The 'Diablo' series, a Blizzard Entertainment blockbuster, has been a flagship franchise of Blizzard for nearly 30 years. Aside from 'Overwatch,' with three instalments, 'Diablo' still boasted a big player base. This hype can only be compared to the likes of 'The Elder Scrolls'. The fourth instalment of 'Diablo' came out on 6 June this year and has been making quite the splash since then.
Is the game perfect? Maybe not. 'Diablo IV' endeavours to immerse the players in its grim fantasy realm. Yet this proves to be an insurmountable challenge in a game where one can effortlessly retrieve a legendary two-handed axe from a wolf.
The narrative is as straightforward as a Marvel movie but considerably lengthier. Despite the sombre nature of Diablo IV's characters, the truth remains that players assume the role of a superhuman protagonist starting with an empty inventory and a burning aspiration to acquire items.
The core story starts pretty much like all other stories from the previous games. There is a formidable demon (Lilith) that poses a significant threat. The player is the only one who can thwart its plans. However, the game cleverly introduces the antagonist Lilith as gradually revealing her motivations in a way that compels you to contemplate her perspective. She is not solely motivated by a desire for destruction, but by grief.
'Diablo IV' serves as a reboot, albeit an unnecessary one. It is driven by a clear objective: to adapt the franchise's strengths to a contemporary live-service model that caters to players who likely engage with numerous other games. Once the campaign concludes, the game's impressive complexity unfolds; yet the excessive grind hampers the creative potential within its intricate RPG [role-playing game] systems.
The prevalent live-service model – as exemplified by 'Destiny 2' – may initially appear well-suited for Diablo's historically replayable cooperative design. Live-service models bring constant updates and new content to a game.
But in reality, it necessitates a significant structural adjustment. Diablo 4 starts as a narrative-focused adventure, yet it is only after completing the campaign that its most compelling aspects begin to emerge. Key features such as the [massively multiplayer online] MMO-inspired grim-flavoured quests or the almost rogue-like Helltide [side quests] events are withheld until one is done with the game's 10-hour campaign.
This is an attempt to reset the exaggerated tone from 'Diablo III' but goes excessively dark without fundamentally altering the essence of what defines a 'Diablo game'.
In the previous 'Diablo' games, the single-player campaigns included narratives. However, they were often perceived as mere background information for the game's core element – dungeon exploration. Yet, 'Diablo IV' introduces a notable shift here. It treats its story with greater gravity.
'Diablo IV' excels in its moment-to-moment action, considering its influential legacy. Some argue that 'Diablo III' veered too much towards simplification, but 'Diablo IV' intelligently course-corrects in response.
Players are still confined to six active abilities, with four on the hotkeys and two assigned to each mouse button for PC users. However, the character build is no longer linear. Instead, players can allocate points to a skill tree that branches out with each new level, offering new abilities and passive perks through its core nodes.
Each player will be required to allocate a specific number of points in order to unlock the various nodes in the skill tree. Consequently, they must make thoughtful decisions regarding which abilities best contribute to their overall character build. This system offers a remarkable level of flexibility, enabling players to experiment with different approaches.
Players can choose to focus on a particular ability as the cornerstone of their build or explore the possibilities of combining two different paths. For instance, a Necromancer could enhance their summoned skeletons while simultaneously unleashing a multitude of blood-infused magical attacks.
The introduction of World Tiers [PvP] encourages players to revisit everything with increased difficulty levels and greater rewards to obtain.
It is pleasing to see that 'Diablo IV' maintains the option for players to start at a higher World Tier from the beginning, preventing a potentially underwhelming initial playthrough lacking significant challenges.
'Diablo IV' came out in May this year.