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Diablo 4 treats your free time with all the respect that your character treats the 20,000th demon it’s slayed that day.
There’s an argument to be made for this game coming with a warning about what it will do to your social life, your thumbs and your bloodlust. A few times during our review period with the game we felt like we were only a few hours removed from those stories you’d hear in the mid-2000s of people hospitalising themselves playing World of Warcraft in a dingy cafe.
Diablo season ticket holders are nodding along and smiling, likely looking over at their platform of choice and attempting to force the game to install quicker through sheer force of will, but for those that haven’t converted to Satanism yet, let us explain why is Diablo 4 so difficult to put down.
Diablo 4 guides:
First is the faultless rhythm at which the game is paced, so that every few minutes you’re either hitting a new level, finding a new weapon, discovering a new location, or being sent on a new mission. It feels almost scientifically measured to make sure that you don’t go more than a few minutes without a small treat.
Diablo 4 is an isometric action RPG. It’s all about incrementally gaining loot and shaping your character in whatever way you’d like, within the limitations of their class.
There are five classes, each of which has certain weapons that can only be assigned to them. You’ll still find these weapons sparingly while playing as the other classes, but it’s really not as big of an issue as it used to be during the early days of Diablo 3, prior to the excellent console release.
With this character, you’re trawling through dungeons against hordes of tougher and tougher enemies, with the types of enemies you’re having to deal with becoming more complicated as your power set grows.
Initially, it’ll be a simple question of having more health and doing more damage than the fragile skeletons you’re faced with, but as the game progresses and you begin to specialise, Diablo 4’s monster closet can turn the simplest encounter into an engaging one with the correct combination of enemies.
You always feel rewarded playing Diablo 4. Sure, you might get a new pair of boots that have a minuscule improvement to your stats, but there’s something intoxicating about seeing that green number pop up, and making your character incrementally better.
That further serves to highlight the big moments, be it reaching a milestone level as your character or finding legendary loot, incredibly rare items that only spawn at the upper echelons of your first playthrough.
“You always feel rewarded playing Diablo 4. Sure, you might get a new pair of boots that have a minuscule improvement to your stats, but there’s something intoxicating about seeing that green number pop up, and making your character incrementally better.”
Speaking of which, Diablo 4’s approach to its main story is interesting and extremely free-form. After a short tutorial zone, you’re essentially given the first three acts to tackle in whatever order you see fit. You’re giving largely unfettered access to the open world, and are told to go and work it out for yourself.
The content is scaled around your level, so you can really play Diablo in whichever way you feel like, be that engaging with its lengthier story missions or simply spending your time completing the huge number of side missions.
Or you can take on the dozens of dungeons that are also littered across the map. These usually have little story outside of “kill everything in here,” but they’re still compelling as the reward for each of them is a specific perk (which you can check before you enter), so if you see a perk that looks like it would work for the character you’re trying to build, you can just focus on that.
For a game that is largely the admin of walking around and clicking buttons, Diablo 4 really streamlines a lot of chaff that has bogged down previous games. You can jump into it for 30 minutes or 30 hours.
Considering the height from which you play Diablo 4, it wouldn’t have been sacrilegious for the game to be visually muted, but in reality, it’s far from it.
Every area is painstakingly detailed, to the point where you’ll use the game’s zoom feature likely more than you expect just to have a look at the lovingly executed corpse or other assorted viscera that’s been hand placed around the world.
The vibe generally is spectacular, with excellent CG cutscenes capping off big story events, and an engaging cast of characters to partner you on your journey.
The caveat is that there will be a section of the audience that doesn’t hear any of this because they’re arguing with their friends over where they’re going at the weekend or whose turn it is to sing Back in Black at karaoke.
There are occasionally some slight readability problems with a few of the attacks in the game, especially when the screen gets flooded, but outside of that, it’s a fantastic-looking game.
Your character has never been more detailed, and that’s reflected in the armor sets, which are given much more prominence. The ample transmog and colour options for every piece in the game mean that no two characters will look the same.
After playing Diablo 4 for dozens of hours, it makes it so clear why fans of the franchise were so bitterly disappointed with Diablo Immortal. Diablo 4 nails the core tenant of the series for what is an incredible action RPG, and a game that will challenge players’ skill level, as well as the strength of their marriages.
Diablo 4's always-online requirement is a shame, and a few of the classes are somewhat slow to kick into high gear, but we're only able to muster minor complaints for what is easily a game-of-the-year frontrunner, and Blizzard’s best game since Diablo 3.
- Perfectly paced
- Combat is varied and fun
- The world is creepy, forboding and gorgeous
- Huge amount of content
- Always online