Diablo III console edition impressions

diablo-3

I can’t really label this a review since I haven’t completed the game yet and don’t really have a fully formulated opinion of it.  But, I have spent several hours with the console release (specifically the Xbox 360 version) of Diablo III and have some thoughts I’d like to put down on digital paper.  The game is over a year old on PCs now and so it doesn’t really warrant a review in that sense.  It’s Diablo – the king of dungeon crawlers.  It’s awesome.  Yada yada.  But how does it play on consoles?

Pretty great, actually.  Honestly, for several years now I’ve been favoring console dungeon crawlers over their PC counterparts.  There’s not always a whole lot of ports, but since the days of the Dreamcast, I’ve been doing most of my killing and looting with a controller in hand.  This isn’t to spark a PC vs. Consoles debate, this is just my preference (and you’d damn well better respect my preference).  PC gamers tend to have a bit of apprehension when it comes to ports of their beloved mouse and keyboard exclusives.  Sometimes they’re right to be worried (typically, real-time strategy games (RTS) don’t translate well to console controls), but sometimes their apprehension is unfounded.  Thankfully that’s the case with Diablo III.

diablo-3-demon-hunter-02Personally, I wasn’t worried about the transition.  I had enjoyed Torchlight immensely in its console release (and sincerely hope that its sequel gets some new life on consoles) and knew that Bilzzard was more than capable of delivering a high-quality port.  They did, too.

I think the biggest selling point for me on the console version is the couch co-op.  I can be old school at times and so I’d much rather be playing a game with my friends in the same room as me than as disembodied voices over the internet.  It’s a much more enjoyable experience.  That being said, killing, questing, and looting is so much more rewarding to me when I can sit back on the couch and maybe throw back a couple of drinks with my pals while making clever or not-so-clever quips.  It’s great to have that social interaction mixed in with my favorite hobby.  It also helps that the translation to consoles didn’t affect the fun factor of Diablo.

It would be insulting to say that there’s not much to the game on PC, but in playing games like Diablo it has a missing sense of control.  With playing the game with a controller in hand, I feel much more like I’m playing a game.  My character moves where I’m leading him and reacts to my every move – I’m not just telling him what to do and he follows my commands; I’m given a much greater sense of control.  That is what I like about playing Diablo III on my console.  Does the console version have its drawbacks?  Sure.  It’s not perfect, but it offers to me as a gamer more of what I’m looking for in a game than the PC version does.

The biggest disappointment I have with Diablo III is less of something the game did wrong and more of a hugely missed opportunity.  Couch co-op is great.  I love sitting with my pals and playing this game on the same screen.  However, sharing the screen during inventory management sessions sucks.  Only one player at a time can view his or her inventory or have any interactions with merchants.  This breaks the flow of the game and results in several sessions of checking facebook or playing games on your phone while you wait for your pals to finish up their shopping, crafting, and customizing.  This is something that could have been easily remedied with SmartGlass.  Let’s say that you’ve got 3 friends over and you’re all looking to score some epic loot.  Well, while Johnny McSlowshopper is browsing the shops, you can connect with SmartGlass and interact with a shop keep or examine and manage your inventory on your phone while the television is occupied with someone else’s menu.  This would have been a great solution in keeping the game moving at all times rather than making every trip to town a 20+ minute ordeal because you have to take turns managing your inventory.  With that said, it’s a relatively minor complaint.  It’s not a broken gameplay mechanic or a fatal flaw in the game, it’s just a painfully missed opportunity.

Diablo_III_Character_Classes

Diablo III on the console is a blast.  It’s pretty much everything you can expect from a Diablo game while giving you a little bit more joy with couch co-op.  It’s a welcome addition to my gaming library and I’m sure I’m going to sink many, many hours into its loot-filled world.

 

Diablo III is currently available on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.  A PS4 release is planned and in development.

Advertisements

Bungie lays down the Law of the Jungle in new Destiny trailer

The first official trailer that’s not a press conference showing or a vidoc is now online.  The trailer promises a gameplay reveal of Bungie’s upcoming Destiny at Sony’s E3 press conference.

Call of Duty: Ghosts Officially Announced

 

As posted yesterday, and all over the internet over the past week or so, Activision’s next Call of Duty game will be subtitled Ghosts.  The game will feature an “entirely new story, setting and cast of characters, all powered by a new, next generation Call of Duty engine that redefines the series for the next generation.”  As you can see, it’s very next generation-y.  Ghosts is scheduled to release on November 5th and is in development for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and next generation consoles.  The first gameplay footage will be shown at Microsoft’s next Xbox event on May 21.

Call of Duty: Ghosts Coming November 5

Ahead of Activision’s official May 1 reveal of the next Call of Duty game, a promotional poster has outed a release date for the already outed Call of Duty: Ghosts.  The poster proclaims a November 5 release date of Activision’s annual shooter along with a GameStop exclusive limited edition poster.  Now there’s nothing to be surprised about when Activision comes out tomorrow to tell us that Call of Duty: Ghosts will be releasing on November 5, 2013.  Unless this is all a ruse and there’s something completely different planned for the franchise.  In which case, we will all be surprised.  Whatever happens, you can feast your eyes on the poster sporting the release date and ugly bargain bin box art below:

These Ghosts are totally different from those Ubisoft Ghosts

 

Source:  IGN

Rumor: Destiny to Feature Micro-Transactions

An Activision employee’s LinkedIn profile has been updated to include certain information of his work on Bungie’s upcoming Destiny.  Said employee, one Ryan Wener, is listed as “Senior Director, Product Management” with Activision and is “leading marketing activities for the hotly-anticipated new gaming universe Destiny.”  Beneath that bullet point, however, is listed his work in “monetization modeling.”  This has led to some speculation as to whether Bungie’s upcoming sci-fi shooter will feature micro-transactions in its business model.

Nothing has been announced, but given that micro-transactions in games are more and more common these days, it wouldn’t be a surprise.  Activision is publishing Destiny, so an in-game monetization platform would be a shock to no one.

Destiny is currently in development at Bungie for Xbox 360, PS3, and PS4; a version for the next Xbox has not been officially announced, but it would be safe to assume that it’s headed there, too.  No release date or window has been given for the game at this time.

 

Sources:  Destructoid, LinkedIn

Rumor: Respawn Entertainment’s First Game to be Xbox-Exclusive

Respawn Entertainment Logo

Respawn Entertainment, the product of a long-winded battle between Infinity Ward creators & staff and Activision, has been rather quiet regarding their debut title since the studio’s founding.  Rumors are now circulating that their first game will be an Xbox-exclusive.  Sources are stating the next Xbox as the primary system with a focus on online gameplay requiring an always-on connection.  An Xbox 360 version is possible, but ports for Nintendo and Sony consoles are not being considered.

The game is said to be set in the future and will have players facing off in David and Goliath battles.  “Davids are heavily armed foot soldiers. The Goliaths are giant exoskeletons–Titans–that these soldiers can pilot.”  It’s worth noting that Respawn recently filed a trademark for Titan.

According to these sources, Respawn is working on the Xbox 720 version which will utilize a modified Source engine with the developer outsourcing for the Xbox 360 port.

Microsoft will unveil its next-generation Xbox on May 21 with E3 following shortly thereafter, so the legitimacy of this rumor will likely be sorted out in the near future.

 

Sources:  Kotaku, Gamespot

Sony’s PlayStation 4 Revealed

On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, Sony finally revealed their next videogame console:  the PlayStation 4.  While there had been a lot of speculation leading up to the event, it’s nice to finally have some details confirmed and, after seven years, we can look forward to a new console gaming generation this fall.

Here’s a brief rundown of the system:  The PS4’s new controller will feature a touch pad, a light bar which can indicate character health as well as act as work in tandem with PlayStation Eye (similar to PS Motion), has redesigned analogue sticks with concave grips, and a new “social” button which opens up a social menu.  The PlayStation Eye has also been vastly improved and now features two cameras with 1200 x 800 resolution–the two cameras allow depth recognition.

The system itself is equipped with a “powerful custom chip that contains eight x86-64 cores and a state of the art graphics processor.”  The PS4 also has 8 gigs of GDDR5 memory allowing 176GB per second bandwidth and higher graphic fidelity.

Games announced for the PlayStation 4 include a new title in the inFamous series titled Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Bungie’s Destiny with exclusive content, The Witcher 3, Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs (which was announced at E3 2012), Diablo III (which will also make an appearance on the PS3 for the eager, console-bound dungeon adventurers), among others.  The upcoming content seems to be a strong lineup, but there’s little new content to entice potential buyers at this early stage–E3 is likely to bring more exciting news on the next PlayStation.

It’s also worth noting that the PS4 will play used games, contradicting past rumors that the system would block the use of pre-owned titles.  The PS4 will not, however, be backwards compatible and past PSN purchases on previous platforms will not be accessible on the new system.  While Sony plans to circumvent the backwards compatibility issue with a streaming service, the lack of any native support for older titles is discouraging.

Nevertheless, the PlayStation 4 looks to be a powerful gaming machine and it’s certainly exciting to move on to a new generation of console gaming hardware this holiday season.

Bungie’s Destiny Revealed

Bungie has finally stepped out from the shadows to reveal their first post-Halo console project.  Set in a future where Earth has been all but destroyed, Destiny places players in the boots of a soldier–a guardian of the city built beneath “The Traveler”–tasked with saving the city.  What little is shown in this video looks incredibly promising, it’s great to see Jason Jones again, and Bungie will, no doubt, deliver an amazing gaming experience over the next decade.  Destiny Awaits:

Duncan Jones to Direct “Warcraft”

Duncan Jones, director of science fiction films Moon and Source Code, will be taking over as director of the film adaptation of Warcraft.  Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-Man trilogy and the upcoming Oz the Great and Powerful, was originally signed as the director, but he detached himself from the project in favor of Oz.

Blood Diamond screenwriter Charles Leavitt will pen the script for Warcraft with production planned to begin this fall.  Warcraft is expected to release in 2015.

 

Source:  Hollywood Reporter