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 console edition is barrier free. For starters, players with sight disabilities will find this version of 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 was that by taking a game which had been completely fine motor accessible and adapting it for console controllers Blizzard would alienate many disabled gamers. This is nowhere near the case, however, as the game maintains its high standard for fine motor accessibility. We’ve already mentioned that the game can be played with one hand. But there is also an option to enable elective mode which allows players to map any character abilities to any of the trigger, shoulder, or face buttons once the character is of a high enough level to unlock all the abilities. The end result is that while there is no option labeled controller customization, players will have the ability to design virtually any control scheme to fit their needs, even if that means using all of the character’s defensive abilities and only couple of their primary or secondary abilities. The type of customization that is most prevelant in Diablo III is characters customization. Each of the six classes is unique and plays in different ways. Combine this with an endless tide of items and equipment with which to equip your character, and each player will have an experience slightly different from the rest of their peers. For disabled gamers this means that they will have the opportunity to tailor a character that helps compensate for their limitations. If at all possible, all of these new changes mean that 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 realease as easily as they could have when it originally came out.
Please feel free to leave comments below the article that address your particular accessibility challenges with this game. If you feel there is a major omission in this review, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “revision” in the subject line. Please include specific details regarding anything we may have missed. If necessary, we will update our review based on your feedback.
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.