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Nov 08

Nov 08

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

Justin Massongill's Avatar Posted by Social Media Manager, SIEA

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.

Diablo III, 06

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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.

Diablo III, 09Diablo III, 08

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):

Diablo III, 04

    • 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.

Diablo III, 05

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.

Add Your Own

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Dago182 said:

November 10th, 9:21 am

so if i already own ps3 version of diablo, i just have to buy it again and it will include reaper of souls?? will there be a stand alone version of reaper of souls on ps4 or anything like that???

not that i wont get d3 on ps4 as i have already sunk about 100+ hours and just want more


Elvick_ said:

November 10th, 9:44 am

No remote play is lame. Let gamers decide if it’s “too small”.

Some reviews complained that Dragon’s Crown on Vita was ‘too busy’ and hard to see what’s going on, and I had no problems. And to me, that type of game is even worse off since you have to be at the right position to hit and it’s easy to miss.

While top down games like Diablo are a lot easier to gauge direction by comparison.

PrinceofXIII said:

November 10th, 12:50 pm

glad i waited on this one!!

DracoLovesRi said:

November 10th, 2:54 pm

Screens are sooooo dark. Looks like Battlefield on that other new console.

Sevyne said:

November 10th, 4:35 pm

Will not support this game without remote play available. It would be one thing if they simply didn’t add the option, but from what I am aware of remote play is already “baked in” for all games and would have to be actively REMOVED completely. What this means is that Blizzard would have to do zero work for it to be remote play functional, but actual coding to remove the functionality. I’m sorry, but that act of maliciousness towards potential buyers is something I will not be a part of.

mastorofpuppetz said:

November 10th, 5:29 pm

Played D3 on PC…was disappointed…Then I tried the demo on PS3, it was so much better. Combat with a controller was great, better loot drops, no forced online or auction house…Def getting this and expansion to play on my new PS4.

Rukia said:

November 10th, 8:43 pm

I’m personally looking forward to playing this, can’t wait to see those new social features

bigrob0084 said:

November 10th, 10:48 pm

Hey I was just wondering, I have D3 on the 360 now but want to get the PS4 will I be able to transfer my characters over or will I have to start all over?


Mando44646 said:

November 11th, 7:01 am

I am very disappointed by Blizzard’s refusal to use remote play. Let us decide if we like it or not – don’t set an example that developers can choose to use a mandatory service or not

shrimpdude said:

November 11th, 8:10 am

No remote play? Well, that was the single reason I was looking forward to this game.

Papafynn said:

November 11th, 8:14 am

Had my first experience with Diablo game over the weekend. I played for 3 hours and this was just the Demo available on PSN! I’m so getting this game, it really really addictive!

JENNY101282 said:

November 11th, 8:42 am

From the sounds of it I don’t think PS3 will get the expansion. Ever! Might have to invest in the PC copy or a PS4 just to get it which is really kinda lame.

crazeeavery said:

November 11th, 9:54 am

Looks good,but whats up with the PlayStation 4 Terms of Service?? Resale
– You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorized by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher.

Elvick_ said:

November 11th, 10:53 am

@63: GTFO, that’s in every ToS. It’s standard legal. It’s been in the PS3’s ToS since… 2007 I believe. If not sooner.

Sevyne said:

November 11th, 2:30 pm

@63: Go away.

Elvick_ said:

November 11th, 6:26 pm

So it DOES have remote play… they really need to work on their PR message. xP

I guess it’s back on my radar again.

DracoLovesRi said:

November 11th, 6:54 pm

Apparently, D3 for PS4 now “definitely” getting remote play with Vita, said at the Review event.

tusunami said:

November 11th, 7:29 pm

Well I’m glad I didn’t but this & just get it for the PS4 version. PS4 day 1 shipping I’m out

en_em said:

November 11th, 8:40 pm

you all realise this won’t be available for PS4 for about another 6 months right?

it’s not slated for release until after the PC version of Reaper of Souls which hasn’t been announced specifically but we assume it will coincide with the removal of the Auction Houses on March 18th next year.

so Diablo III on PS4 won’t come out till after that.

still. .. im looking forward to it and my PS3 will have to suffice until then.

rollin316wizpy said:

November 11th, 11:33 pm

Guys I’ve never played diablo before the third installment and i had it for my 360 and it was fantastic but once hearing it was coming to ps4 with reaper of souls i immediately traded it in. i cant wait for the next gen version, i bet the updated graphics are (sic) !!! I just need to know one thing what is the release date ?

Arcadian_Rebel said:

November 15th, 2:07 am

Release date, please!

jam__7 said:

December 4th, 6:11 am

we need a release date!!!

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