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Diablo 4 Review: A Well-Polished Gothic Horror Loot-Fest

Diablo 4 builds on the game’s legacy by combining great storytelling and gameplay mechanics to deliver a fun loot-fest experience.

Diablo 4 Review

Blizzard had a lot to prove since the infamous “out of season’s April Fools joke” when they announced the mobile spin-off to the long-standing Diablo franchise, and the latest entry to the series could be the best chance the company had to get back to the fanbase’s good graces. Long story short, Diablo 4 did not disappoint.

We managed to get a copy of Diablo 4 Ultimate Edition on the PlayStation 5 and played through Early Access. Now that it has officially launched to the public, we can finally share our thoughts on the game.

Hallmark Isometric RPG with Polished Gameplay

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Fans of the Diablo franchise will feel right at home with Diablo 4. It still features the hallmark isometric style action RPG gameplay that we all know and love. Of course, at the beginning you get to create your own character, with tons of customisation options including gender, eyes, hairdo, facial features and more.

There are five classes available at launch — barbarian, druid, necromancer, rogue and sorcerer. These classes are pretty self-explanatory, and while you don’t get too many options, the ones you get encompass pretty much every playstyle. If you love to dish tons of physical damage through brute strength, the barbarian should be your pick. Or if you want to be a spell-slinger, the sorcerer got you covered. For me, I chose to play mainly as a necromancer, wielding a large scythe as my main weapon while reanimating my foes to do my bidding.

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The overall gameplay feels tight and responsive, and each class have some degree of depth to them rather than just mindless button mashing. For example, my necromancer can either focus on curses and hexes, or just raise an undead army to act as meat shields. However, for newcomers to the genre, the skill tree can feel a tad complicated.

The Plot

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Without revealing any spoilers, you are the wanderer, and you are caught in the middle of an existential crisis against the forces of Lilith, and everything that seeks to kill and destroy. Plot-wise, Diablo 4 returns to its gothic horror roots, and characters give real depth to the plot.

There are also tons of side quests for you to enjoy, including class specific ones. While the stories and plot points in these side missions are smaller in scale, it contributes a lot to the worldbuilding, giving players a sense of immersion to the hellscape.

While Diablo 4’s in-game dialogues are voiced, it can make the game feel a bit slow. Fortunately, I can skip the cutscenes if I want to to speed up the gameplay.

Much Improved Graphics

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The graphics are overall a step up from previous games. Yes, isometric RPGs aren’t exactly known for their graphical fidelity and detail, but the art style more than makes up for it. The art style is gritty, and the blood and gore contributes to the overall sense of dread and brooding during my gameplay.

One neat detail that I like is that my character was rendered real time in the cut scenes, allowing for smooth transitions between each scene. While most of the cut scenes are shown in a top down view, they don’t feel out of place. The developers managed to blend in the cinematic and real time rendered cutscenes very well, so kudos to that.

If you are a fan of soundtracks, you may feel a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the soundtrack not bad, but the music feels a bit like those generic fantasy music that I use for Pathfinder and D&D.

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Diablo 4 Review: A Well-Polished Gothic Horror Loot-Fest 9

Diablo 4 Multiplayer Experience

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While Diablo 4 can largely be enjoyed solo, there is a multiplayer option that allows you to co-op in a party of 4 players. From time to time, you may encounter a player or two while exploring, and you can invite them to form a party.

Class synergy is decent, as they can complement each other, and in some cases, lower the difficulty significantly. Diablo 4 also supports cross-platform multiplayer, so you can play with your friends regardless of console or PC. There is also a Clan system, which is similar to guild systems in MMORPGs, and its pretty self-explanatory.

However, if you play on the PS5 don’t have a PS Plus membership, you will get bombarded by prompts to get you to subscribe to the service in order to play the game in multiplayer mode.

In-Game Monetisation Rears Its Ugly Head

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As more games transition to a live-service model, we need to address the elephant in the room, the microtransactions. The currency used in Diablo 4 is called Platinum, and it can get quite expensive. For example, the Raised by Wolves cosmetic set costs 2,500 Platinums, which translated to real-world currency, it could cost upwards of RM100.

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While one can argue that cosmetics don’t affect the gameplay, it is still integral to the overall gaming experience. The monetisation is egregious especially considering that the game costs about RM320 for the base version.

There are paid battle passes for future content as well, so you should keep that in mind.

Final Verdict

4.5 / 5Diablo 4 builds on the game’s legacy by combining great storytelling and gameplay mechanics to deliver a fun loot-fest experience.

Die hard Diablo fans have been yearning for a full-fledged sequel (to many fans, Diablo Immortal doesn’t count) and Blizzard has delivered on that promise. Diablo 4 offers a lot of what the fanbase loves about this franchise, and offers several general improvements to the gameplay experience. As a player, I can definitely see that the developers have poured their heart and soul into this video game to create a well-polished and deep RPG experience.

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However, the entry is marred by its aggresive and pricey monetisation practices more commonly found in free-to-play mobile games, with future battle passes to boot. Do keep in mind that these implementations are more of an executive decision that developers have little say over.

If you love isometric action RPGs, Diablo 4 is a worthy title for the long haul, but do be careful with the money-grabbing aspects as well.

For more information about Diablo 4, please visit the official website here.

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Diablo 4 Review: A Well-Polished Gothic Horror Loot-Fest 9
Written By

Part-time gamer, writer, & full time weird coffee person.

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