Published on May 31st, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor
Diablo IV Review
Summary: Get your fingers limbered up for a return to the world of Diablo, with updated visuals and gameplay elements... it's a hell of a lot of fun!
About: Diablo IV is the next-gen action RPG experience with endless evil to slaughter, countless abilities to master, nightmarish Dungeons, and legendary loot. Embark on the campaign solo or with friends, meeting memorable characters through beautifully dark settings and a gripping story, or explore an expansive end game and shared world where players can meet in towns to trade, team up to battle World Bosses, or descend into PVP zones to test their skills against other players – no lobbies necessary – with cross-play and cross-progression on all available platforms.
Diablo IV Review
It’s back! Diablo IV is everything I wanted in a new release in the series and more. After reviewing the remake of Diablo II recently I came away a bit underwhelmed. There was nothing wrong with the game… but it just felt very much stuck in the old game style. Diablo IV is arguably the same game… but the modernized elements just made it far more engaging for me. But I should probably give a quick intro to the story before continuing.
Diablo IV starts with the return of Lilith, summoned by a dark ritual after eons in exile, her return ushers in an age of darkness and despair. You can select from one of five iconic character classes to battle the forces of evil over five acts spanning the world of Sanctuary and beyond in an effort to stop her reign of terror. As you make your way through the lands you will see the influence of Lilith on the people and beasts of the world. Her mere presence can cause people to live out their lusts, their violence, their darkest desires. But you don’t stand alone… there are some who oppose her and to succeed you must work together to take back the world.
In terms of gameplay… well you need to start at the beginning and that means character selection/creation. As mentioned there are five iconic classes to choose from: Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Rogue and Sorcerer. Each character can then be customised, changing their face, hair, makeup etc. There are 120+ Dungeons and Side Quests to engage in and personally I found myself almost accidentally doing the main story quests because it’s so much fun just exploring and engaging with any quests you come across that I was happy to just complete quests as I found them.
There are certain quests that have more impact than others, most notably are the Stronghold quests. These are basically missions in which you must clear enemies, culminating in a boss, from an area… after which people can move back into the area and with a shrine lit the area can move back towards the light. I encountered one of these in which I kept dying and at the time I thought… fine, I’ll level up and come back when I’m more powerful. It wasn’t until I returned that I noticed that the challenges also level up when you do. But it’s not just gaining a level that helps you overcome these challenges… it’s the skills you unlock and the gear you acquire that will be the difference between life and death.
On that note of skills… the quick bar is your best friend… if you can’t swap between skills quickly then you are going to be as good as dead… but equally access to your health potion is critical. To that end I felt a need to change what key it was (it’s bound to the q key on PC to start with… whilst the skills are all assigned a number key.) I wanted all of my quick actions to be on the same line so I jumped into the options and sure enough I was able to do so. This is where Diablo IV also stands out a bit, they have done a lot to make the game accessible to as many gamers as possible. This is evident in how customisable the gaming experience is… keybindings are an obvious one… but there are other perhaps more subtle aspects of your gaming that you can change that might be helpful to neurodivergent players or people with other specific needs for their gaming.
Beyond leveling up skills… your gear is where it’s at. If I stretch my mind back to the original Diablo… one of the main lures of the game was loot hunting, breaking open a barrel or opening a chest to see if you might find a unique item. Well Diablo IV has that… and raises it! In towns you can visit certain stores and more specifically the blacksmith. The blacksmith can upgrade the loot you find… but they will need the right materials to provide the upgrade. So whilst you might find a lovely rare item on your adventures, you can add sockets to improve it with gems and you can then take it to the blacksmith to truly max out it’s potential. Certain items have bonuses applied that can really make a difference in battle and act as a perfect carrot on a stick to send you into each and every dungeon you can find… because who knows, you might just find an even more special unique item in the very next chest you open.
Diablo IV, as I said, is everything I wanted from a continuation of the series. It’s the same core game mechanic but with a lovely new visual style (I like being able to zoom in on my character… not useful while trying to fend off enemies… but does help me feel more connected to them rather than feeling kept at arms length.) We get the same Blizzard amazing cinematics and now thanks to the high quality in game graphics engine… cut scenes aren’t that far off the pre-renedered cinematics with the added benefit that your character, with all their customised looks, can feature in the cutscenes which just further helps you feel engaged on a more personal level than past offerings.
Be warned… this is a time trap… start playing for a while and you will likely find hours have passed before you know it. The main story is compelling but equally the side quests are engaging and really do make it easy to enjoy the game simply wandering around and discovering the people and places on offer.
If you are a fan of the previous games then absolutely grab a copy. If you haven’t played a Diablo game before but like the idea of hack and slash with a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy) dose of loot clicking then grab a copy… basically… just grab a copy!!! Lot’s of fun and a great example of how to bring an old game back to life like a necromancer summoning a Lich.