Diablo IV is an action RPG that takes place about 50 years after the events of Diablo III. The story is centered around Lilith, Mephisto’s daughter, who has been summoned into Sanctuary. After the events of previous games, the forces of demons and angels have been depleted, allowing an opening for her to establish power in Sanctuary. You can 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 with cross-play and cross-progression on all available platforms. Read on for our Diablo IV review.
Five Ways To Play
You start the game by choosing one of 5 classes. Necromancer, Rogue, Sorcerer, Barbarian, or Druid. I started the game as a necromancer but I have managed to spend some time with each class. I loved the idea of multiple undead fighting for me, although that ended up being the worst build currently available. Blizzard likes making changes to the game balance so that might certainly change in the future. But I ended up enjoying my time with the necromancer anyway. I still loved the build I ended up using and I thoroughly enjoyed my first playthrough of the game. Corpse explosions are fun, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
You start off discovering that Lilith arrived in Sanctuary and you end up chasing her throughout most of the story. Her followers attempt to perform a ritual on you and this creates a connection between yourself and Lilith after you ingest some of her ‘blood petals’. These petals show up at different locations throughout the story and they show important events and strengthen the connection between yourself and Lilith. The cutscenes that go along with these ‘blood petals’ are one of the main strengths of the game. There are some great cutscenes in this game and they get more epic the further you get. The cutscenes are truly great, although the story itself left much to be desired for me.
There’s certainly some topics that are handled during the story that could be opened up and become interesting, but it never truly surprises you and the game uses cliche after cliche to get to those plot points. The only strength that the game had in this department was that Lilith’s motivations and purpose are interesting. They are intended to make you question your own motivations. This is especially the case near the end of the main story. Also, voice acting in Diablo IV felt better for me than it has in the past entries in the series. This helped in keeping the side-missions interesting as I progressed through the story.
On the topic of voice acting and audio, I must say that the game also did really well in this department. The soundtrack is perfectly atmospheric and I am sure that I will remember ‘Kyovoshad’ and ‘Daughter of Hatred’ for the rest of my gaming days. I feel like this is another point where it manages to beat its last predecessor. It falls short of the Diablo II OST for me however. And the atmosphere in Diablo IV more closely resembles Diablo II in a lot of ways.
Visually, I have already mentioned the cutscenes, but the game looks decent enough throughout. It does always feel like the background colors and characters are a bit ‘grayed out’, but it does make the special effects of spells stand out a lot more and it is what you can expect from the Diablo series to be honest. I don’t mind it and they do enough with regards to the terrain and characters that I can’t be bothered by it. Along with the great cutscenes, I would say that for both audio and video, the game impresses.
No performance issues here
Performance is mostly a non-issue. For me, the game felt well optimized. Even with an onslaught of effects on the screen, it ran beautifully and I never had to bother with settings. Since we’re talking performance, I also want to mention that the launch of the game was pretty great too, for a live service game. I will note that Playstation players had an issue when the game launched, but this was solved fairly quickly.
The gameplay and grind is what keeps players coming back to Diablo. For Diablo IV, this has some strengths and some weaknesses. I will start by saying that there is PLENTY to do. You can beat the main story in about 25 hours. But if you’re already doing other things in preparation for the endgame, it will take you substantially longer than that. And for a lot of people, the game only truly starts after you beat the main campaign. And how do you wish to beat the game? That is totally up to you. You can play the game solo or with friends. Even if you are a different level, the game automatically scales the enemies to your power level.
There are zones where the enemies will be too difficult for lower level players, but you can always join them on their respective quest lines and not feel like you are overly powerful (or worse, make them feel like they are useless). As you fight through the hordes of evil, you get better equipment and if they resonate well with your build, you may just find that there are periods of the game where you are ahead of the curve. After level 30, there was a definite power spike on the enemy side noticeable for me.
During your first playthrough, you can choose between World Tiers 1 and 2. The higher the world tier, the more difficult the challenge, but the better the rewards. I did my playthrough on Tier 2 and never felt like I had to go back to World Tier 1. There were definitely some challenging fights, but nothing that ever felt unfair, other than The Butcher finding me in one of the dungeons. The Butcher is an infamous enemy from the original Diablo, and it returns in Diablo IV. Safe to say, I did not manage to beat the Butcher yet.
There are some boss fights that up the ante quite a bit. Unfortunately, you also fight some of the same bosses multiple times without the bosses performing much differently than before. One of them specifically returns notoriously often. In the end I was just glad to be rid of him forever. Until I had to fight him in a dream scenario even after that!
I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the main story. I gladly made my way through Sanctuary, always one step behind Lilith, knowing that I would get my moment to fight her. The early game of Diablo IV was truly good, but I am less optimistic about the endgame. I will say, before I get into it, that most of these things can change as Blizzard releases the seasons for Diablo IV. However, I am judging the game on what I have seen so far. There is monotony in end-game content, which would be OK if it wasn’t for the fact that it feels like you’re getting pigeonholed into going a very specific route with your build in order to feel strong. In some cases, the items that you get can redirect that and make a ‘weaker’ build tolerable, but it automatically feels useless going another route than the one most traveled.
Content wise, I found the best choices were to do the World boss when it is up and Helltides when available. Otherwise you will have to farm either the tree of whispers for XP or farm nightmare dungeons to level glyphs for the paragon board. The paragon board is a leveling mechanic that opens up at level 50. They provide buffs in the form of stat boosts specifically.
Nerfs and community backlash
Summing it all up, there is still plenty to do, but the limitations in the builds make it seem tedious after a while. While leveling, I certainly had some powerspikes that were noticeable, but that mostly happened when I started following suggested builds. Blizzard also made the mistake of altering some of the cooldowns and other things after launch. This gave them some backlash from the community. They have said that they will not make changes like that anymore in the future, but that remains to be seen.
Perhaps it is a matter of preference. I enjoy the story and the sidequests more than I enjoy grinding for gear. That doesn’t mean I don’t get any enjoyment out of the endgame, but I have considered that I might not 100% be the target audience for Diablo IV. I love waltzing into a room, obliterating multiple monsters in one combo and watching as the furniture is destroyed to reveal more gold. That means I will also enjoy doing that once the main story is over. However, I feel like grinding the same content over and over to get a specific item might not be what I enjoy doing until the end times. I can guarantee that I will play the game for plenty of hours even after this review and deem the purchase well worth it.
Will I come back to the game when Season 5 comes around? I don’t think so, unless it comes with some exciting new content. And preferably without having to fight the same guy I mentioned earlier in the review. I definitely see myself starting the game up again if a friend goes through the campaign and join him as I play another class. Diablo is a game that caters to the people that do enjoy the grind. I may not 100% belong to that group, but I can certainly hang around and enjoy the grind for a while. So I can’t hold that against the game at all.
I need to mention that there is an in-game shop where you can buy certain cosmetics. These items can be bought with a premium currency known as ‘Platinum’. Diablo IV also includes the battle pass that features both a free track and a paid premium track. During my playthrough, I never bothered with any of these things and I did not pay attention to other people enough to see if any of the armor they wore would actually tickle my fancy. In a way, I am a Diablo player because I only looked at the stats for most of the items that I picked up and never truly cared enough about how my character looked.
In conclusion, Diablo IV is in many ways an improvement over Diablo III. The post-launch live service is still in its infancy, so we will need to see what Blizzard does with it. But I can say that I enjoyed a lot of what it has already provided: A decent launch, good cutscenes and endless amounts of evil to destroy. Add to that that the game can be a lot of fun with multiple people and I can say that a lot of people will enjoy their time with Diablo IV. I may see some of you around Sanctuary in the upcoming months. And if Blizzard plays their cards right, we might all be there for a lot longer than that.
- Well optimized
- Good cutscenes
- Atmospheric OST
- All classes feel fun
- Plenty to do
- Not all builds feel as strong as I had hoped
- Story is not great
That was it for our Diablo IV review. Diablo IV is available through Boosteroid. You can follow our Twitter account to stay up to date with the latest changes.