Getting this out of the way first: Diablo 3 marks the second time ever that I have finished a game and then immediately played it a second time, with the first being Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly. That’s pretty high praise, so you may assume that I liked D3 quite a bit – particularly since I had to buy the game a second time to do it!
Fortunately, buying the “comes with everything” Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition version was only $19.79 on PSN thanks to the current Spring sale. If I’d had to drop the full sixty bucks it usually costs, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.
Getting some basics out of the way, just in case someone finds this blog post in the future and is curious how the save transfer process goes when you are transferring your Diablo 3 characters from the PS3 game to the PS4 game running on a PS5 – it’s pretty simple and Just Works, at least as of May of 2023. I updated Diablo 3 on the PS3, chose More > Export Save from the main menu, then purchased and downloaded Diablo III on my PS5. When I launched that for the first time, it asked me if I wanted to import the save, and after doing that my character from the PS3 version was ready to roll.
I do have my PSN account linked to Battle.net, and I suspect that is mandatory. I am NOT, however, a current PS+ subscriber. So this doesn’t seem to use the PS+ cloud saves to transfer data.
And, while it’s probably not a shock that the PS4 version looks better than the PS3 version, I wasn’t properly prepared for the quality jump. The PS3 version runs at sub-HD resolutions while the PS4 version runs at a full 4k / 60 fps. Apparently there is some dynamic resolution if you’re running it on a PS4 Pro but the PS5 can brute force its way past the scaling.
So on a PS5 you get something like 13x the number of pixels and there is scarcely a jagged edge in sight.
Bringing your character over doesn’t bring over story progression, however, and since my goal in moving to the updated version was, at least in part, because I wanted to unlock the Whimsyshire level of D3… well, I had to play through most of the game again. Specifically I had to get nearly to the end of Act 3 before I could get into the dungeon that dropped the last component needed to make the Staff of Herding. This is reputedly a 5% drop off a rare spawn in a specific dungeon and takes a lot of time or a lot of luck and…
…well, I am happy to report it only took me three tries. I’m not sure how I would have felt after ten attempts, or twenty.
Whimsyshire was put in the game as something of a middle finger pointed towards a certain group of Very Online People who were offended by early screenshots of Diablo 3, and that is, admittedly, part of why I wanted to play it myself.
Turning pink unicorns into bloody chunks of pink unicorn also made me grin like a maniac in a way that should probably have me on a list somewhere, assuming I’m not already on the list.
Anyway. Unlocking Whimsyshire took me very nearly to the end of Act 3, and getting there was VERY quick considering I’d imported an end-game character so it seemed appropriate to push on.
Completing the remainder of Act 3, then Act 4 to finish out where the PS3 game had ended, and then Act 5 which was the “Reaper of Souls” expansion took only a few hours and left me feeling very satisfied. I don’t play many games where you feel like an unstoppable absolute badass at the end of the story, and this definitely scratched that itch.