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DiabloMay 13, 2020 4:00 pm CT

Is Diablo 3 better on PC or console?

I own Diablo 3 on the Playstation 4, the Xbox One, and PC. I play it primarily on my PC, so you’d think I must think it’s a better game to play on PC. I do, but not because of the game itself. The PC version of Diablo 3 is potentially the weakest.

It’s better on either console.  I especially like playing it on my Xbox, to the point where I’ve deliberately taken pictures of my screen to use in Blizzard Watch articles with my phone. This is partially because the console editions have the roll mechanic, which I appreciate, but also Diablo 3 is not Overwatch — it doesn’t require a keyboard so that you can stay ahead of players with ridiculous reaction times. D3 is very much a game where there’s a limited amount of playable abilities at any given time — it maps very efficiently to a controller and it’s much easier to hit, say, the X or Y button for an ability than it is to make sure your hands are positioned properly on the keyboard while also clicking the mouse to move or loot.

Gameplay is smoother on console

Diablo 3 on consoles just streamlines this whole process. The only reason I keep playing it on the PC? Multiplayer. It’s much easier for my wife and I to play together on the PC, and that reason is big enough that it outweighs literally everything about the console experience that I prefer.

The simplified inventory system? The ability to roll your way out of incoming damage and thus avoid it? Not feeling like I’m chained to a mouse to move around? That’s all great, but compared to being able to play with all my Battle.net friends on PC, it loses out. I will trade convenience, simplicity, and even liberation if it means getting a play session with my friends, and that’s one place my console experience has been sharply limited.

Also, graphically, the game — which is admittedly eight years old by now — looks much better on PC than on either console, especially the PS4. I have not played it on the Switch, so it could be amazingly fun on that console, but I don’t own one so I can’t say for sure. Still, I think having the ability to play D3 on the go, or in any room of my house, would be a definite plus for the console experience.

Cost won’t be a factor

Cost wise, it’s a wash — Diablo 3 ends up on sale on consoles and gets special editions like the Ultimate Evil Collection often enough that it’s usually a pretty cheap purchase. I spent like $10 USD over Christmas getting it on my PS4, and I think I dropped $30 to get it on the Xbox back when it first came out for that console — I’d even owned a version for the Xbox 360.

As for how much it costs on PC, well, my dirty little secret is I never actually had to pay for it — I got Diablo 3 free with a year of World of Warcraft back when that deal was offered, and a friend basically gave me Reaper of Souls as a birthday present. But the current purchase price for the game on PC is $19.99 USD for the standard edition and $39.99 for the Eternal Collection, so not exactly big money there either. It’s an older game so it’s pretty affordable.

PC is the best choice if you like multiplayer

Honestly, my dream for the game would be controller support on the PC that included the roll mechanic from the console edition. Then I’d play it on PC forever, just because PC is where all my Diablo 3 friends are. If I was doing a checklist, I’d give playability, elegance, and ease of use awards to the console edition — but it’s just so integral a part of the experience to be able to go dungeon smashing with someone else. That’s where the PC version shines, in my opinion. It’s so much better on PC that it outweighs all the ways that the console versions are superior.

So, if you’re looking for some advice on which version of the game to pick up? Ask yourself if you’re going to want to play this game with friends. If the answer is yes, get it on PC. If not? Get it on your favorite console.

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