Blizzard has returned to the consoles.
On Tuesday Blizzard officially re-entered the console gaming market with the release of Diablo III for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This is the company's first console entry since the original Diablo game was launched on the first PlayStation console back in March 1998. This latest installment is now available throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Blizzard said fans can purchase physical copies of Diablo III at retailers for $59.99 USD. The PlayStation 3 version is also now available digitally through the PlayStation Network, whereas Xbox 360 gamers will have to wait until October 3 to download their digital copies via Xbox Live. Both have been fully localized in English, German, French, Latin American Spanish, European Spanish, Russian, Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese for "multilingual demonic warfare".
"The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Diablo III have been custom-tailored for gamepad-driven action, with a dynamic camera perspective that puts your hero front and center, as well as an all-new user interface and an intuitive control system that make vanquishing evil feel like second nature on consoles," the company said on Tuesday.
Players can quest through the three Acts alone, or fight alongside other players in a party of up to four via same-screen local cooperative play, or online over the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live. Adventuring parties can even consist of both online and local players, the company said.
"In bringing Diablo III to consoles, our main focus has been on making sure we deliver a really fun experience for up to four friends online or on the same couch," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "The game looks and plays great on PS3™ and Xbox 360, especially with the new direct-control elements and new interface. We know players will have a blast battling Diablo on their big-screen TVs."
We took a spin with the PlayStation 3 version back at E3 2013 in June, and found the game surprisingly "at home" on the console given its click-based PC roots. As previously reported, the PS3 controller's left analog stick handles movement while the right stick adds a new evade feature. Push down and the character quickly steps back. Push left or right, and the character jumps left or right.
The skills are all mapped to the right side of the controller. The "X" button is Skill 1, the "Square" button is Skill 2, the "Triangle" is Skill 3, and the "Circle" button is Skill 4. The R1 button is Skill 5 and the R2 button is Skill 6. On the left side, the L1 button is for potions, and the L2 button is for targeting the enemy. Finally there's the D-pad: press up for fast equipping weapons, right for using a Town Portal, and down for pulling up the map.
Naturally some of this may have changed since June. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Diablo III becomes the monster hit on the two current consoles as it has become on the PC and Mac since its original May 2012 release.