Review | Diablo 4 is a heavenly wonderful game straight from the corners of hell

Diablo 4, one of the most anticipated game releases of the summer, manages to renew itself and stay true to its roots at the same time.

Diablo 4Publication date: 5 June 2023
Studio: Blizzard Team 3 & Blizzard Albany
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Available: PC (Windows, tested), PlayStation & Xbox
Players: 1-4
Age limit: K18
Game played for rating: 45 hours

The biggest game release of the summer by Blizzard Entertainment, which has been plagued by various problems, finally opens the gates of hell for us sinners. Beloved Diablo-the latest part of the game series has been feverishly awaited for years, and the mobile update that appeared in between didn’t exactly arouse love among the players – the mass of people were in favor of it. Belonging to the parent series devil 4:n is instead promised to return cave raiding back to its dark roots.

However, Diablo 4 is not a familiar and safe sequel, but the structures of the game series are thoroughly shaken. The most significant change from the previous one is the investment in the narrative, which was never the strength of the previous games. This time, the player is transported through cutscenes, interesting characters and an ever-deepening world as he chases Lilith, who created Sanctuary.

The plot has many echoes to the most beloved part of the series, Diablo 2:a, which also followed a mysterious wanderer through Sanctuary. In Diablo 4, we are always one step behind the daughter of wrath, but luckily the narrative is not only focused on the pursuit of Lilith, but also on the destruction she leaves in her wake. The stories you hear in the wake of destruction and the human destinies you see cover a wide spectrum of human pain, fear and anger, which are crystallized above all in new interesting side characters and a darker atmosphere.

Diablo 4

Diablo 4 is the first game in the series that manages to arouse interest in the world and see it as something other than just a monster spawning arena. For example, the effects of Sanctuary’s religion cover the entire playable area, which can be seen both in the relations between different peoples and on an even more personal level in the piety of individual persons. Faith is also discussed strongly in the wider themes of the story, which is especially crystallized in the interpretation of the prophecy at the heart of the plot.

Of course, purists can still skip all the dialogue and many cut-scenes, focusing purely on killing demons, making Diablo 4 work like other previous installments. In that sense, Nelonen succeeds excellently in his dual task of simultaneously offering a mindless looting game that satisfies veterans of the game series, and a slightly more role-playing experience for (new) players who want it.

Role-playing is facilitated by moving to a more open world, where there are hundreds of side quests and activities that help breathe more depth into the world. Many of these are bundled together into even smaller story entities, which may focus on the fate of, for example, a small druid community or a single exorcist. The same people thus pass through the task chains and feel a little more personal. Of course, the actual tasks still consist of the familiar scavenging and collecting, but for those who want it, there is now also an interesting background written alongside them.

Despite the clear investment, Diablo 4 still shouldn’t expect awards for its script, but the difference to previous parts is noticeable.

Diablo 4

The open world can also be thanked for the small MMO features introduced into the game, which are visible above all in the other players populating the world. The majority of the game’s content can still be completed completely alone, and really only the bigger world bosses and events require additional support from other players. However, these had not been activated in the review version yet, and in fact, during the entire 45 hours of play, I ran into exactly two other players. However, the betas that were held earlier gave a good idea of ​​what the release version would actually look like, and personally I like the more vivid world that the MMO offers than the wasteland of the previous installments.

In between, it should also be mentioned that there is no way to evaluate the release condition of the game’s servers with the received review version. However, the betas made it clear that this aspect would be taken care of this time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a slight cough right away during the release weekend. Likewise, the micropayment side of the game cannot be commented on before the game’s official release.

Diablo 4

In terms of gameplay, however, Diablo 4 does not break its familiar addictive loop. Players choose one of five unique character classes with their own skill trees and specialties. These skins contain thousands of demons of different looks and sizes, who always drop better equipment in place of the old ones and give experience points to make your character even more powerful. This is continued until the campaign, some other personal goal or boredom is reached.

Before that, you can customize your own killer to your liking, because each character class has several different ways to play and utilize their abilities. For example, with a rogue, you can specialize as an archer or stabber, in addition to which additional variation is brought with possible traps, invisibility, and different elements that can be attached to weapons. Your own god build is promoted by legendary items that drop from time to time, which add various bonuses to specific abilities. In addition to mere randomness, these can also be unlocked for yourself from the rewards of dozens of different caves, so character customization is not just a game of luck.

In terms of versatility, Diablo 4’s character development is not up to par, for example Path of Exile almost paralyzing and requiring external sources of gimmickry, but it still provides a very comprehensive way to take the character in the desired direction.

Diablo 4

Nothing in the gameplay has changed since the first part of the series either, so fans will immediately feel at home. However, the developers’ decades of experience are reflected in an even more refined and enjoyable experience. Killing monsters is hellishly satisfying even after dozens of hours of play, and there’s plenty to do for those who want it long into the future. There are hundreds of different things to unlock, collect and find, and the endgame that opens after a campaign lasting more than 30 hours keeps things meaningful after the story is over.

In terms of feel, Diablo 4 is a little slower than its predecessors, especially at the beginning, but as the levels rise, the monsters also start to resemble a more traditional Diablo experience. However, the action is fortunately not a completely brainless rush, but the different types of enemies often force you to strategize your approach a bit. There are also delicious mechanics for boss battles, learning which is a prerequisite for defeating them. However, not all bosses are worth it, and a few encounters are even a tiring grind against an eternal health meter.

Still, the enjoyment of the gameplay cannot be denied, and every minute spent away from Diablo 4 only makes you want to return to hell to slay the demons even more. And this, if anything, is a good sign of an excellent game – or a worrying and probably medically necessary addiction.

Diablo 4

The endgame increases the amount of tactics with new enemy types, but otherwise it doesn’t change the experience terribly. In practice, the end game is built around a steady, safe game loop with a few extra spices. It is also implemented in a somewhat meaningful way, in that the different activities are suitable for developing certain traits in character development. For example, the Nightmare caves improve the runes used on the Paragon board, while the Helltides that appear at certain times enable the farming of individual equipment. Quantitatively, there could be more new things to do in the end game, but on the other hand, there will probably be hundreds of different caves, leftover side quests and other activities after the campaign ends. There should therefore be no shortage of things to do.

Personally, I was still a little disappointed that the story side of the game is not promoted at all after the campaign ends, but the narrative is boring as hell. The gameplay after the campaign is strictly dedicated to those who enjoy the gameplay of Diablo 4. However, future seasons are promised to bring their own mini-stories to those who want this, and the game will probably be modified a lot in the coming months and years based on the feedback received from the players.

Diablo 4

Visually, Diablo 4 is also pure AAA class. Randomness is often emphasized in slot games for replay value, but hand-tailored landscapes are almost impossible to beat. At its best – that is, often – Diablo 4 looks heavenly when presenting more detailed locations and attractions, if you have time to rest your eyes from the demonic attack. One important reason for the wonderful moments is the use of verticality, which has given the space a three-dimensional feel. The overall look also perfectly supports the other dark atmosphere of the game, which is emphasized with wonderful compositions.

It is therefore difficult to find flaws in the whole, if the genre itself crashes. Diablo 4 is a thoroughly polished and perfected delight that is simply hella fun to play. In terms of evolution, it has been expanded in the right direction without losing the soul of the game series, so it works equally well for Diablo veterans and newcomers.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if Diablo 4 rises in value at least alongside Diablo 2 or even past it. This has a lot to do with the direction Blizzard takes the game and how the seasonal content production will be successful from the developers this time. At least the foundations are right.


Rating: 5/5

“Diablo 4 is a sinfully enjoyable and heavenly wonderful experience that takes the series to new heights.”

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