This review has been updated to include features of the Ultimate Evil Edition. Scroll all the way down to read the updated segment.
After a prolonged absence, Blizzard games have reappeared on consoles. And if Diablo III console edition is any indication, Blizzard has the capability to produce console games that not only possess the highest caliber content but also an extreme level of accessibility.
Everything that Blizzard has tweaked in order to make the game playable on consoles seems to have helped the game’s accessibility. The game is no longer always online, which means that disabled players won’t have to worry about not being able to storm through Sanctuary if they are having technical issues with the Internet and they are physically unable to address the problem. Likewise, because the auction house functionality has been eliminated, the item drops have been adjusted to give players more useable loot. This takes the character customization that made the original Diablo III so accessible and makes it easier. Players will be able to continuously upgrade their characters’ equipment, making sure that they are prepared for whatever Sanctuary has in store. Likewise, none of the game’s original accessibility-friendly features have disappeared. The game is still extremely forgiving, one editor calling normal difficulty “unapologetically easy.” Beyond that, even though the game no longer uses a mouse and keyboard, it can still be played using one hand. One way to accomplish this is by using a monk. He has the ability to upgrade his standard attack in a way that allows him to teleport toward enemies whenever he strikes, which can make it easier for players who cannot move the sticks and attack at the same time.
From the standpoint of each individual disability, Diablo III just as accessible as the PC version. Yes, there is an extensive color-coding system to tell players the difference between item rarities. But since the rarity is not as important as the effects of a particular item, both visually impaired players and non-visually impaired players will find themselves pulling up the item menu whenever they have new loot to examine. And while it is true that the font can be hard to read, this could be remedied by sitting closer to the TV and treating it more like a computer monitor.
The biggest accessibility issue expected to plague Diablo III console edition is actually more forgiving and more accessible than its PC brother. It’s hardly possible to imagine a player with a fine motor disability not being able to play through and enjoy this game.
Players with hearing disabilities will be happy to know that there are two separate subtitle options: cinematic and in-game subtitles. This ensures that everything important and most ambient dialogue is fully displayed visually. Beyond this, the game doesn’t use sound exclusively to communicate anything. Even players with no ability to hear should have no problems playing this game.
On the whole, Diablo III console edition is not only barrier free, but it defines a new level of total accessibility. This is a game that anyone can play no matter their physical disability or limitations.
The Ultimate Evil Edition that was just recently released for next gen consoles and PC boasts all of these accessible features with the added bonus of sharper visuals, smoother co-op, and other minor tweaks, such as the Nemesis System, which gives players an experience which has not only been ported to, but optimized for Consoles. Combine that with the fact the new console controllers seem to be slightly more accessible due to larger buttons and better layouts and the Ultimate Evil Edition has just that slight accessibility edge that makes it possible to improve on perfection. Whether a player has a fine-motor, visual, or auditory disability, they will be able to enjoy the Diablo III experience in this newest release as easily as they could have when it originally came out.
Overall Rating: Barrier Free
Visual Rating: Barrier Free
Fine-Motor Rating: Barrier Free
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: GameInformer Score: 9.25
The Bottom Line for Disabled Gamers: Diablo III Console Version
-Game does not use color or fine detail to communicate anything important.
– There is a color-coding system in the game.
– Game is extremely forgiving.
-Game features lots of frantic action.
– Game’s cinematic and story dialogue is fully subtitled.
This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.