The devilish burden of convoluted subsystems, currencies, and microtransactions smothers the seamless controls and captivating gameplay of Diablo Immortal.
The essence of gameplay in Diablo is unmistakably identifiable.
The controls have been optimized and prove to be highly efficient.
Appears and resonates beautifully.
Unnecessarily intricate in-game currencies and mechanisms.
Astonishingly predatory microtransactions.
A brief encounter with a severely limited endgame.
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15 hours of pure gaming bliss have been savored.
The hordes of the underworld are boundless, ceaselessly pouring through the rupture in pursuit of untainted life force to deliver to their ruler. Suspending their fresh captives upside down, these malevolent beings will gradually deplete their prey of all vitality over extended periods and excruciating days. Subsequently, when devoid of anything worthwhile, the unfortunate fated souls will be discarded, as they – or more precisely, their resources – will have nothing more to offer. Diablo Immortal also presents a multitude of demons, albeit of a lesser “supreme malevolence” in the most recent installment of the saga.
In a rare departure from tradition, Blizzard has entrusted another entity with a major role in the development of a Diablo game for the first time since Sierra’s involvement in the Diablo: Hellfire expansion back in 1997. Collaboratively crafted by Blizzard and NetEase, Diablo Immortal showcases glimpses of the former’s expertise in the action-RPG genre and the latter’s proficiency in mobile gaming. However, alongside these promising attributes, the game carries a burden of unfavorable elements that embody the most detested aspects of the mobile gaming industry.
Diablo Immortal essentials
A demon by any other name
The first Diablo game gave birth to a revolutionary genre, which I fondly dubbed the “mystery shopping game” due to the thrill of discovering new blue, yellow, and gold items whenever I unleashed my loot pinata smashing skills. Initially, the gameplay was more straightforward, but as time passed, aRPGs such as Path of Exile and Diablo 3 have evolved to offer a diverse and strategically immersive experience. Now, I can anticipate unleashing a barrage of arrows, teleporting, dashing across the battlefield, and even manipulating time around my characters – all as commonplace elements.
Diablo Immortal, the latest aRPG sensation, effortlessly combines sleek visuals and user-friendly controls for an unforgettable smartphone gaming experience. In a matter of hours, I found myself fully immersed in the world of Diablo Immortal, executing flawless flying kicks that obliterated skeletons and demons with style. Mastering the art of evading enemy attacks, strategically unleashing devastating blows, customizing my skills, and collecting vibrant, color-coded loot became second nature. The seamless control scheme allowed me to effortlessly navigate the battlefield, leaving me craving more adrenaline-fueled combat and eagerly awaiting my skill cooldowns.
Blizzard’s true genius shines through when it meticulously crafts its creations, seamlessly blending components from various games into its unique tapestry, and tirelessly refining features until they become intrinsic to entire genres. While Diablo Immortal does draw inspiration from its predecessors, it follows a similar borrowing pattern as Diablo 3, lacking the significant refinement we have come to expect.
Upon reflection, Diablo Immortal seems to have mistaken itself for a grand matrimonial celebration, as it introduces fresh elements, nostalgic elements, borrowed ideas, and an unexpected twist that leaves its player community feeling melancholic.
Melancholy of infinite microtransactions
When delving into the world of Diablo Immortal, one cannot ignore the colossal 55-ton demon lurking in the shadows, disguised as a cash shop, wreaking havoc across the entire game. This monstrous microtransaction beast shamelessly devours vital aspects of Diablo Immortal, devouring them whole, leaving behind a trail of destruction. In essence, these microtransactions have jeopardized the very essence of what makes a Diablo game so significant.
Every single droplet within an aRPG holds a sacred significance in my eyes. Every vibrant and radiant acquisition that finds its way into my inventory, be it through treasure chests or from the vanquished foes, carries with it the potential for an enthralling surprise. Each one possesses the ability to bestow upon me an unusual enhancement that ignites a fervent curiosity, prompting me to construct my character in a completely different manner. Alternatively, it may offer a substantial statistical upgrade to my weapon, even if it possesses sockets of mismatched hues, thereby leaving me in contemplation of whether the change is truly worthwhile. These minuscule anecdotes are what magnetically attract me towards an aRPG, wherein each item typically unfolds a fresh chapter in an ever-unfolding narrative.
Nowadays, a surge of aRPG’s has led to a rise in the frequency of item drops – a drastic departure from the era where my heart would leap in exhilaration as an unidentified Rare or Unique item erupted from the lifeless body of a conquered boss. However, Diablo Immortal goes beyond mere inundation with a plethora of items; it ingeniously manages to strip away my excitement through alternative means. By shifting the crux of power and advancement towards legendary gems, which can be inserted into sockets on my gear to grant immense stat boosts and exclusive passive abilities, Diablo Immortal has diminished my enthusiasm for my equipment.
Typically, the progression of time would suggest that legendary gems were merely another addition to the vast array of sought-after equipment: the trendy item to pursue at the pinnacle of the equipment hierarchy. However, by rendering the acquisition of five-star legendary gems, which serve as the key to accessing endgame content, nearly unattainable – and demanding an exorbitant amount of currency and/or laborious effort to enhance their rank, even if I do manage to obtain them – Diablo Immortal has severely hindered its own potential. Why should I invest in my stylish new trousers if I am obligated to engage in extensive efforts to fully utilize their benefits?
Dumpster diving for ham scraps
The experience I’ve had with Diablo Immortal has left me with a peculiar sensation. It has proven to be one of the more enjoyable mobile games I’ve engaged in, as I traverse the game world, complete quests, and vanquish feeble demons with satisfying blows to their bulbous craniums. However, akin to the impulse purchase of gum at the cashier, I find myself eager to discard it as soon as I reach my vehicle, with only a lingering taste that arouses my appetite for a substantial feast.
I splurged a grand total of $5 on Diablo Immortal’s battle pass, after hearing some buzz about it. No regrets though, as I did manage to have a blast, even if it didn’t leave a lasting impression. Engaging with Deckard Cain and catching up on Charsi’s (Diablo 2’s talented blacksmith) whereabouts, obliterating demons, and the seamless controls on my phone, including handy features like auto-navigation for daily quests, made the experience worthwhile. Throughout my journey, Diablo Immortal never hindered my progress or made me feel stuck.
Diablo Immortal haunted my enjoyment, lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce whenever I had to navigate its unnecessarily intricate and oppressive currency and crafting systems. Endless prompts and menus reminded me of the countless subsystems I had to engage with to acquire my daily dose of hilts, crests, orbs, essences, coins, pretzels, and samoflanges. Gradually, my ability to immerse myself in the well-crafted aspects of Diablo Immortal began to wane.
At last, I had no choice but to bid farewell to my phone and distance myself from Diablo Immortal, as it had transformed me into a mere mortal, devoid of any significance. All that remains from my encounter with the game is the subtle scent of sulfur and the presence of brimstone, accompanied by a lingering urge to confirm the existence of my wallet, while an insatiable craving for Diablo 4 continues to consume me.
As the esteemed Senior Writer at TechRadar Gaming (TRG), Phil possesses an impressive track record. Having spent three fruitful years as a freelance writer for PC Gamer, he has delved into the depths of every genre known to man. Over the span of 15 years, Phil has honed his skills in technical writing and IT documentation, but has recently shifted his focus to the world of traditional gaming. What truly drives him is his unwavering devotion to the allure of diversity, recognizing how various genres serve as boundless playgrounds for creativity and the emergence of captivating narratives. Despite having accumulated thousands of hours immersed in the realms of League of Legends, Overwatch, Minecraft, and an array of survival, strategy, and RPG games, Phil still manages to make time for his cherished offline hobbies. These include engaging in tabletop RPGs, indulging in the intricacies of wargaming, perfecting the art of miniature painting, and even hitting the ice for a thrilling game of hockey.