Diablo IV poses a lot of questions for the reviewer in me. Is it fun? Am I having fun? Is it grindy? Are there microtransactions in a full game? Is it better than Diablo III? Is it better than Diablo II: Resurrected? Are there lots to do? Is it a game that I will be playing for a long time? The answer to all that, is a simple yes.
- Features cross-platform play, so you can play on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox
- New open-world style is massive and epic, with numerous environments to explore
- Getting a mount is relatively late in the game, but once you do, it makes running around easier
- Combat remains fluid and fun
At its heart, Diablo IV keeps to the same refined hack-and-slash formula from Diablo III. There are still limited skill slots, but the skill tree feels more like Diablo II. You can also respec anytime, but you will need to pay an increasingly expensive cost to do so. However, I do like that it's relatively cheap to do so at the start, so you can experiment with builds before level 25, when it starts costing more. Combat feels fluid, and the addition of an evade skill makes it easier to get out of sticky situations when surrounded by enemies. And of course, there's a new big bad in town for you to hunt and kill.
Unlike previous games, Diablo IV uses an open-world approach similar to World of Warcraft. However, the atmosphere harkens back to a gloomy and scary Diablo 1, which I love. It's a huge world, and you can explore and complete the first three acts in any order. Each area has lots to do, including events where other players can join in. Dungeons allow players to collect Aspects, which upgrade rare items into Legendaries. This new mechanic makes you less reliant on lucky drops at the start. Note that these Aspects aren't as powerful if they appear on natural Legendaries. Of course, you can still gamble for loot through another in-game currency, which you earn by doing events.
While you can play the game solo, it's a lot more fun in a group. Diablo IV lets you team up with three other players, and you can join a clan, too. Voice chat is supported, and there are accessibility options to automatically transcribe. I also like that it supports color changes for loot and enemies for color-blind folks. And don't worry if you beat the game, there's still plenty to do, such as exploring the whole map, grinding events, playing on higher difficulties, and killing world bosses with all of the other players. Even in early access, you'll see lots of other players fighting alongside you in the open world. At the time of this review, I'm at level 39, and I've only just completed the first Act. My friends have already beaten the game, but there's honestly no rush.
Despite being a full game, Diablo IV does come with microtransactions, and a battle pass that will start when the game's first ladder season begins. Thankfully, the game isn't pay to win, instead, these microtransactions and paid battle-pass tracks are more for cosmetics. Future content will likely be paid expansions, similar to WoW, which could be a good thing. This game is lots of fun, and Blizzard doesn't seem to have messed with the formula that made this series so great. Get it from Blizzard, Shopee (PlayStation), and Lazada (Xbox).
Note: PC review copy provided by Blizzard.
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