Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition Review – Definitive Co-Op Action on Consoles

It’s been 11 long months since the arrival of Blizzard Entertainment’s popular dungeon crawler, Diablo 3, on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 — even longer since it’s initial launch on PC and Mac back in May, 2012. Life in the world of Sanctuary has since begun to grow rather stale.

Thankfully, as of August 19th, 2014, those who still just can’t get enough of Diablo’s tried-and-true, addicting hack-and-slash formula finally have some new content to look forward to.

Diablo 3

Diablo 3’s third official release, the Ultimate Evil Edition, on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One includes the base game along with the Reaper Of Souls expansion and other goodies like the timed-exclusive Apprentice Mode and more. If you’re on the fence and don’t think the content included justifies the cost of a full-priced game or would rather wait for the PC version to receive these features, to simply put it, you’ll be missing out on a lot of fun before all the big games arrive in Q4 of this year. Of course, that depends on how many times you’ve already purchased the game in the past and if you’re willing to buy it once more at full retail value

Diablo 3, as you know it, has been reworked from the bottom up to make the game even more enjoyable than it already was on previous-gen consoles and a better experience overall — even better than the PC version. How so? It’s pretty simple thanks to features like the Apprentice Mode which allows you and your friends to play at an equal level, regardless of whether or not your friend is 10, 20, or even 30 levels higher than you. Anyone ranked lower than the highest level party member will receive buffs across the board to help them combat the tougher evils of Sanctuary without slowing the pace of combat down.

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However, it should be noted that Apprentice Mode will only activate during normal mode and not in Hardcore mode. So, those who love to play with more on the line and want to enjoy that experience alongside a friend might reconsider, as the buffs from Apprentice won’t apply.

Apprentice Mode isn’t the only new addition to the next-gen console version of the game. The Ultimate Evil Edition also boasts a pretty nifty feature called the Mail System which allows your friends to send you items and other goodies without the need to join your game. That’s not all, as the Mail System also allows friends to send eachother “gifts” that drop from Elite enemies. You can tell you’ve received one when an envelope icon is displayed on the lower left corner of your HUD. These gifts also usually turn out to be either Rare, Legendary, or Set items, if you’re lucky:

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Unfortunately, those who pick up these gifts from slain monsters don’t really have the choice of who they can be sent to as they’ll be randomly assigned to someone on your friends list. That said, I would recommend making as many friends as possible while playing the Ultimate Evil Edition, as having more friends on your list playing the same game will yield a higher chance in earning practically free Legendary items.

On the flip side, having numerous gamers on your friends list playing the same game also introduces a potentially dangerous scenario thanks to the new Nemesis Mode. This sinister feature will send an Elite monster who’s slain someone from your friends list in to your game, essentially hunting you down across games. They should not be taken lightly either, as they will enter your game world with added abilities and will generally be tougher to kill than your average Champion enemy.

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Aside from these great timed console-exclusive features, Ultimate Evil Edition includes both the base game of Diablo 3 and its first expansion pack, Reaper Of Souls, along with patch 2.0.6 installed via a day one update. It’s a breath of fresh air, considering the console version of Diablo 3 has barely been supported by Blizzard up until now, aside from two or three patches since. But, much like its predecessor, the Ultimate Evil Edition still faces one big problem, despite Blizzard’s attempt to address the issue via a patch earlier this month for vanilla Diablo 3.

Artificially modded items, most noticeably modded weapons, still exist in this revision due to players uploading their saves from the original Diablo 3 ridden with modded items. While an unfortunate hiccup, the feature works wonderfully for those who don’t want to start completely fresh.

Those who do clear their plate and decide to start from scratch won’t have to worry about completing the campaign numerous times in order to reach the max level of 70. Blizzard has tweaked the amount of experience points earned in the campaign so that, by the time you complete Act V for the first time, you should easily be around the level 55-60 mark. In vanilla Diablo 3, you were required to beat the whole campaign around three or four times to even reach those levels. This ultimately makes the game much less of a chore and lets players unlock the end game content, such as Adventure mode and Nephalem Rifts, much earlier.

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Speaking of patches, or the lack thereof, for those playing the Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms will be happy to know that, unlike it predecessor, the new console version will be receiving future updates more frequently that add content and more.

If you haven’t been keeping up with Diablo 3 news since the Reaper Of Souls expansion launched, you’re in for a treat with the new Adventure and Nephalem Rift modes.

Adventure Mode allows you to complete five bounties per act which will earn you Rift Keystone Fragments. If you also happen to complete all five bounties within an act, Tyrael will give you a Horadric Cache that will, upon opening, shower you with items and even potentially score you legendary items that are exclusive to the Cache.

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Nephalem Rifts, which require five Rift Keystone Fragments to open, are the ultimate test for you and your fellow Nephalem as you’re pitted against random sets of enemies and elites until you fill up the bar to 100. Doing so will summon the Rift Guardian who will attack you and your friends who, upon defeating, will award you with more items and Blood Shards. Obtaining Blood Shards through your various Rift runs allows you to essentially gamble for mysterious items via the Blood Shard vendor, Kadala. She is capable of giving you items ranging from blue tier all the way up to orange or green tier at random. Though, to be honest, it may take a while in order to receive something worthwhile.

4.5 / 5

Once again, it appears that Blizzard has crafted the console version of their popular dungeon crawler to be the definitive version, thanks to the very appealing features like Adventure Mode and the Mail System. I’m prompted to give Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition a 4.5/5, despite some small issues like modded weapons still being prevalent in the game.

Furthermore, unlike the original Diablo 3, the Ultimate Evil Edition will boast increased replay value thanks to post-launch support via patches for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Looking back at the life of Diablo 3 on consoles, post-launch support may have been my biggest issue with the game.

Those looking for some of the most addicting and easily digestible online or couch co-op action on consoles, Diablo is still the place to be. If upgrading to the next-gen version is in agreeance with your wallet, the Ultimate Evil Edition is an improvement in nearly every aspect.

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