fit. There also are at least 10 difficulty levels, so that when you get bored by the challenge on one setting, you can always bump it up to the next. This is actually very important. When I played through the campaign, I did so on the default setting. It was pretty boring, so my advice is to start with Hard and enjoy a proper adventure.

One difference you'll see as you increase the difficulty setting is that your enemies actually grow more powerful, not just more numerous. Throughout the game, you'll often encounter robust enemies that are referred to with terms such as "elites", "uniques" and so forth. They tend to have considerably more health than their more common variations, along with special abilities. Some might teleport to your side, or force you to suddenly warp to theirs. Others build walls to block you in, which isn't desirable if you have a Demon Hunter and want to maintain a distance. Or they might freeze you in place, or leave trails of fire or poison behind them while walking, or any number of other things. The higher the difficulty setting, the more abilities each of these special monsters possess. When I first played on Hard, I got slaughtered by a group of fast-moving, flying enemies that combined the ability to build walls with one that left fire trails in their wake. They penned me in and forced me to stand in a big puddle of lava, so I fried. That sort of thing doesn't happen on the Normal setting. I suddenly became intrigued by the additional challenges I knew awaited me on the even higher settings, up to and including the dreaded series of Torment difficulties.

But if the game included only the campaign, I'd probably be done playing it already. Instead, I tried Adventure Mode and it kept me going for considerably longer. It's really the perfect way to enjoy Diablo III. There's no plot, so you merely wander the world and complete brief objectives that range from killing a particular monster or boss to clearing out dungeons to completing various events. Due to the game's random nature, this sometimes means that you stumble across optional dungeons and quests you never encounter in the main campaign. When I unlocked the mode after clearing the main story, I figured I'd play it for an hour or two just so I could mention it in my eventual review. That quick sample led to multi-hour sessions as I kept exploring the addictive experience. Then I opened up something called a Nephalim Rift, which offered still more opportunities to slaughter foes and culminated in a tough boss battle. Essentially, this game is endless. It lasts as long as your desire to play it does.

Adventure Mode certainly isn't perfect on the 360 hardware, though. Time has brought numerous improvements to the versions available on heftier platforms, including a few new dungeons that never came to the version I played. That's sort of annoying but not a deal breaker, even though it means I missed out on special content (like when the developers added Diablo II's famous cow level to a special Adventure Mode location that isn't available in my version).

I don't know if I'd call Diablo III an elite game, but Adventure Mode is an awesome addition that offers all of the thrills of fighting and constantly improving your character without filler such as a plot and cutscenes. It features the sort of fun that turns a good game into a great one, and it has often distracted me from pursuing other worthwhile projects. When I finish a game, it typically falls by the wayside as I move immediately to something else. I haven't been able to do that here, though. The great lord of the underworld still has his claws in me, and he doesn't seem willing to release his grip...


overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (May 09, 2016)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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sashanan posted May 10, 2016:

Lovely game. I've never played it on console, only PC, with the big advantage that what they add in content on current and future patches is always available.

And Rapid Fire is a lovely mainstay skill. My current hardcore Demon Hunter even found a legendary quiver with a very simple passive ability, "channeling Rapid Fire no longer costs Hatred". Now it's not just a machine gun - it has infinite ammo.
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Never3ndr posted May 10, 2016:

I also used to be a Demon Hunter main. It has been a while since I played Diablo III...years in fact. I played the expansion when it came out on PC...a bit much for my system to handle, but I enjoyed it. A friend of mine actually got it on console and I played it a bit on there...I actually think I liked it better on console because you had the tumble command that isn't available on PC (unless they patched it in during the time I haven't played). As a side note, if you go to Blizz's website and read the short stories for the character classes, the Demon Hunter has a really excellent read (so does the Crusader).

Hmmmm I think I may try to pick the game back up again and see how it is.
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overdrive posted May 10, 2016:

A legendary quiver that makes Rapid Fire free?!?!?!? I WANT THIS SO BAD!!!!!!!!

I mean, right now, I'm on Expert or Master (whatever the third difficulty level is) and a couple areas like Pandemonium are fairly troublesome because the Winged Assassins, which are the generic mass-attacking enemy immediately jump into your face and start slashing. Against them, if I have Rapid Fire, they're easy. If I'm waiting for it to charge up, I'm in trouble because they cause a lot of damage quickly. Never running out of Rapid Fire would make me unstoppable against any regular enemy and only really in danger against bosses and powerful Unique-types who can beat me down before I've taken off that much of their life.

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