Oleg Tytarenko 04 Oct 2023
Diablo 4 review: Blood-dark fantasy

Diablo IV is a beautifully dark and morally intricate game that defies expectations with its accessibility. It marks a pinnacle, not only for the franchise but for the entire gaming genre…

First impression

Diablo 4 is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Enhancements and borrowed ideas it introduces have transformed this latest installment into the best Diablo we've ever seen.

The meticulously tuned combat, extensive customization options for each character class, outstanding graphics, and robust live-service framework stand out as some of the genre's most impressive elements. The endgame activities and grind have been thoughtfully designed.

D4 is the latest entry in the ARPG series, and it succeeds in modernizing the depths of Hell enough to compete in this genre.

Players embark on a series of dungeon crawls, where mastering hotkey-bound abilities, optimizing damage output, and enhancing survivability take precedence over engaging storytelling or visual effects that dominate the screen. But, these dungeon runs remain enjoyable whether played solo or with up to three friends. Exploring sidequests to uncover the game's lore and characters is entertaining, even though the main plot occasionally meanders.

You were hoping for Diablo 4 to bring groundbreaking innovations to the action RPG genre? Not! Blizzard has opted for safe but sensible changes to the formula, such as offering more customizable skill trees and diversifying playstyles among its iconic character classes. The result is a well-designed game in many aspects.

Diablo 4's narrative, represents a significant improvement over its predecessor. Gone are the days of WWE-like voice performances and cringe-worthy dialogue.

It’s a new change of pace from other RPGs, and the freedom you have, feels next-level, both for the franchise and the genre.

Make the experience your own, alongside a character creator where you can pick a gender for all classes, and transmog system with the ability to change the look of your weapons/armor.

It looks strange to call a blood-dark fantasy like Diablo IV relaxing, but how else to describe it?

The campaign is a solid length - the journey with side quests, dungeons, and map exploration. But the game is so magnetic, that you want to continue playing. You'll want to try the many characters and get friends involved.

There are 5 classes: Barbarian, Necromancer, Druid, Rogue, and Sorcerer, they all seem to have a solid kit and a lot of options for players to find their play-style. You could do your research and look up the best meta-builds for your chosen character, follow your own path, and still have a great time.


So let's start our review of D4 by looking at the cons. For example, before you reach a satisfying payoff for the intriguing setup in the first act, you'll spend the majority of the next four acts on tangentially related errands. The result is an interesting yet disjointed narrative with a somewhat underwhelming conclusion.

It's unfortunate that Lilith's presence is mostly concealed until the final act, and the diversions you encounter along the way often feel like unnecessary detours. Combined with some disappointing boss fights, especially the final one in the campaign, it's difficult not to feel a sense of missed potential.

There are some downsides, such as a weak story and occasional irritating bugs that temporarily dampen the fiery intensity of the game, but the main impressions are quite positive. Even after relentless demon-slaying and loot obsession, you still eagerly looking forward to playing much more.

The game's endgame is complemented by a live-service foundation that allows for ongoing evolution of the world, meta, and activities. The frequency of content updates remains to be seen, but even without them, the base endgame experience stands strong.

At the same time, the game suffers from some significant bugs that can detract from the experience. Teleporting as a sorcerer can lead to being stuck in the ground, and rubberbanding issues may prevent players from entering certain regions. These bugs, while likely to be patched, can impact enjoyment in the short term.

Diablo 4 requires an internet connection to confront the forces of evil. While occasional issues like disconnections or short queue times for server access may occur, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks.

Also, some gamers complain about disappointing Season 1, and finally nerf patches. But the main thing, gamers should exercise caution due to its potential for addiction and inflated price.


Now for the pros, and tell you what awaits you in D4. The game's visual and auditory aspects are consistently outstanding, irrespective of the story's shortcomings. The game features breathtaking CGI cutscenes, in-engine cutscenes, and detailed, grotesquely corrupted environments in dungeons and the open world. Sanctuary consistently impresses with its visual appeal. Furthermore, the game's sound design excels, with a memorable soundtrack, mostly solid voice acting, and eerie demon noises as you dispatch Hell's minions.

The story's ending sets the stage for Diablo 4's live-service future and upcoming story expansions, which are intriguing.

It's no surprise that Blizzard offers the option to skip the campaign for subsequent characters after the first playthrough, as a brief recap video could serve just as effectively as replaying the roughly 15-hour story. If the campaign were intended as the main course of the game, this might have been more disappointing.

When it comes to the elements that truly matter in the long run, such as combat, buildcrafting, hunting for gear, and especially the endgame, Diablo 4 excels in almost every way. Each of the 5 character classes offers a ton of fun to play, with distinct playstyles and unique mechanics that become available as you progress through the campaign. Gear choices significantly influence your character's development and can lead to exciting changes in playstyle. Experimenting with new builds and powerful equipment is one of the game's highlights, offering a wealth of options for character optimization: from dense skill trees to endgame paragon boards and powerful glyphs that can be upgraded and socketed.

Various loot options are available across different world tiers and rarity levels, and gear perks can be customized to suit specific builds. For instance, you can extract key perks from the gear you've outleveled and imprint them on more powerful equipment. Respecs are more accessible than initially promised, making it feasible to switch high-level characters to new builds without breaking the bank.

Blizzard's attention to detail is evident, and this level of control ensures that players never feel their time is wasted when loot drops don't go their way.

Navigating dungeons has become more streamlined thanks to Blizzard's adjustments based on player feedback from beta weekends, reducing backtracking and wasted time. This keeps the gameplay experience enjoyable and allows players to delve into dungeons and explore the eerie world with ease. Slaying hordes of enemies, completing objectives, and defeating bosses provide a familiar yet compelling loop that remains enjoyable. While most regular minions lack unique mechanics, some enemies, like shamans or shield-wielding skeletons, add variety to the combat encounters. Boss battles vary in quality, with some being forgettable and others memorable.

Encountering other players in the game world adds a sense of discovery, and chance encounters during activities like world boss fights can lead to new online friendships.

Trading and clans have gained prominence, fostering a sense of community when tackling endgame group activities and collaborating on character optimization.

The endgame experience in Diablo 4 is possibly one of the best day-one endgame experiences in the genre. After completing the campaign, players can run bounties for the Tree of Whispers, a sinister plant that spawns new activities in exchange for high-level loot drops. Higher world tiers provide access to Nightmare Dungeons, which offer challenging versions of existing levels with unique mechanics. Helltide Events, where blood rains from the sky and powerful enemies swarm the player, add excitement to the endgame.

PvP adds an additional layer to the endgame, with two PvP zones where players compete to collect materials by slaying NPC enemies while fending off rival players who may try to steal their resources. These zones provide intense experiences, as even party members can betray each other by snatching valuable materials.

Diablo 4 offers a wealth of endgame content, including Capstone Dungeons, which serve as power checks and unlock higher world tiers, as well as Helltide Events and PvP zones.

In conclusion

Diablo 4 is a remarkable sequel with exceptional endgame and progression design, making it difficult to tear oneself away. While the story may disappoint, and there are some annoying bugs, the game's combat, loot system, and captivating world more than compensate for these issues. Diablo 4 excels by refining the series' strengths rather than attempting a radical overhaul, resulting in one of the most polished action RPGs to date. Slaying the demonic forces remains a thoroughly enjoyable experience...

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