Eleven years ago, Blizzard Entertainment bestowed us with the third mainline installment of its renowned ARPG series, Diablo. Diablo III captivated gamers with its timeless conflict between the heavenly and hellish realms. Now returning for a fourth chapter, Diablo IV has fans on the edge of their seats. The game debuted on June 6, beckoning players to rise to the challenge and save the Sanctuary. Diablo IV has already claimed the title of Blizzard's fastest-selling game, according to the studio. Is it worth it? Is Diablo IV the quintessence of gaming mastery? Let's find out in our Diablo IV review.
Back to Basics
At the heart of any ARPG lies the promise of a thrilling amalgamation of fast-paced action. A captivating storyline, character growth, and exploration add to the immersive experience. In keeping with this tradition, the Diablo franchise presents you with a seemingly impossible task. The game then dons you with favors to make it remarkably easy.
The game is set fifty years after the events of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Diablo IV centers its narrative around Lilith, and the fallen angel Inarius. The downfall of Malthael, the Black Soulstone shattering, and the Prime Evil's defeat have weakened both the forces of heaven and hell. In a twist of fate, a group of cultists endeavors to resurrect Lilith, despite the dubious outcome such an act may bring.
And faithful to the orthodoxy, Lilith is hell-bent on unleashing her wrath on the Sanctuary, and we gradually learn why. Before her exile, Lilith shared a tumultuous romance with Inarius. Their relationship then gave birth to the Sanctuary and the Nephalem race. Yet, as their love soured, so did Lilith's, prompting Inarius to make the unimaginable decision to exile her. With Lilith's return, Inarius becomes obsessed with reclaiming his place in heaven. He is convinced that the only path to redemption lies in slaying Lilith.
The tale of these fallen lovers is a crucial focal point in Diablo IV, magnifying the themes of hatred and vengeance. As you navigate the game, you'll witness the ramifications of this deep-seated enmity. Lilith's desperate attempts to wreak havoc in the Sanctuary gradually become apparent.
A Sanctuary Shrouded in Enmity
The game takes place in the Sanctuary, also known as the Mortal Realm. This is the physical realm of the Diablo world. Diablo IV promises a large game map, and delivers precisely that, unlike its predecessors. The Sanctuary is a world plunged into darkness; therefore, it has a characteristic dark and harsh ambiance.
Brutal and ruthless monsters lurk in every corner. To survive the map, you need to be relentless. The map is divided into sections. Rather than being divided into separate areas based on story acts, the game presents a connected and continuous map for its overworld.
Furthermore, five regions on Sanctuary are open for players to explore. These include; Dry Steppes, Fractured Peaks, Scosglen, Kehijstand, and Hawezar. Thankfully, you do not have to wait for loading screens when changing location.
All Hell Breaks Loose
For a franchise that has spanned nearly three decades, Diablo consistently pushes the boundaries of the ARPG genre. Its legacy as a genre-defining pioneer is well-deserved. While Diablo IV embraces some new concepts and borrows ideas, it remains firmly rooted in the original principles. Thanks to these principles, the franchise has its renowned status.
As Diablo IV plunges you into a dangerous mission of demon-slaying through the darkest depths of hell, the game's breathtaking visuals impressively depict this infernal realm. It even rivals the standards set by contemporary ARPGs, surpassing its predecessors. The game's core revolves around the relentless pursuit of Lilith and her demonic minions.
Prepare yourself for countless hordes of enemies, forever lurking just a few steps away. The exhilarating pace of the action leaves you eagerly anticipating each encounter.
Furthermore, five distinct classes are available: the Druid, Necromancer, Barbarian, Sorcerer, and Rogue. Each class has a unique playstyle owing to its mechanics, which allow for varied gameplay.
Druids are somewhat of a hybrid class. You can do some spellcasting or shapeshift into a ferocious monster (werebear or a werewolf). The Druids connect with nature, allowing them to summon the elements in human form. Plus, druids are always in the company of two wolves that tear enemies into shreds whenever they come too close.
For avid franchise fans, the Necromancer class remains an all-time favorite, often regarded as the pinnacle of mastery. Their exceptional power lies in their unsettling ability to raise the undead, commanding them to carry out their bidding. Your primary resources to manage are Essence and Corpses.
The Barbarian class is your ideal choice if you wish to charge recklessly into battle. A staple class throughout the Diablo series, Barbarians are renowned for their unrivaled strength and vitality. With each ferocious strike, Barbarians accumulate Fury, which fuels their devastating Fury skills. Notably, Diablo IV introduces the groundbreaking Weapon Arsenal Mechanic. This technique allows Barbarians to wield one-handed and two-handed weapons simultaneously. Your character gets four weapon slots in a single build.
For those desiring to unleash raw elemental damage and a barrage of ranged attacks, the Sorcerer class is the perfect option. Sorcerers are masters of traditional spellcasting, harnessing the immense power of the elements. With a full meter, the sorcerer can deal loads of damage using her grand skills that topple all the hell minions.
Lastly, the Rogue class excels at controlling vast crowds of enemies, a necessity in the face of Diablo IV's relentless onslaught. Rogues merge melee combat with ranged attacks. Moreover, their agility allows them to evade danger or launch swift and calculated strikes. Rogues enjoy access to unique quests unavailable to other classes. The quests offer additional rewards and challenges within the Sanctuary.
The game generously provides armor and weapons, which dictate how well you perform in combat. You'll start with basic items labeled in white. Soon enough, you'll find better and rarer items with unique traits.
Moreover, each item has a power score, so be on the lookout for more powerful items. Items with orange text are remarkably powerful and bear a particular characteristic.
As you venture through the realm, the rarity of weapons and gear serves as a gauge of their formidable might. Brace yourself for the awe-inspiring rarity tiers, signifying extraordinary power.
Diablo IV immerses you in an open world as a dungeon crawler ripe with opportunities for exploration. As tempting as it may sound to explore the hellish caves that Blizzard gave a stellar facelift to, completing the story first gives you access to a mount. If you're new to the series, a mount is a horse. The mount makes traversal in the game easy. The game unveils the possibility of accessing a mount in the early stages. You can view the available options in Kyovashad after you arrive with Lorath.
Additionally, the game offers an addictive gameplay loop centered around collecting gear, upgrading abilities, and enhancing attributes. The effectiveness of your combat prowess heavily relies on offensive attributes for increased damage output and defensive stats to mitigate incoming damage.
In a groundbreaking move, the new title introduces three attributes: Demonic, Angelic, and Ancestral Power. The Ancestral Power magnifies the impacts of your actions. Angelic power makes beneficial effects last long while demonic power increases the time of negative effects.
Moreover, the game features three main quests you can complete in any order as their stories converge before embarking on the fourth quest. However, I found it preferable to undertake the acts chronologically, as each preceding act grants you the recommended levels necessary for the subsequent acts.
For the fourth time, Blizzard Entertainment reaffirms its position as the unrivaled champion of ARPGs. While Diablo IV maintains the familiar hack-and-slash formula against manic monsters, it injects refreshing elements and improvements. The game offers excellent content, and the diverse classes provide satisfying replayability.
Furthermore, the game introduces a microtransaction shop offering only cosmetic items to customize your character. But the studio did not reveal how much the items would cost.
So, what are your thoughts? Will you be picking up a copy of Diablo IV? What game features stand out for you the most? Let us know on our social media handle here or in the comments below.
Diablo IV Review ( PS4, PS5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)
One Hell of a Good Time
Embarking on a descent through hell and its infernal escapes has never been more exhilarating. Diablo IV envelops you in a role-playing adventure set within a rich, macabre backdrop that stays true to the themes of goth and despair. The combat mechanics and loot system exceed expectations, although the storyline feels somewhat lacking.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t overshadow the meticulously crafted lore the developers clearly poured their efforts into perfecting.