Review: Diablo III: Eternal Collection (PS4)

Review: Diablo III: Eternal Collection (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Diablo III: Eternal Collection
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (28 GB)
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), €69.99 (EU), £54.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I felt compelled to write this review for the simple reason of the vast amount both my wife and I have played in co-op. The entire family enjoys cooperative games and will often play them until completion or boredom sets in.

It took ages to talk my wife into trying the game, viewing the Grim Reaper cinematic trailer did not help and put her off for ages with a remark of disdain.

It was only after I suggested trying it for an evening and if it was not to her liking, I would not suggest it again. That fateful night the battle was won and we have never looked back since.

So what is Diablo III: Eternal Collection? Well for the ill informed it is a dungeon crawler, the granddaddy of dungeon crawlers in fact. Many others have copied it over the years with mixed results, but this series has always been a firm favorite with the fans.

It was always one of those PC games that I wanted to try and never got round to it, for I am a console gamer at heart and prefer to keep games on a system I can rely on. When it appeared on the PlayStation 3 I was eager to try it but time and money were a factor so it was eventually forgotten.

Gameplay:
It was only when I grabbed it during a sale on the PlayStation 4 that I realized what I had been missing. It sat unplayed until I talked my wife into trying it with me as I correctly surmised it would be better to start on an even footing.

You begin the long adventure on the edge of a bleak looking town and as you make your way to the gates you are attacked by some undead beings that slowly amble toward you. Now that I think about it, they might not have been wanting to rip us to shreds as I never gave them a chance to do anything but feel the solid pummeling of my fists.

After killing, or should that be re-killing, a few of the pathetic undead fools, my character leveled up in a flash of light and crescendo of sound. It was awesome and I was hooked. A new move and opened up and my addiction had begun.

After half an hour I had leveled up many times and began to unlock a couple of passive abilities. All the while picking up tons of loot, everything from weapons and shields to gold and scrap metals.

It doesn’t take long for all the legendary loot to start dropping. These have special added effects that usually compliment some of your moves or an ability. They must be inspected before they can be equipped revealing what stats the item has and locking it to your current level.

With a finite amount of items you can carry, you will soon be managing your items and selling or salvaging anything that seems inconsequential. You have a stash located in the safe area of each map and I soon filled them with loads of cool gear that I could not bear to part with.

After many hours of playing I had unlocked plenty of moves that can be assigned to each of the five combat buttons. These can be quite different from one another and each drastically changes the combat style of the character.

My Bounty Hunter was okay but each special ability used too much Hatred, the substance that powers certain moves. It slowly refilled with the use of normal moves but it never felt even and I would continually hear my poor character yelling that he was out of Hatred.

I then found a legendary bow with a unique power that allowed me to use rapid fire without costing Hatred, meaning my crossbow had unlimited firepower. It was awesome. Things went from great to fantastic as I found more things that complimented my move set and my character was on fire. Quite literally at one point as some boots I found set fire to the ground, meaning anything chasing me became all warm and toasty.

There are several modes you can choose from when starting the game. Hardcore is for the experienced players as you only get one life and once your character is dead, they are gone for good. Normal allows you to set a difficulty and as you play, keep upping it for more experience and gold with each enemy killed.

Blizzard Entertainment recently added a new Seasons mode for the console players. This allows you to start a new character with added benefits and maybe even some rare loot. Once the Season is over the character reverts to a normal one for you to play and you get to keep the loot. This was mainly for the addicted fans and new players, it gives them something more to do and lets everyone start from the beginning.

The story, along with the Reaper of Souls expansion, is of a decent length and entertaining throughout. There are a few small side quests and extra conversations to be had if you want to delve a little deeper into the narrative.

Loot. Glorious loot. It becomes an addiction of sorts and the reason why people tend to continue playing after the final boss has been defeated. Then you have the leveling-up and most players will have a long fight to reach the maximum rank of seventy. It doesn’t end there either as you have Nephalem Rifts, which are random maps to conquer and more Paragon stats to increase.

Then you have the different character classes, each with their own style and preferred weapons. This extends the life of the game massively. I am currently on my third character and the last expansion, which is also included in this Eternal Collection. It features the return of an old favorite character class and one that I am already enjoying. Their styles differ greatly not only in how they look but it also changes the way you play the game.

There are now a few types of Goblins that appear randomly during the game, these are signalled by a mischievous laugh which causes every player to frantically scour their immediate vicinity in search of the elusive creature. They carry treasure and gold and on the rarest of occasions, they’re killed just as they evoke a portal to the safety of their home, which you can also travel through to cause mayhem and gather more riches.

Controls are exceptional considering this was originally a PC game and dare I say it, but I consider the control scheme better than a keyboard and mouse setup. Even my wife, who has been known to stop playing a game due to the complexity of the controls, found this an easy to learn and master setup.

It feels like I have glossed over so much of what the game has to offer, with all of the updates and expansions there is so much to do and enjoy. Just wait till you finally get to equipping gems, discovering and using Kanai’s Cube, using Blood Shards, jumping into a greater rift, and so much more.

I didn’t even mention the pets, quests, bounties, and transmogrifying. There is so much in this game to entice you to continue your journey. In this latest expansion I have found some new locations, monsters, and challenge rifts so I should be kept busy for some time, maybe enough to get the Platinum Trophy. All I have to do are a few things in hardcore mode and reach level seventy with three more characters. It should take no time at all, I write sarcastically.

Visuals:
There can be a monumentally large amount of creatures on-screen, all trying to bite, slice, stab, and generally hurt the players and their minions. Combine that with loads of fancy weapon and magic effects, all the while it might be raining or misty. With all of that going on the PlayStation 4 seems not to struggle.

Admittedly, there have been a few moments of slowdown but nothing that hurts the gameplay, in-fact quite the opposite as the brief moment allows me to get my bearings and take a breath.

There’s lots of blood and guts in this game, it’s not family friendly and might put off the odd co-op partner, at least in the beginning. Yet the macabre visuals fit perfectly in the dank and disgusting world.

I especially like the new character’s abilities as they can literally siphon the blood and life from an enemy and make corpses come back to life and fight alongside them or explode in a gruesome bloodbath that decimates your opponents.

Audio:
The cinematics are excellent and the voice acting is good. There’s plenty of speech here and most of it might never be heard if you don’t take the time to converse with the other characters in the game.

Music is almost always present, softly lurking in the background helping to set an unnerving mood. The sound effects are loud and memorable, from the grotesque screams of the enemies to the various sounds of elemental spells, twanging crossbows, clashing swords, and all manner of explosions and deathly gurgles. The distinctive sound of an enemy exploding into a putrid bloody mess never gets old.

Online/Multiplayer:
This is where I spent most of my time, playing local co-op with the wife. The game keeps both players on the same screen and pans the camera slightly if one should wander away. If they go too far then they are teleported back to their partner. Sadly we both have to wait while each one sorts out their skills, weapons, armor, and peruses the merchant’s stock.

Playing Diablo III: Eternal Collection with another person makes it so much more enjoyable and addictive. Sharing the occasional bit of loot and cheering as you take down a difficult enemy is so entertaining.

Don’t get me wrong, playing the game on my own was still fun and addictive, but sharing that experience with another makes it more memorable. The wife and I still laugh about a certain goblin portal we found or the way a once deadly enemy was wiped out in mere seconds after discovering a new legendary weapon and unlocking a complimentary skill.

In a local co-op game, any loot of value is automatically assigned to each player and the others cannot pick it up unless it is subsequently dropped by that player. Money and a few other things are a free-for-all so it pays to jump in quick.

I tend to be as fair as possible because we are both in it together. I do not speak for the wife as she has been known to swoop in and steal a few gems that were dropped by me accidentally. That said, my cow-pet-thing likes to sneakily grab some of the treasure from her loot chest reward when it appears on the floor.

You can configure the game at any time to allow various types of local and online play, even so far as setting up a local area network. I opted for an invite only game but there is also the ability to choose friends only or open to the public.

Playing online has worked very well but I strongly suggest playing the game all the way through at least once before joining random players. There are extensive leaderboards for the Season challenges, greater rifts, and conquests where you can compare your rank with friends and the world.

Conclusion:
Diablo III: Eternal Collection is a must-buy. I have spent an absurd amount of time playing this game. What surprised me is how easily anyone can become hooked on this genre defining experience. My wife and I enjoyed well over one hundred hours of co-op gaming and only stopped because other reviews stole me away.

It scales the difficulty well if you are joined by another player in a drop-in and out co-op game. The only issue I have is having to wait while my wife is sorting out her gear and browsing in the shop, it feels too much like real life.

There are countless moments in this game unlike any other that make it so special. It’s great to find that perfect weapon configuration which turns a semi-powerful crossbow into something akin to a machine gun with infinite bullets. You’ll use it to mow down the enemy like a gangster shooting up a speakeasy or eventually have the power to summon a tribe of minions that never time-out and become like a tsunami of destruction, wiping out the enemy before you even get a hit in.

There’s nothing quite like killing a boss or treasure goblin and seeing a load of legendary loot spill onto the floor and like a piñata at a kids birthday party where everyone dives in for the blissful treats. This game is like a hundred parties where every present is a deadly weapon of destruction and fun.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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