In our Diablo 4 review, the gates of hell reopen and this time the threat comes from within. The final game of Blizzard’s beloved action-RPG series Diablo revolves around the story of Lilith and Inarius, the original founders of Sanctuary, and invites us on an unforgettable adventure.
Diablo 4 review
When I was told “Diablo IV is here, but it will be played on Blizzard-provided accounts, so you won’t be able to use your characters at launch”, I only thought for a short while and then immediately agreed, because I didn’t think I would get tired of Diablo by playing it only once. Thanking the company for the chance to play early, our review, which I wrote after almost 45 hours of adventure, begins.
Let’s start the Diablo IV review, as always, with the story. The story of the Diablo series may seem like a secondary element overshadowed by the gameplay, but this does not prevent the company from creating a strong world and filling it with beautiful details. And it’s a good thing they do.
The story of Diablo IV begins with the release of Lilith, one of the founders of the Santuary and daughter of Prime Evil Mephistopheles. The adventure begins with a group of treasure hunters breaking Lilith’s seals and freeing her, causing events that will affect the lives of everyone, including our character trying to survive under terrible weather conditions.
The character we create loses both his horse and his way during his journey, reaches the safe zone with the help of a wolf when he is about to freeze to death and comes to the town under the threat of evil. Just like in Diablo 1, we help the threatened townspeople and cleanse the evil, accompanied by celebrations… Things are not that simple, of course. The townspeople have already fallen under the influence of Lilith, and we have the honour of being blessed with her blood.
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As an adventurer “blessed” with the blood of Sanctuary’s mother Lilith, we embark on a long adventure around Sanctuary. We encounter Inarius, the father of Sanctuary, the last Horadrim members, a girl who starts to help us after the death of her mother, a wolf who is not sure whether he is friend or foe, and many other characters, and we try to stop Lilith, who poses a threat to Sanctuary. Throughout the adventure, we also meet some old friends and enemies. One in particular was a surprise that I never expected to see.
The story of the game is quite good, if I need to compare, I enjoyed it more than the story of Diablo III. We spend more time with the characters, the dialogues are better and the flow of events takes place at a pace that does not disturb. There are a few likeable characters like Vigo, who we meet as an annoying knight on a quest to redeem himself. Most of the main characters are not put in for decoration, we witness how they develop throughout the story and draw a path for themselves.
In terms of side missions, there are many different stories and I liked most of them. Again, if I need to give an example from the first region, there are ongoing missions such as the story of the nun who helps in situations where the church would prefer to burn directly instead of exorcising. We don’t go through them all at once, they open up as time progresses and they are very well prepared.
I played the game with my Necromancer character for about 40 – 45 hours. I finished the main story in about 34 hours, doing side quests and events as little as possible. I left the story as satisfied as possible, only in one part I said “off come on, brother, enough, let me go”, which was a maximum of 1 hour, and the biggest problem was having to play for 1 hour without getting loot. I think it’s a pretty good ratio for my 34-hour story adventure.
Once you finish the game, you can start other characters directly in the adventure mode. This feature, which came to Diablo III very late, was added immediately in Diablo IV, and it was very good. Moreover, you can also use the mount animal, common items in the chest, etc. Not only in adventure mode, but also if you want to replay the story with your new character, you can still use common items.
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Now that we have briefly talked about the story of Diablo IV without spoilers, let’s move on to the most important part, the gameplay! Left-click attack, right-click strong attack, 4 abilities, 4 abilities that we throw as they fill up, and nothing else anyway… it seems like… but no, this game contains much more. Everything from the character you get to the abilities you choose, the clothes you wear to the bonuses you get changes the gameplay.
The character creation screen doesn’t allow for very detailed customisation, but it’s satisfying. You can customise your character’s gender, hair, beard and accessory details. You can directly see the character you created in the cutscenes in the game, so it is in your best interest to pay a little attention. Don’t play the whole game with a necromancer like Behzat Ç. because of the character you created without realising it like me. Or play, if you like it.
We have 5 options as a class, Barbarian, Necromancer, Sorcerer, Rogue and Druid. If only 5 classes are too few for you, you may not have played Diablo before, welcome. Each class is divided into different branches under their own skill trees. This means at least 2 different ways of playing per character, not counting the bonuses given by the items we find.
Let me give an example from the Necromancer I spent the longest time with. A character who can use blood spells, bone spells and dark spells, fighting with the power of the beings he summons or the power he gains by sacrificing them. Depending on the abilities I give her, she can be effective in melee or ranged combat, dealing extra damage to crowded groups or single enemies. For example, I can change the power of an item thanks to the power I get from dungeons, and I can make the character even stronger by making my ability, which normally explodes once, explode three times.
It is possible to create a character according to your own wishes with the help of the ability points you get as you level up, Paragon level buffs that come after level 50, and your items. Thanks to the fact that the game style changes according to the character you develop, I can say that I left here quite satisfied. I don’t think I’ll have a problem like getting bored even if I open Necromancer again, even though I normally play with a character I plan to play later.
Even though the game is more similar to Diablo II, it is closer to Diablo 3 in terms of speed. Especially on higher difficulty levels or in open world events, there are moments when you need to make decisions extremely quickly, otherwise you will be crushed under the attacks of enemies.
Diablo III’s console version includes the avoid button, but it has a cooldown of about 5 seconds, and 5 seconds is a very long time. It is possible to increase the number of uses or shorten the cooldown with various items, and some classes like sorcerer can even change it completely. I didn’t like it much at first, but after I got used to it (and got the stick of the world), I used the avoid button a lot.
Adventure in the Open World
If you’ve been to any of the betas for Diablo IV before, I think you have some idea of the size of the map and what it contains. The map looked huge when we looked at it, but I’ve experienced first-hand that there’s a big difference between looking at it from a distance and travelling through it. Our play area is really big!
In addition to the main storyline, the map is divided into regions with many different side quests and regional events. We’ve already talked about the missions, now let’s talk about the events. These events are divided into different types. While some of them are small events that you can do on your own, you need crowded groups to complete some of them.
Small events often take the form of what we see in MMO games. There’s a demon trying to complete a ritual sacrifice, an adventurer surrounded, or a ghost looking for a loved one to find peace. These events come with their own little challenges, such as everyone surviving or finishing in this amount of time. When you complete them successfully, you earn both experience points and nice rewards.
Map events vary slightly by region, but generally have similar content. For example, no matter which map you are on, you are trying to save people who are trapped under a car. I see it as one of the rare weaknesses of the game, but for a game where we are already beating everyone in front of us and collecting loot, you can’t put too many events.
When the event starts, if there are other players nearby, it is a very nice feature that you can enter at the same time with them and complete it even without forming a party. I didn’t have a chance to try the group event called “Gathering Legions”, since it’s a group event and I didn’t come across too many players, I’ll be able to experience it when the game comes out. I thought I’d take a look alone, they beat me up and sent me away.
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Let me briefly mention the Hell Wave event that occurs at certain points on the map as the difficulty level increases. In this event, which takes place in Adventure mode (the mode that opens after finishing the game), Hell forces occupy the map for a certain period of time, we kill them, collect the embers from them and use them to open the chests scattered on the map during the event.
The environment is full of powerful and large groups of enemies, and we lose some of the embers when we die. This activity, which is fun but difficult when I do it alone, will be very enjoyable with other people.
Dungeons, small boss rooms and castles that we have seen in Diablo IV betas are also available in the game. The areas I call small boss rooms are actually areas that randomly host one of the various events, sometimes we fight a boss or complete a mini-event. The last time I entered, 3 Treasure Goblins came out, for example, we had a strong rush so that they could not escape in the tiny area. Castles are the areas where we defeat the boss to capture in the open world and turn it into a town.
Dungeons seem to be the areas where we will spend most of the game. These areas are divided into floors and you try to reach the last boss and finish the job by completing the tasks within the floor. Most of the dungeons unlock powers that give your character bonus features (I’ll get to that later) when you complete them for the first time.
Although the dungeons are very nice areas in terms of both experience and loot, their biggest disadvantage is that they are sometimes too long. You are struggling, you complete a mission, a new floor opens, and another “find 3 hidden objects” style mission comes again. They come so randomly that it can make you say “what is the relevance of the previous one”. I would have preferred more compact and fast-completing dungeons, but I can guess that it was done to slow down the players from farming bosses.
I can’t review Diablo IV and not mention the loot part, the most important part of the game is the loot you collect! The game is full of different weapon types, armour pieces, accessories and gems for each class. With stat points, attack and defence features, bonuses that improve your abilities or make them special, and lots of items with various rarity levels, it is a paradise for players with a collector’s spirit.
If we go into topics such as the bonuses given by the items, which stat is effective for the character, this article may become much longer than it is now, I don’t go into much detail in this part to keep it as a review, but they have made the stat system better, and although the items you find seem stronger in appearance, they can be better or worse depending on your character style.
Thanks to the Afflix system (translated as Stamp the Face) added to the game, you have the chance to change the properties of existing legendary items or make a rare item legendary. You can obtain the properties to be used in the Afflix system by clearing dungeons or smashing another legendary item. In this way, almost every item becomes useful. Even if the stats are worse, it is a system that will make even those who cling to their old legendary items because they have good features happy.
There are also Unique items that are above legendary items in rarity. There is no way to obtain them until you reach level 50 and advance to the third difficulty level. For the time being, Unique items are at the highest item level in the game and are very useful if you drop a piece that matches your character’s style. Items such as set items and runes from the second game will not be considered for a while. Considering that the item system is very balanced and fun as it is, I’m not complaining. I have as much fun with items as I did in Diablo II days.
We collect so many items, the map is already big, running all the way will tire the player. Then meet the horse, one of the biggest innovations of the game! Passenger animals are a great addition. After a certain point in the game, I started to say “Enough, don’t make me walk anymore”, the place I had to go was so far away that I was running without caring about people shouting “help me”. Fortunately, the story missions of the game were prepared in a way to anticipate this, and shortly after this rebellion, the passenger animals were unlocked.
Contrary to what has been said before, you don’t need to completely finish the story for a mount, we can ride a horse after a certain point in the story, by that time we have already travelled part of the map, but it doesn’t matter, the horse is definitely very useful. Once you get the horse, it opens on all your characters, which is a great advantage when you want to build a sub-character. I recommend completing the main quest as quickly as possible with one character and then focus on other characters.
Graphics and Sounds
The game looks visually marvellous. Cut-scenes are already one of Blizzard’s best works, and Diablo IV has taken it one step further. You can see your own character in the cutscenes, so what more can you ask for? Of course, there are also direct cinematic scenes in which our character is not involved, but it is quite difficult to distinguish the difference.
In-game graphics have been taken to a new level. Everything from character models to small details in the environment looks great. From snowy plains to sandy deserts, ominous swamps to abandoned castles, each region successfully conveys its own mood. As an answer to those who complained that Diablo III was too colourful, they have created a world that is dark enough to compete with the first Diablo, but vivid enough not to suffocate people.
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I had the chance to try the game on different systems. On a good computer with 4070 graphics card and 32 GB RAM, it was very fluent with DLSS support at Ultra settings. I tried it at both 1080p and 2K resolution, and the rare stuttering moments I experienced were due to connection issues rather than performance issues. You might think “the system is already good, DLSS support is a normal situation”, I thought so too. So let’s try it with the second system now.
Let’s move on to another computer with a GTX 970 (4GB) graphics card, i5 6500 processor and 8GB RAM. Now that 16GB of RAM is standard for most users, I thought I might have some trouble there. When the game booted up, it suggested Medium graphics settings and I started playing it that way.
It plays very well and the graphics are not bad at all. I admit that the difference is high enough for me to understand the difference because I first played on the other system, but it plays the game comfortably. I even turned the graphics to high settings and tried again, I played for about 1.5 hours and it was smooth except for the minor stuttering I experienced at various points.
Diablo IV has done a great job in terms of optimisation. Especially when we have to wait 1-2 months for the PC version of every game to be optimised, I was happy to see a game that runs so smoothly and works well even on relatively low systems. My only complaint about the game is that there are “Windowed” or “Full Screen Windowed” options. When the beta was first released, there was a Full Screen option, but they removed it later (due to problems with some graphics cards). I hope it will return when the game is released.
I’ll make one more addition, it was a situation that annoyed me a lot, but I’m not sure if it will be in the full version of the game. As a Necromancer, I was running around with a lot of skeletons, golems, etc., and this caused a very annoying situation in in-game cutscenes. When we enter the cutscene, the helpers next to us disappear from the image, but they are actually still there, we just don’t see them.
Meanwhile, the chain sign that appears on their heads is to warn outsiders that “no damage can be done”. But the problem is that these chains appear and disappear for seconds during the cutscene. 1 or 2 helpers would be fine, but when the chain on the heads of 9 people flashes at the same time, it distracts you. This must be the only graphical error I encountered except for the fabric effects that swing like crazy.
Speaking of connection problems, the fact that the game requires constant internet connection will definitely be a minus. You can say that it was also present in Diablo III, it was a minus then too. Yes, the game randomly pairs you with other adventurers in the open world and allows you to complete activities together, and this is a very nice feature, but I shouldn’t have to be connected to the internet when I want to play alone.
I would even accept a Diablo 2-style local save file. Sometimes we can lose control of the character when there is a server-induced slowdown. The game is already fast, the death of a fragile character because I can’t escape when the server misfires is a situation that will annoy me a lot, especially when playing in Hardcore mode.
The game’s soundtrack is great, different but atmospheric music greeted me in every region I visited. The music that plays during boss battles, dungeon themes, music that plays while travelling the world and entering settlements, all of them are great. Considering that we will spend a long time in these places, it is very good that the music is taken care of. Sounds are as well cared for as much as music and graphics. Every character we encounter is voiced, the abilities and spell effects we use, ambient sounds, and even the background objects in the environment that we cannot interact with but break. Full points for sound and music.
Finally, let me talk about the controls. I’ve played Diablo games for years with a keyboard and mouse duo, but with Diablo II Ressurected, I started using a controller. It’s not because my finger cramps from constantly left-clicking, it’s to sit on the couch and enjoy playing with a controller! The game is very comfortable with both keyboard-mouse and controller. The vibration support that comes with the controller warns me when I enter toxic areas, which is a nice detail.
This is a Diablo IV review, but I tried very hard not to turn it into a guide. There is a lot to tell, but you will enjoy it more if you experience most of it yourself. The game has a very full content in terms of both story and gameplay. The game offers us a long gameplay time with characters that do not have similar gameplay and a world with a lot of things to do. The optimisation is successful, the visual and audio are great, and there are almost no technical problems. The fact that this game had problems on the day it came out can only be due to the problematic servers.
Diablo IV standard version is available for sale on Battle.net. If you think about how much time you will spend at the beginning of the game when you pay for it, I can say that it gives you more value for your money than many popular AAA games.