Skip to main content

Diablo III Xbox 360 Review: The ultimate dungeon crawler returns to consoles

The Xbox One’s November launch looms near, but the Xbox 360 continues to receive many high profile games this year. Grand Theft Auto 5 is pretty much the biggest console release of the year, but right behind it is Diablo III from Blizzard Entertainment and Activision. At long last, Xbox 360 gamers can experience the bestselling PC action-RPG on their console of choice.

Head past the break for our full review!

Enter the Sanctuary

Diablo III begins an old man named Deckard Cain warning his niece of the impending danger that threatens their realm of Sanctuary. Soon a burning object falls from the sky, destroying the building the two occupy. Cain’s niece Leah comes to the player(s) for help in searching for her now missing uncle, and so the quest begins.  

Story is not the main reason people play Diablo; they come for the loot. But the narrative is actually fairly dense and interesting, told through fully voiced interactions with non-player characters. Those conversations are also fully skippable, keeping them from bogging down multiplayer games.

Campaign structure

The game is broken up into four acts, each of which takes place in a distinct region. One act will take about six hours or so to complete. Unlike Borderlands’ more open-world structure, players don’t travel back and forth between each act’s locations.  You complete all of the quests in an act, move the story forward, and proceed on to the next chapter.

That linearity doesn’t hurt the game, though. Players can jump back and forth between any acts and chapters they’ve played. Skip ahead into someone’s multiplayer game and you can always go back to knock out whatever you missed.

A 25-30 hour campaign would be sizable enough for a game, but such a length wouldn’t account for the enduring popularity that the Diablo games enjoy. Diablo III has four difficulty levels, each of which can only be accessed after playing the previous one. You’re meant to progress through the game all four times, with new equipment and challenges only becoming available on those higher difficulties.

Oh, there’s also a Hardcore mode (combinable with any difficulty) in which characters can’t respawn if killed. The threat of permadeath really adds to the tension and challenge!

Still, part of the appeal of the Diablo games is that you can relax and zone out to them, alone or with friends. That’s why Blizzard added a separate difficulty setting for enemies. Turn them down to Easy and the harder playthroughs will go down much smoother than on PC. It’s nice to have a choice!


Adapting a mouse-oriented PC game to console controls can be difficult, but Diablo III actually controls extremely well on the 360. Here are the control basics:

  • You move with the left analog stick, of course.
  • Up to six skills can be mapped to the face buttons, Right Bumper, and Right Trigger – all the buttons on the right, basically.
  • Left Bumper uses healing potions and Left Trigger locks onto targets.
  • The right analog stick activates the new roll move, which lets you get into position for attacks or out of harm’s way in a hurry.
  • The d-pad lets players quickly equip loot or warp back to town.

Each of the five character classes can unlock a total of 24 skills as they level up. By default, you can only map specific skills to specific buttons. Standard, rapid attacks would go on the A button, for instance. Players who want more control over their mix of skills can turn that restriction off in the settings menu. What’s more, you can unlock four different modifiers for all 24 skills. All that customization gives the player a lot of freedom.

As you go out into the game’s many fields and dungeons in order to slaughter hordes of monsters, many downed foes will drop equipment and gold. If you don’t want to fast-equip them via the d-pad shortcut, the Back button’s character menu allows for easy browsing of each item category (helmet, shoulders, chest, weapons, etc.).

Nobody does randomized loot better than Diablo, and the console version of Diablo III improves the drop system even further. Since this version lacks the unpopular “Real-Money” Auction House, the drop rate of Legendary (super high quality) items has dramatically increased. They don’t just drop constantly, but you’ll pick up more than one on each of your campaign playthroughs.

An accessible crafting system gives players even more control over their equipment. The Blacksmith creates weapons and armor from salvaged items. The Jeweler combines gems you find and puts them in slotted equipment. Both artisans can be trained to increase their abilities. Higher training levels require items that only drop in higher campaign playthroughs, so it will take quite a while to fully train them.

Partying up

Games like Diablo III are better played with friends. Not only does this version support online multiplayer for up to four people, it also adds local multiplayer. Yes, you can buy a single copy and play it for dozens of hours with your significant other or friends, all on the same system.

Obviously the entire team must remain fairly close together when playing locally (no split-screen here), but that just encourages teamwork and everybody staying on the same page. All four players can earn Achievements as well.

The only downside to local multiplayer is that only one player can access the Character menu or merchant menus at a time, and nobody else can do anything while someone browses those menus. The d-pad equipping shortcut reduces the need for the stopping the action to check recent loot pickups, but players still need to stop and sell everything to merchants every so often. The pros of being able to play with local friends certainly outweigh the cons though.

You can’t have friends to play with all the time, hence Blizzard added NPC followers to Diablo III. You’ll recruit three companions over the course of the game: Templar, Scoundrel, and Enchantress. Only one can follow along at a time, and they don’t participate in multiplayer games. Whichever one you choose, they’re all super helpful during combat.

Followers gain levels of their own and you can equip them with loot too. They even have interesting back stories that unfold through conversations over the course of the game. And follower progress carries over between all of your playthroughs and characters, so they’ll hold their own even on the higher difficulties.


Surprisingly, Diablo III lacks character-specific Achievements. Instead, it has Achievements for all four difficulty playthroughs as well as reaching level 30 on Hardcore (permadeath) mode. I guess Blizzard wants players to fully develop a single character rather than having to switch between all of them.

Beating the game at least four times will take somewhere between 75-100 hours to accomplish. Other than that, the two most time consuming Achievements are for killing 100 treasure goblins (a fairly rare enemy) and collecting five million gold.

Overall Impression

For fans of loot hunting and action-RPGs, Diablo III just might be the Xbox 360 game of the year. Blizzard did a great job of adapting the PC game for consoles, dropping things that didn’t work (including the always online requirement) and adding local co-op. The game runs beautifully on the 360, at a near-constant 60 FPS, and the load times are practically unnoticeable when installed to the hard drive.

The only question is whether Diablo III will come to Xbox One as well. A Playstation 4 version has been officially announced for 2014, but no word on Microsoft’s next gen console yet. The 360 version performs so well and has such an active community, I wouldn’t hold out for an upgrade that might not come. Somebody’s gotta collect that loot this year, and it might as well be you.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • I have 100 hours already and cannot stop playing this. Great game on 360. Much better than the PC version.
  • Just because you get better loot doesn't make it better, its different, not saying in bad way, but still. Next Gen would be close enough, current Gen is cartoonish
  • They also improved the difficulty, axed the auction house, added local multiplayer, and the roll move. That's enough to qualify as better if you ask me.
  • Just the fact that it works offline automatically makes it 1020% better than the PC version.
  • I played this on PC and ended up double dipping on the 360. Love this game, and it's much more enjoyable on the console. I'm keeping my fingers crosses that it makes an appearance on the Xbox One, and with the impending expansion, I may have to dip in a third time.
  • No joke, I'd totally be happy to grab it on Xbox One as well. :)
  • Its coming to PS4, Blizzard got to,consol market and I bet they want to make as much money as they can, considering dota 2 and the other in that style. So I doubt it won't come even though it haven't been confirmed yet
  • Agreed... Fingers crossed.
  • Dota 2 on next gen consoles would be amazing
  • I am a firm believer if you enjoy an game, and its offered on consoles, then grab them all. I play FFXIV on pc and ps3. I am debating on Diablo for ps3 or 360. Love it on PC.
  • Does it make use of battle net authenticator if have one uses it?
  • I don't believe so.
  • Bring this on Windows 8 with 360 controller support and it's a day one buy.
  • Treasure Goblin isnt time consuming.... Its plain easy.
  • It's not time consuming if you don't find the ring that increases their spawn rate. Otherwise, I haven't seen too many in my single playthrough.
  • I was at 2 million gold by the time I had 100 treasure goblins so it did take awhile
  • I've played the demo with my girlfriend and I really like the console version. Much more fun than on PC.
    However, 720p is a too low resolution for this game. I'd rather have 1080p @ 30fps instead of 720p @ 60fps. I'm gonna wait for the Xbox One version.
  • Same here, enjoyed the demo a lot and waiting for Xbox one, dont feel like buying it 3 time since I've already own PC version
  • I wonder if its better on 360 than PC, but on PC is boring, stupid, super overrated, and it doesnt feel as cool as old Diablo 1 and 2, for the amount of years they took developing this game i thought it would be really cool. but no, it just an overrated crap, "lets put diablo name in a crappy game and people will buy it" and thats what happened.
    of course if games like this came to windows 8, i wouldnt complain... as it would help selling win8 and people finally trying it so they would see its not "fail" or "crap" or "metro is stupid" like people think. but on PC compared to diablo 2 its not good enough, well, compared to other games, even the one i saw last time in kickstarter, some guys were from diablo team and they are making a nice game like diablo but who knows if it will see the light someday.
    but at least it seems on 360 it would be better than playing it on a pc. thats a good thing. nice review!
  • Diablo I and II were good but one of the reasons why, there were no competition at all, nothing to compare it to, thats why we were enjoying it so much, I dont think Diablo III is bad or boring just because it doesn't look or didnt copy other games, dont like it dont play it, simple as that
  • I wouldn't say the PC game is overrated. Go on Amazon and look at the overall rating. It has a 2/5 star with thousands of ppl reviewing it.
  • If I cared what ppl think I wouldn't be enjoying a lot of games that came out. Look at reaction on Xbox one, so what it means I shouldn't buy it cuz most of ppl hate it? No, I enjoy it, thats what matters
  • A lot of people on there give it low ratings for stupid reasons like having DRM. Nothing to do with the gameplay, they just want to cry about something and give it a low score.
  • Yeah, I hate when people abuse public ratings systems like that.
  • What I meant is, Diablo III is like Diablo II with better graphics, if you don't enjoy it anymore it doesn't make the game bad. Any game has room for improvement of course.
  • I love this game. Reminds me of Phantasy Star online for Dreamcast.
  • Anyone know when the digital XBL version will be available? Discs are a pain.
  • It usually takes 1-3 months, but we never know in advance. We'll see!
  • I have some huge gaming posters (door sized printed on photo paper) for sale and Diablo is one of them. If anyone is interested hit me up.
  • I don't play the PC version for one specific reason: I'm metered on my data plan for Internet and can't be connected all the time. This version for Xbox 360 is AWESOME! Love it! Now if it could connect to, that'd be cool. But I didn't create a character too far in with Diablo to warrant it. So hey...why not ;)
  • I played Diable II I don't know how many times but I only got through 3 1.5 times. The ambience is too dark for my liking.
  • I love the game so far, but on the fourth act it keeps freezing my 360 at the same exact place. It's the only game I have ever had freeze on this system. I looked it up online and I'm not the only person this is happening to. Blizzard needs to make a patch for this coding issue.
  • I have this I use to play Diablo II when I was a teen but now that GTA 5 is out and Battlefield 4 around the corner I'm gonna be jumpin back n forth lol
  • I played through the campaign 3 times on PC, but the opportunity (excuse?) to play again and get achievements was hard to resist. The thing is, my wife, who barely plays games, is obsessed with it and gets her kicks off taking all the loot from me. So I die a lot, without the proper gear/$$$. Oh well, its still fun!