Review: Diablo 4

review diablo 4 191718

Paving the road to Hell

Throughout my experience with Diablo 4, my mind was consumed by the sheer precision of a well-crafted loot-centric action-RPG.

Games of this genre, when executed flawlessly, have the ability to captivate and mesmerize you. The rhythmic dance of hacking and slashing, coupled with the thrill of discovering rare treasures and witnessing your stats skyrocket, releases a surge of euphoric chemicals in your brain. However, if the execution falls short, the inherently repetitive nature of the gameplay loop can quickly become monotonous. With Diablo setting the benchmark that countless action-RPGs have followed, the arrival of new games in the series always brings high expectations. Will Diablo 4 reignite our passion for this genre, or will it relinquish its throne to a new ruler?

Being unfamiliar with the Diablo series during my upbringing and only truly immersing myself in Diablo 3, I didn’t exactly approach Diablo 4 with intense scrutiny. Nevertheless, after immersing myself in the campaign and witnessing the vast array of offerings in this new world, I can assert with confidence that Diablo 4 stays true to the high standards set by its predecessors. Regrettably, the presence of modern video game monetization serves as a stark reminder of why we are unable to enjoy pleasant things.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Input: Diablo 4 is a highly anticipated game that will be available on multiple platforms including PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It is developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, with a scheduled release date of June 6, 2023. The game will be priced at $69.99.Get ready for the epic arrival of Diablo 4, a gaming masterpiece that transcends platforms. Brace yourself to embark on this thrilling adventure on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Immerse yourself in the captivating world meticulously crafted by Blizzard Entertainment, the visionary developer and publisher behind this highly anticipated game. Mark your calendars for the monumental release on June 6, 2023, and secure your copy of this awe-inspiring experience, priced at $69.99.

From the very beginning, Diablo 4 makes it clear that it caters to a mature audience. The summoning of the formidable antagonist, Lilith, involves copious amounts of bloodshed, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Grisly deaths and the dismemberment of enemies are prevalent throughout the game, persisting until its conclusion. This is not the Diablo that your father, who exclusively played Diablo 3, would recognize. In fact, the likelihood of your slightly older sibling having experienced this version of Diablo seems rather slim.

Diablo 4 dedicates considerable energy to its narrative, yet the plot failed to strike a chord with me. The writing and framework lack the necessary development to truly immerse oneself in the characters, resulting in the grander story elements falling short of their potential impact. The main ensemble failed to capture my interest, and I remained indifferent towards the destiny of Sanctuary. While enthusiasts of the Diablo lore may experience astonishment or emotional resonance from Diablo 4, it left me entirely unaffected.

It’s truly disheartening how the cutscenes and cinematics in Diablo 4 are flawlessly executed. Despite the lackluster writing, I couldn’t help but feel an adrenaline rush as I embarked on thrilling encounters throughout the adventure. Nevertheless, the storyline seamlessly weaves together a multitude of distinct settings for players to conquer. And in an action-packed RPG that strives to captivate you for countless hours, that is the fundamental aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Crawl every dungeon

Diablo 4 cleverly maintains its fundamental formula, making only subtle alterations. Whether embarking on the adventure solo or with companions, gamers will engage in relentless battles against countless adversaries while skillfully employing cooldown-based abilities and consuming rejuvenating potions. With a stroke of luck, one might stumble upon loot of diverse rarity, capable of revolutionizing their gameplay with its exceptional attributes. This cycle of exhilarating gameplay and repeated progression continues until satisfaction is achieved.

See also  Diablo 4 Player Makes Transparent Map Overlay

Nevertheless, Diablo 4 breaks new ground by incorporating controller compatibility right from the beginning. Consequently, players are granted the luxury of a dedicated dodge button, along with encounters that are intricately designed with fluid movement in mind. The exhilaration intensifies during boss battles, where the gameplay leans towards MMORPG-style mechanics and even introduces bullet-hell-style projectiles that require skillful dodging at higher levels. This innovative approach perfectly aligns with Diablo 4’s progression, providing a seamless evolution of the series’ gameplay. Throughout my experience, I found myself consistently thrilled by encountering fresh adversaries and conquering the distinctive challenges presented by the game.

The one small aspect that bothers me is that, apart from boss battles, regular enemies only partially embrace these mechanics through the utilization of potent attacks signaled by lengthy wind-up animations. In the midst of being surrounded by adversaries (and given that this is Diablo, such situations are bound to occur), it becomes effortless to meet one’s demise even with full health solely due to the simultaneous employment of their most formidable strikes by five inconsequential foes. Thankfully, this is a far cry from ruining the game, since Diablo 4 equips you with abundant potent means to retaliate.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Do you want to climb a skill tree?

Embark on your thrilling journey by selecting among the five character classes available in Diablo 4. As you delve into the intricate skill trees of each class, you’ll discover that a single character encompasses a myriad of captivating playstyles to explore.

Many games in this genre often struggle to find the perfect balance between being too restrictive or too overwhelming when it comes to customization. However, Diablo 4 manages to walk this tightrope with finesse. Initially, the skill tree is straightforward and easy to comprehend. You are presented with a manageable selection of choices and guided along a subtly directed path to develop your character’s abilities. As you delve deeper into the game and become more familiar with your class’ strengths and weaknesses, you will discover a plethora of synergistic build options just waiting to be explored. Thankfully, Diablo 4 offers a convenient respeccing system, although be mindful that excessive swapping of character builds comes at the cost of losing your hard-earned gold.

From the very beginning, I crafted my Barbarian as an indomitable force wielding a colossal mace, effortlessly cleaving through hordes of monsters. As time went on, I began to grasp the immense potential of his Berserk enhancement, a magnificent surge of strength and swiftness that demanded unwavering control. Experimenting relentlessly with my character’s development, I underwent a profound metamorphosis, emerging as a relentless and furious dual-wielding beast, forever consumed by unyielding wrath.

It brought forth a tremendously dynamic play style, where I skillfully balanced stunning my adversaries and launching unyielding assaults, all while precisely timing my Death Blow ability to vanquish enemies at precise levels of health. The complexity of the class increased, yet the immense gains in damage per second made it all worthwhile. I adored the seamless ability to personalize my gaming experience without having to switch characters. Whether I desired to rely on sheer luck or strategic thinking, I could effortlessly focus on spinning my way to victory. Ultimately, my character flawlessly embodied my ideal style of play, akin to a flawlessly crafted glove.

Diablo 4 masterfully attains the pinnacle of player liberation while preserving the harmonious balance of a finely-tuned action-RPG. It assures you of discovering an enticing array of character builds, provided Blizzard ensures their enduring viability.

Screenshot by Destructoid

All things imbalanced

When it comes to Diablo 4, if there’s one gripe I have – apart from the matter I’ll address later – it revolves around its current state of balance.

Embarking on my journey, I decided to delve into the treacherous realm of World Tier II, seeking an exhilarating experience. The sheer joy of triumphing over more formidable adversaries and reaping greater rewards in the form of gold and experience was truly gratifying. Little did I know, however, that surpassing the recommended level for quests or areas would invoke a daunting response from my foes, matching their strength to mine. As I confronted my first formidable story boss, a disheartening realization struck me – the gear I had painstakingly acquired paled in comparison to the monumental challenge that lay before me. Perhaps I had ventured into uncharted territory, biting off more than I could chew, while grappling with the perplexing predicament of loot scaling.

See also  Best Diablo 4 Sorcerer Builds

As I delved deeper into the game, I noticed that the challenge would frequently oscillate in a remarkably unpredictable manner. There were instances when I confronted pivotal bosses in the storyline, and they could barely make a scratch on my mighty Barbarian, crumbling under my relentless assault. On the other hand, I would embark on a sidequest of equal level, only to face a miniboss that pushed me to the brink of survival, forcing me to fight with all my might. I must confess, after fine-tuning my character’s abilities, I actually embraced these sudden spikes in difficulty. However, they occurred so frequently throughout my campaign that I couldn’t attribute them solely to my character’s development or the equipment I wielded.

Luckily, this imbalance was eventually rectified by the conclusion of the campaign, reaching a captivating climax. Believe me, if this were my primary concern with the game, I would be overjoyed with the overall outcome. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we address the insatiably greedy elephant present in the situation.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Greed and Gluttony

Within the preview version of Diablo 4, the absence of all microtransactions and the highly anticipated battle pass system was notable. According to official sources, this was attributed to technical logistics. However, I was presented with captivating visuals and videos showcasing the functionality of these features. As a result, it was revealed that the cosmetic shop would be seamlessly integrated into one of the primary in-game menus. Personally, I found this placement to be excessively intrusive.

Diablo 4 proudly presents itself as a dynamic online experience, emphasizing the importance of staying connected and engaging in multiplayer elements. While I can understand the inclusion of cosmetic microtransactions if we perceive the game as an MMORPG, it seems inappropriate for such purchases to be integrated into the core gameplay loop of a game that costs $70-$100. This not only disrupts the immersive experience but also creates a subtle psychological temptation that intensifies as you spend more hours playing and constantly come across the alluring “SHOP” tab.

If this were a sight reserved exclusively for logged-in players, its impact wouldn’t be as severe. However, given that Diablo 4 emphasizes the acquisition of aesthetic items, the presence of the shop within the game takes on a particularly deceitful quality. Such a feature would be understandable in a free-to-play game, but seems out of place in a title that demands a premium price.

The shop, fortunately, remains hidden within the depths of the main character menu, where your interactions mostly reside. Primarily functioning as a map screen, this menu spares you the need for frequent visits to the shop. However, things take a different turn when the battle pass emerges, unraveling a whole new set of challenges.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Sloth, Envy, Pride

Embracing a live service model, every game plunges into a realm of thrilling unpredictability. With fervent dedication, players are bestowed with boundless opportunities for growth and gratification. Yet, amidst this exhilarating prospect, lies the disconcerting truth that the very game you invested in may metamorphose into an unrecognizable entity. Such a thought compels me to affix an asterisk to any endorsement of Diablo 4.

Take, for instance, the initial buzz surrounding epic clashes and ever-changing game features, it truly sends shivers down my spine. The fleeting nature of time-limited offerings has played tricks on my mind, leaving me restless and consumed by endless quests in the past. However, as fate would have it, things have somewhat shifted, especially considering that gaming has become my profession. Yet, if we were to rewind the clock three years back, these very mechanics would have wreaked havoc on my well-being. I do understand that some individuals may tolerate the concept of battle passes, but never have I come across a sole soul uttering the words, “You know what would truly enhance this 80-hour grind? Imposing a strict deadline.”

See also  Physical Damage or Crit Chance

Unveiling a live service model, Diablo 4 managed to intricately intertwine with my gaming experience, albeit not for the better. The act of logging in morphed into a prolonged affair, courtesy of server connections. The absence of a pause button left me at the mercy of untimely disconnections, often resulting in lost progress. To add salt to the wound, these connection hiccups would unapologetically reset dungeons and transport me back to unyielding quest checkpoints. While my internet tribulations cannot be entirely attributed to Diablo 4, its repercussions certainly bear witness to their malevolent influence.

In exchange for these obstacles, players are bestowed with a myriad of multiplayer elements that possess the potential to thrive beyond the realm of a live service setting. While this concept can be applied to other MMORPGs, contrasting Diablo 4 with its predecessors sheds light on the precise gains and losses at hand. A decade has passed since Diablo 3 first encountered this predicament, yet its significance remains intact in present times.

In the realm of live service games, trust forms the bedrock upon which the allure of substantial updates is built. Prior to embarking on your journey into the realms of Diablo 4, introspect deeply and ponder upon whether the revered Blizzard is worthy of your unwavering faith, promising a continuously evolving experience in the times to come. Should doubt cloud your mind, find solace in the knowledge that Diablo 4’s fate may sway unexpectedly, ushering forth a transformation that could either elevate it to unprecedented heights or cast it into the abyss of disappointment.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Deal with the devil

It’s truly disheartening that I have to address these matters, considering how much I genuinely relished my time with Diablo 4. Despite immersing myself in the game incessantly, there remains an insatiable desire within me to embark on the untrodden quests and enhance the prowess of my character. Frequently, I found myself oblivious to the passage of time, completely engrossed in the captivating cadence of Diablo 4. However, my euphoria would abruptly dissipate whenever my internet service provider encountered a glitch, promptly grounding me back to reality.

The creation of this game exudes an undeniable fervor and skill. The intricately crafted landscapes awaiting your exploration and the diverse adversaries you’ll encounter contribute to Diablo 4’s sense of wholeness, a rarity in the contemporary era. It would be a delight to revisit this game in a year and proclaim that it has surpassed its current state. However, the inclusion of live service elements in the meantime seems solely motivated by the desire to promote microtransactions. Even if one manages to overlook these aspects, it is inevitable to acknowledge that they detrimentally impact the overall quality of the final product.

Input: For fans of the series, Diablo 4 presents a captivating argument to be your next primary gaming experience. However, for those who fall outside this category, the looming presence of cosmetic microtransactions and live service components casts a somber shadow on this polished action-RPG formula. Thankfully, the game possesses enough strength upon initial release to captivate and engage anyone brave enough to immerse themselves in its captivating universe. Every moment I spent playing Diablo 4 was exceptional; my only wish is for it to maintain this level of excellence.

[The following assessment is derived from a pre-release version of the game graciously provided by the publisher.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *