Hands-on with Diablo III (and Reaper of Souls) on PS4

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Hands-on with Diablo III (and Reaper of Souls) on PS4

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls on PS4

I’m here in Anaheim for Blizzcon 2013, and as anyone who knows me might have guessed, the first thing I did when I got here was make a beeline for the Diablo III booth to get some hands-on time with its in-development PS4 version.

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first: Diablo III looks good on PS4. The demo I played didn’t stutter or hitch once — the PS4 version runs at 1080p and 60FPS or better throughout, as confirmed by Production Director John Hight when I spoke with him on the show floor. Everything looks tack-sharp, and plenty of extra bits have been added or tweaked in Diablo III’s PS4 version. Just wait ’til you see the glow of a freshly dropped health globe reflected in a pool of stagnant water.

Diablo III’s DualShock 4 controls are still being tweaked and perfected, but the touchpad implementation today was largely gesture-based, swiping left and right to switch to different inventory and skill subsections. It’s pretty hard to improve on the perfection of Diablo III’s radial menus as they are on PS3, but DualShock 4’s touchpad makes for a suitable change of pace, if only to mix things up once in a while.

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DualShock 4’s light bar glows a different color for each player. Paired with existing on-screen indicators, it provides that much more instantaneous visual feedback — handy when things inevitably start getting out of control on the battlefield.

And of course, the improved ergonomics and analog sticks on PS4’s new controller will make marathon sessions significantly more comfortable.

Reaper of Souls, Blizzard’s recently announced expansion to Diablo III, will be included with the purchase of Diablo III on PS4. In it, Malthael, the former Angel of Wisdom, has become the Angel of Death, and has generally bad things in mind for humanity. Predictably, you’re not too keen on letting him have his way.

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The demo I played at Blizzcon was a small section of the new act that takes place after the end of Diablo III’s main campaign. The 15-20 minute section was draped in dark, blue and gray tones and a permeating sense of dread. Appropriate, given the expansion’s premise.

Playing as the Crusader, Reaper of Souls’ new character class, I smashed and dashed through hordes of demonic baddies, utilizing a bevy of devastating new moves to mow down anything in my way. Described by the design team as a “war machine made human,” the Crusader attacks enemies up close, but has plenty of area-of-effect attacks and buffs to make him a versatile mid-range brawler as well.

A few highlights from the Crusader’s repertoire (these may change, as Reaper of Souls is still in development):

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    • Smash: Just about what it sounds like. This attack actually reaches a bit ahead of the Crusader, meaning you don’t need to risk completely exposing yourself to retribution from any foes who survive more than one hit.


    • Consecrate: An area-of-effect buff that encompasses the majority of the screen, continually healing any fellow fighters within its reach.


    • Laws of Valor: Another buff, this time an immediate boost to all allies’ dished-out damage.


    • Falling Sword: An earth-shaking attack that must be used sparingly, given its moderate cooldown time. The Crusader leaps into the air, then slams back into the ground, damaging all enemies around him.


    • Steed Charge: A quick way to get out of (or into) trouble quickly. The Crusader mounts a phantasmic steed, running through enemies — and leaving a trail of fire in his wake, given the right rune selection — without a second thought.


  • Heavenly Strength: A passive ability that gives the Crusader the power to wield a two-handed weapon as well as a shield, allowing for truly terrifying equipment combos.

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One last treat for current fans of Diablo III on PS3: you’ll be able to fully transfer your characters to the PS4 version when it comes out. Be aware, though, that this is a one-way transfer. Once your level 60 Demon Hunter is migrated to Diablo III on PS4, given the amount of gameplay elements and scenarios introduced in the next-gen version, there’s no going back! Not that you’d want to go back, after seeing it on PS4.

It’s a testament to Blizzard’s mastery of the gaming medium that I, a very busy person who has already sunk 60+ hours into this game on PS3, am shaking in anticipation to forfeit another 60 hours to it when it lands on PS4. We haven’t yet heard when Diablo III is going to make its next-gen debut, but I do know one thing: you guys aren’t going to hear from me for a while once it does.

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4 Author Replies

  • Any announcement of a release date?

  • I’ve never played Diablo. Would the PS4 version be a good place to start?

    • Absolutely! I was big on the original and D2, but never got that into D3 until the PS3 version came out. The PS4 version takes the fantastic PS3 version, makes it a heck of a lot prettier, and adds a bunch of new stuff. I’d heartily recommend it.

  • Could you guys please confirm… if the expansion will come to the ps3 or not ;~;? because nobody confirmed it or not @_@.

    • I actually did ask about that, and the response I got was that they had no news to share about a PS3 version right now.

  • Got my hands on the console today… The image quality is top-notch, massive improvement over last-gen.

  • This could be a blast with a few friends and few cases of beer.

  • any chance for a ps3 to ps4 upgrade like some of the launch games are doing?

  • Please Blizzard, launch this expansion in PS3 too! Diablo III on PS3 is the best version!

  • I hope there will be PS3+PS4 online multiplayer support! That would be awesome!

  • Thanks for the answer ^^, well i really hope we get it on ps3… because i’m not getting a ps4 anytime soon =\, and i bought the ps3 version because i was hyped about the expansion =(.

  • PS3 to PS4 digital upgrade…? Can Sony and Blizzard make that happen?

  • Will their be a ps3 to ps4 upgrade for 9.99$ like COD and BF4?
    Will ps4 version work with remote play on vita?
    Will this be coming to ps3?
    How much will this cost on ps3?

  • Can multiple PSN accounts log in at the same time to use their own characters, earn trophies, etc. in the PS4 version?

  • This game was such a letdown on PC, I have no doubt the playstation versions are better tho (no auction house and such) but it does not justify me to buy it again. This is an uninspired game who does not feel like the last two diablo games. I like the way it is going with the expansion tho but at the core the game is not good enough to make it worth it.

  • Might have to check this version out on PS4

  • Tried the PS3 demo, now I’m convinced to get the PS4 version. I’ll just keep my PC version pre-expansion.

    Question about the menus though… Will there be improvements on how the Skills Tab is laid out? The way it’s displayed in the PC version was very cumbersome (had to scavenge through individual tabs to find a skill I need,) but IMO the console version was a lot clunkier. It’s the only UI component that’s worse than the PC version.

    It would’ve been much better if there’s some sort of overview so you can get to a skill much faster. Something I wish they could work on with the PS4 version, given that you can use the touch pad as a mouse, or as an array of buttons, so you can immediately click to a tab instead of hitting the L/R buttons repeatedly.

  • I must own this!! This is a must buy as soon as it comes out!!!!!! I love Diablo 3!!

  • please give me a release date! i have been holding off for the PS4 version since i played the demo on the PS3 and loved it.. i need it on my PS4

  • I had a suspicion this game wouldn’t be all that good and despite all the “blizzard never makes anything bad” rhetoric for the year leading up to D3, my suspicions were confirmed. To me anyway.
    I enjoy the game, but it’s really just a footnote.

    Anyone know will this be playable offline on PS4?

  • I am absolutely buying this.

    I was already buying it, but having Reaper of Souls included on-disc for no extra cost totally cinched it.

    Uninstalling my PC copy right now. I have like no interest in playing it anymore.

  • I’ve been playing this on the ps3 and soon I won’t have the ps3 soon since i’m getting the ps4. I want to know is how long(hopefully not long and would be nice if they had it on launch) will it come out on the ps4? since some of us have it on the ps3 we don’t have to fork over another $60 or more to get it again on the ps4 do we? its great we can transfer our characters like it was for baulders gate and champions of norath. find out whatever you can and soon please.

  • same goes for “god of war: ascension” for the ps4

  • I wanted to get this for PS3, but I decided to wait for the PS4 version, it is looking good.

  • PS4! F-Yeah… Coming to save the mother f in day yeah.. PS4 F-yeah,
    Xbox your days are through, cause now you have to answer to PS4, F-Yeah!

  • just wish this was launch game for ps4, but the expansion in development being included in the next gen makes me fine with it and glad i resisted the ps3 one. will be nice to play when it comes out with friends. Also my fav character from 2 was the paladin, so i am glad i will be able to start as a crusader from the off when i get it.

    are there any announcements in regards to auction houses or item trading, i’m assuming they will do the same as ps3. Microtransactions? i hope not but you never know these days.

    hopefully the wait won’t be too long, and they will make a solid version.

  • Thanks for keeping us updated Justin. Do you know if there will be cross play for the online between PS3 and PS4? I already own the PS3 version but might trade it in for the PS4 version if we can’t play. 2 player couch co op is nice, until we both need to check a bunch of items that slows down the action.

  • @18:

    The console versions (PS3 and 360) are offline from the start. Highly likely that the PS4/XBOne will be as well. There is couch-coop, and going online for multiplayer is completely optional.

    Also, the console versions have no Auction House, and they will kill the AH on the PC version next year.

  • I’m just really glad you guys didn’t gimp on the resolutions/frames of this game. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  • I have the X-box 360 version, and will definitely be getting this game when it comes out for my PS4 which I will be getting in batch #2 pre-order that I made a while back.

  • So basically D3+Expansion+(all updates and changes) will come at 60$ deal for PS4 ? I’ll buy it once again if true!

  • Queria ver a sony explicar isso:
    Impostos é igual para todos ou no mundo da sony não é?


  • Heck ya! Can’t wait. Loved it on PS3 but knew it would be that much better on PS4. Happy to be getting new content as well. Not super keen on importing chars from PS3 but since I’ll be starting fresh anyways, no big deal. Really looking forward to a release date.

  • its ripper of souls exclusive to ps4? that would be awesome!

  • Hey, you know what would be neat? If they could release the PSOne Classics version of the first Diablo along with this as a promotion. Sure it wasn’t the best but it was fun, I’d buy it.

  • Have they fixed the looting in couch co-op so the loot isn’t catered to player 1?

  • I also want to know if Cross play will be possible with PS3 and PS4? My dad has it for his ps3 but I want it on my ps4. Could we play together still?

  • Is there a possibility to upgrade the version for a cheaper price? Like BF for example?

  • does anyone know the release date for this game on ps4?

  • @avatarguy No Remote Play http://www.gamespot.com/articles/diablo-3-on-ps4-doesn-t-support-remote-play/1100-6416081/
    Remote Play stops to be a killer feature before it comes out. It seems to be completly on devs’ hands instead hardware based and indipendent like firstly announced. Blizzard said Vita screen is small, and it’s true, but if a player still want to play, it is not a problem of them, they have only to map missed controls.


  • O and anyway we can get some avatars for D3????

  • @ Justin Massongill

    With a last name like that, I can only imagine what middle/high school was like for you. It probably would’ve been doubly worse had you been a girl!

  • Not getting it unless we get the $10 upgrade to the S4 version.

  • I just read an article from Blizzard stating that remote play will NOT be available for vita. Why?! I was assured by Sony that every game not utilizing something like the camera will be remote play-able. A few months later this then changed to “We expect most games..” and now its becoming a broken promise just like it always has been. WTF??

  • Hope this comes out on PS3 since i will not be getting a ps4 until i can play my PSN games and ps3 games on there since i have alot of games i play like the original resident evil

  • I was very much looking forward to this game and the ability to play remotely on my PS Vita. With awesome games like FF14 having this ability, I am sure I will enjoy this much looked forward feature in my $60 purchase of Diablo III for the PS4.


  • @Mods: about my comment in moderation, I think you have misunderstood me. I’ve bought a 2nd hand PsVita for playing, also with Remote Play (I loved this feature since was announced and it is one of the reasons I choose ps4), with all games on my pre-ordered PS4 killzone mega bundle, so my comment is for the disappointment of reading a news like no remote play for Diablo3 (one of my favorite game, I dream to play the first two in my bed since childhood) on Ps4. Please contact me for solve any problems.

    Ps: I said the same things of S1lentSurviv0r…

  • But I’m awesome :D

  • Definitely will double dip on this one. Got to reward Blizzard for doing the best version they can with the Ps4 hardware.

    Btw…Justin, Could you please ask Blizzard if they plan to bring Starcraft to the Ps4 console? Thanx

  • @S1leventSurviv0r: probably ;)… But I’m too :p…

  • I’m buying day 1.. but you need to nerf that stupid 5 million gold trophy. I’m not doing that again.. lol.

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