Go try it if you haven't already
Diablo III has had a tumultuous history to say the least. Always-online DRM, the Real-Money Auction House, and loot problems plagued the original release -- all issues that took months to address. It's a hot-button issue even now, with many gamers stating that the PC players were had, paying for a "demo" of the console version that would eventually drop with all the fixes in tow.
For those of you who did enjoy the game previously or haven't gotten caught up in the maelstrom of problems though, the Reaper of Souls expansion delivered in just about every way possible. Thankfully, the Ultimate Evil Edition brings that same great experience to consoles.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls: Ultimate Evil Edition (PS3, PS4 [tested], Xbox 360, Xbox One)
If you've played the game previously and want to bring over your character, the process is painless -- you just log into Battle.net by way of in-game menus, and log into Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. You can transfer over saves/characters from the previous console generation to the new generation (even cross-platform or cross-publisher), with the only limitation of not being able to transfer from PS4 to Xbox One and vice versa. The process takes a total of roughly one minute, but it could be longer if you forgot your Battle.net password.
What you're getting with the Ultimate Evil Edition is everything from Reaper of Souls basically (which is still currently $40 on PC) -- the new Act V, the Crusader class, Loot 2.0, the new difficulty system, adventure mode, the level cap of 70, the Mystic artisan, and a few more changes. The console version of the game allows you to use an in-game mail system to share loot as well as take advantage of the "Nemesis" feature, which is set up kind of like a Souls game.
In short, players can encounter rare creatures that will attempt to assassinate them, which will allow your friends to avenge your spirit. It's a very small social feature, but it's a welcome one that doesn't impede on the experience in any way. There's not a whole lot that's different about Ultimate Evil outside of those small additions, but if you're playing it on PS4 you can nab a Shadow of the Colossus armor pattern, as well as randomized enemies from The Last of Us in certain Rifts.
Ultimate Evil also has the same great console controls, which translate perfectly with Diablo III's skill system. All of the face buttons as well as R1 and R2 are still mapped to abilities, and the right stick is used as a combat roll that's unique to the console version.
The only hangup still are the menus, which are particularly slow to navigate with local players since only one player is allowed to use them at at time. Blizzard should have taken a cue from Champions of Norrath on the PS2, which allowed people to have separate menu instances, as well as buy or sell items at the same time. As it stands though it's not the end of the world since the quick-equip system exists with the d-pad, and online players all have their own menus.
Speaking of local players, four-player online and couch co-op returns, which is easily one of the biggest draws. On the PS4 the game doesn't chug in the slightest even with extra players on-screen, and there's something about playing dungeon crawlers locally that makes them even more enjoyable. In case you're wondering, loot is distributed equally upon pickup (or directly to players that can use an item, like bows in the instance of a Demon Hunter), and with Loot 2.0, the drops are plentiful.
Ultimate Evil Edition is a natural progression for those of you who loved the console version of Diablo III, and current generation owners can pay a $20 upgrade fee of sorts for a slight visual upgrade. If you've already played the PC version to death and don't have any local friends to play with, there isn't much here for you, though.
Blizzard's sending a seriously cool gift to World of Warcraft's ten-year subscribers
3:30 PM on 01.19.2015