Diablo Immortal PC Review – Let’s Go Whaling

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In the distant past during BlizzCon 2018, a bombshell announcement was made regarding the upcoming Diablo game – it would be a mobile, free-to-play action RPG. As an individual who prefers to adopt a “wait and see” approach, I had my reservations. It wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned for a Diablo title, but I was willing to give it a chance. I anticipated the potential presence of numerous microtransactions, possibly restricted to exclusive cosmetic items or additional storage options similar to Path of Exile or a Battle Pass. Nevertheless, as long as the game provided an enjoyable experience, that was all that mattered.

Gradually, it became increasingly evident that Diablo Immortal is not exactly a fresh and innovative game. It draws heavily from NetEase’s Crusaders of Light, which epitomizes abhorrent monetization strategies in the gaming industry, not just limited to mobile platforms. Despite the lengthy development process and Blizzard’s apparent dedication to creating an authentic Diablo experience, I still maintained a hint of curiosity. Now, after several years, we find ourselves in the aftermath of the PC port announcement.

“Not only is this devoid of any soul, it thrives on shamelessly seizing cash – its essence entirely driven by monetary gain. The audacity it displays is both exasperating and inciting of fury, while simultaneously evoking bursts of uncontrollable laughter.”

Diablo Immortal stands as a testament to the epitome of terrible game design. It may appear as an exaggerated claim, or even a knee-jerk reaction. Perhaps I did not provide this money-driven monstrosity, which continuously sprouts new items for purchase based on how much you are willing to pay, a fair opportunity. However, the reality remains that unless you possess a chamber that distorts time in a hyperbolic manner akin to Dragon Ball Z, you will never make significant progress towards end-game optimization without investing some money. Any advancements you do manage to achieve are painstakingly slow and accompanied by a myriad of issues at every turn. This is not merely a soulless attempt to extract cash – the pursuit of profit is the very essence of its existence. The audacity displayed is both infuriating and amusing in its absurdity.

Continuing from the events of Diablo 2, the narrative unfolds with the shattering of the Worldstone into fragments. A nefarious entity seeks to exploit its immense power and revive Diablo. As a somewhat unfamiliar presence, your mission is to collect these shattered pieces while bravely combating the malevolent forces. Right from the very beginning, the atmosphere takes on a notably darker tone compared to Diablo 3. It exudes a sense of gloom, accentuated by heart-wrenching deaths that attempt to evoke empathy. I use the word “attempt” because as the story progresses, the demise of numerous secondary characters, whom you spend a mere 20 to 30 minutes (or sometimes even less) with, becomes so frequent that a fresh demise scarcely registers.

Fortunately, this eventually diminishes, granting the cast the opportunity to exhale and exhibit their impressive voice-acting skills. Intermittent moments of lightheartedness amidst the prevailing despair also provide relief. Though the tempo occasionally takes a drastic nosedive (such as in Zoltun Kulle’s library), it generally maintains a reasonable pace. As for the settings, they may seem more compact compared to Diablo 3, yet they still offer ample space for exploration. The graphics are crisp, building upon Diablo 3’s vibrant animated aesthetic while appropriately maintaining a dark and eerie atmosphere.

Each realm exudes a unique essence, although they possess a somewhat derivative quality. The desolate remnants of the Shassar Sea act as the arid expanse, akin to a desert level; the Dark Wood, inhabited by malevolent flora, embodies the essence of a sinister forest level; and so forth. While not particularly exceptional (unless this is your initial foray into the realm of action RPGs), they adequately fulfill their purpose. The accompanying melodies are also pleasing, if not excessively awe-inspiring.

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Despite initially experiencing a swift surge in leveling up, you will gradually observe a decline in the accumulation of XP as you ascend further. Consequently, you may find yourself persisting with a specific set of skills for a longer duration than desired, thus intensifying the sense of repetition.

Alas, that covers the majority of the positive aspects. The combat initiates in a captivating fashion – it exudes a sense of responsiveness and intensity, albeit with a hint of monotony and lack of depth. Engaging in combat while on the move, particularly as the Demon Hunter, offers a delightful sensation….Until you stumble upon a bothersome glitch with the mouse and keyboard, rendering specific movements and abilities non-functional. You’ll attempt to execute attacks – such as unleashing a Rain of Arrows – by incessantly clicking the Left button, only to find your efforts futile.

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Occasionally, my wounds remained unhealed even though the potions were ready and I fervently pressed Q as if my entire existence relied on it. This glitch has been acknowledged by the developer, yet it adds an exasperating level of frustration to combat. There are moments when my character persistently continues to engage in auto-attacks without any respite. Moreover, there are instances when the animation for Explosive Arrow is executed, yet the actual attack fails to manifest.

Gaming with a controller brings a superior experience, yet it comes at the cost of sacrificing precision and fluidity in the Demon Hunter’s movements and attacks. Although you initially progress at a rapid pace, you’ll soon realize that the amount of experience points obtained begins to dwindle as you reach higher levels. Consequently, you are forced to rely on the same set of skills for a prolonged period, intensifying the monotonous nature of the gameplay. To exacerbate matters, the absence of Skill Runes, which once contributed to the game’s diversity in Diablo 3, only compounds the issue.

Instead, you have the opportunity to enhance your skills and amplify their impact. The introduction of Legendary Gear brings a new twist to your abilities. For instance, instead of firing at nearby enemies while using Strafe, you will now have the ability to drop grenades. Some of these modifications are rather lackluster, but there are exceptions. One particular Legendary Gear item enhances Strafe damage by an impressive 10 percent. Remember the outrageous “+12000 percent damage” memes associated with Legendary and Gear Set items in Diablo 3? Well, this new system seems to swing in the opposite direction, which is quite disappointing. On a brighter note, let’s acknowledge the introduction of “Ultimate Skills.” These abilities require a significant amount of time to charge up and ultimately transform your Primary Attack. For example, Explosive Arrow can temporarily morph into Explosive Bolas. However, these transformations often fail to meet expectations, leaving you questioning their purpose (a recurring theme in this game).

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At approximately level 33, an intriguing level gate will obstruct your path. It is advisable to venture into the realm of Elder Rifts and undertake Bounties in order to amass experience points. Progressing through the storyline becomes impossible, as you must confront formidable adversaries, while fervently anticipating the equilibrium of your levels.

Generally speaking, gear seems lackluster. One would assume that this is only a problem in the early stages, but it persists even at level 20, level 30, and beyond. The minimal increases in stats and bonuses hardly add any excitement or sense of empowerment to the gameplay. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse – at around level 33, you’ll encounter your first level barrier. It’s time to grind through Elder Rifts and Bounties to earn XP if you want to progress. You can’t even continue the story, facing off against tougher foes in the process and hoping that the leveling becomes smoother. Unfortunately, these enemies don’t provide any additional experience and take much longer to defeat, which speaks volumes about how Blizzard values your precious time.

It may appear to be a singular event, yet the phenomenon of level gating resurfaces at approximately level 36, compelling players to reach level 40. Simultaneously, a persistent icon resides in the lower-middle section of the screen, consistently displaying the words “High Monster Difficulty.” Engaging with this icon during combat, which occurs frequently while navigating, triggers a pop-up message emphasizing the necessity of enhancing one’s strength. Additionally, it is plausible, even advisable, to consider investing money in the store, but we shall delve into that matter later on.

Noteworthy experience points boosts solely appear to stem from accomplishing the Codex and advancing in the Battle Pass hierarchy. While it does promote engaging in diverse activities, it can also dampen the enthusiasm for indulging in something you truly enjoy and simply immersing yourself in the game. Moreover, you are required to “optimize” your gameplay and ensure that you are constantly consulting the Codex and participating in activities that yield Battle Points, XP bonuses, and the like, instead of simply enjoying the game at your own pace. To top it off, you have the option to shell out real money for Battle Pass Tiers, thereby hastening your progress. It would be quite comical if it weren’t so disheartening.

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Input: Let’s delve into the realm of Bounties. These captivating missions involve tasks such as “Eliminate X number of foes” or “Gather Y quantity of resources from Z adversaries.” Embarking on Bounties not only grants you the chance to acquire some mediocre loot with minimal enhancements, but also serves as a fascinating way to amass experience points. Moreover, as you conquer a series of Bounties, you’ll reach remarkable milestones that reward you with increasingly generous amounts of XP.

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“Prepare to be dazzled by the relentless appearance of pop-ups, announcing the arrival of an exclusive and limited-time bundle. The allure of daily login rewards, conveniently positioned alongside other enticing bundles, will irresistibly nudge you to indulge in a small, yet tantalizing, boost of power.”

Input: But due to the game’s continuously connected nature, you find yourself in a fierce competition with fellow players to secure kills. Snatching kills becomes an inevitable part of this dynamic. However, a small yet bothersome pop-up occasionally suggests, “Why not team up with that player who shares your objective?” And this notification never fails to appear, every single time.

Every fragment of this enticing experience is cunningly designed to entice you into indulging in monetary transactions. Yet, Blizzard’s ambitions soar higher. Endlessly, you shall encounter pop-ups announcing the arrival of exclusive one-time bundles. Daily login incentives conveniently coexist with a multitude of other tempting packages, subtly nudging you to seek a bit more influence, just a smidgen.

While it is possible to acquire Legendary Gems and Items using in-game currency, there are certain limits imposed. The acquisition of Legendary Crests, essential for altering Elder Rifts and obtaining highly sought-after 5-star Legendary Gems, is restricted to one per month. As for Rare Crests, they can only be obtained twice a day and provide a meager 2-star Legendary Gem, if one is fortunate enough. It is worth noting that Hilts, the in-game currency utilized for these purchases, is also subject to limitations.

I’m quite fond of the game’s clever way of informing me on acquiring more (hint: spend some cash, you gullible soul) when enhancing a Legendary Gem or item. The game’s relentless pop-ups, like the constant reminders to explore recommended builds, equip and upgrade Legendary items (according to the game’s advice), and the incessant nudges to click on the main quest for navigation, can be quite irksome.

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“The impression one gets is that the developer seized the immense might of a Diablo 3 end-game protagonist, fragmented it into countless fragments, and embarked on the profitable exploitation of each minuscule portion.”

At the heart of the endgame lies the captivating world of Legendary Gems. The pursuit of these precious jewels is what fuels your desire for power and dominance. By ascending their ranks, you unlock a plethora of extraordinary advantages such as heightened Magic Find and amplified destructive prowess. Alas, the path to greatness is not without its challenges. Apart from the varying stellar ratings bestowed upon Gems, with 5-stars reigning supreme, you must also toil relentlessly to acquire additional Legendary Gems in order to enhance your existing ones. This endeavor demands an exorbitant expenditure of time and resources, as achieving the coveted rank 10 for a single Gem becomes a herculean feat.

The impression arises that the developer has harnessed the ultimate might of a Diablo 3 end-game protagonist, fragmented it into countless fragments, and proceeded to monetize each fragment exhaustively. Even though you attain noteworthy bonuses – which hold considerable weight and undeniably impact your offensive and defensive capabilities – the ultimate reward simply lacks the desired satisfaction. Interestingly, abilities adhere to a cooldown mechanism instead of depleting resources such as Mana. How does one diminish these cooldowns? Naturally, by awakening the potential within your equipment.

Embrace the awakening and witness a surge in your Resonance, unlocking a plethora of meager advantages. This extraordinary transformation is exclusively available through the coveted Dawning Echo, a paid commodity that remains out of reach without the possession of Eternal Orbs. Regrettably, there are no means to procure Eternal Orbs within the confines of the game. However, an alternative route to acquire Platinum, the currency necessary for purchasing both Legendary and other Gems, exists through the in-game Market. Naturally, Eternal Orbs can also be exchanged for Platinum, providing an avenue that requires monetary investment. In one way or another, financial contribution becomes a key aspect. So, shall we revel in this delightful pursuit?

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To add the cherry on top, there exists a display that exhibits your ultimate Combat Rating, serving as a persistent reminder that your existing load-out is utterly subpar. “Enhancement is necessary,” it advises. “Investing some funds would be wise.”

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Diablo Immortal, a PC adaptation of a mobile game, proves to be an absolute nightmare for players. The user interface is nothing short of abysmal, inundated with an overwhelming barrage of pop-ups and other nuisances.

It could be argued that such is the nature of mobile games. However, when it comes to Diablo Immortal as a PC adaptation, the gameplay experience becomes exasperating. The user interface proves to be nothing short of dreadful, inundated with obnoxious pop-ups. Moreover, navigating through the game using the keyboard and mouse results in imprecise movements and skill execution. To add insult to injury, a glitch triggers the main menu to incessantly appear whenever the “Esc” key is pressed, causing frustration during inventory checks.

The performance of the game is quite unpredictable. Occasionally, it glides seamlessly at a delightful 60 FPS, but as soon as you venture into new territories, it takes a plunge, causing a drop in the frame rate. It’s rather puzzling since even during periods of inactivity, these frame drops persist. Surprisingly, my system surpasses all the necessary hardware requirements and I’ve made numerous adjustments to the in-game settings, yet the issue remains unresolved.

Don’t overlook the glitches. There was a moment when the game froze while trying to dismiss the suggested builds notification. While attempting to unravel a puzzle linked to a tome, the game abruptly disconnected and failed to reconnect. Pressing “Tap to play” even resulted in a crash at one point. The audio mysteriously disappeared while using a controller, only to reappear minutes later like magic. On mobile, there was an error encountered while trying to merge a Battle.Net account due to regional disparities (as of my last check, there is still no solution for this issue).

However, Diablo Immortal can still provide enjoyment without the need for spending money, even though it may appear to be a simplified version of Diablo 3 when it comes to acquiring loot and utilizing abilities. It is worth noting that certain boss encounters require strategic maneuvering, such as evading projectiles (though this is quite effortless, it does add variety). Yet, it must be acknowledged that several bosses are directly borrowed from Diablo 3. The Curator takes the form of Zoltan Kulle; the final boss possesses similar characteristics to Diablo; and despite some new attacks, Leoric remains unmistakably himself. Additionally, numerous tile-sets, enemies, sound effects, and more are directly taken from Diablo 3.

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I began with a glimmer of hope, transformed into a raging storm, and now find solace in the simple act of fleeing this chaos.

So, here’s the question that arises – why opt for Diablo Immortal when you can simply indulge in Diablo 3? Sure, it offers a plethora of content, if you find the idea of constantly jumping through hoops, be it monetary or otherwise, enticing. The campaign is satisfactory, occasionally even commendable. However, the overall feeling of progress is tarnished by its pay-to-win system. While such a structure may be somewhat acceptable in the realm of mobile gaming, there are far superior alternatives available on PC, such as Grim Dawn, Path of Exile, and Last Epoch. Additionally, you have more premium experiences like The Division 2 and Destiny 2, which not only provide a fulfilling gaming experience but also won’t drain your entire life savings.

Diablo Immortal possesses the potential to be a promising creation. While not extraordinary, it does exhibit traces of goodness in its overall atmosphere, narrative, battles, and artistic approach. Nevertheless, the current version proves to be utterly tiresome to handle due to its numerous PC complications, excessive presence of pay-to-win microtransactions, and unnecessarily intricate mechanisms. Additionally, the bothersome user interface, uninspiring loot, and absolute lack of integrity in the guise of the game add to the frustration. Initially filled with optimism, I gradually transformed into a state of fury, and now, I am merely grateful to have escaped this chaotic ordeal.

The PC version of this game was thoroughly scrutinized and assessed.

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