Diablo IV review in progress: Successfully modernizing the franchise

Blizzard /

Diablo IV came out on June 6th, not even a week ago, and it has dragged players straight into Hell. And they love it.

Diablo IV is an awe-inspiring experience, Blizzard should be proud of themselves. It doesn’t attempt to revolutionize the action role-playing game (ARPG) genre or push its boundaries, but the game’s subtle tweaks, improvements, and borrowed ideas have transformed it into what I imagine is the best Diablo installment to date. I say “I imagine” because Diablo IV is my first Diablo game. For years, I played Path of Exile, which is Diablo III but good, and with a much more complex skill system.

After having to delete a couple of heavy-duty games from my drive to make space for the tiny 84 GB file, I installed the game on both my Steam Deck and on my PC. If you’re looking to install it on your Stream Deck, be sure to check out our how-to. Be warned, though: it is a pain in the ass if you don’t have a wireless mouse or keyboard for your Steam Deck.

Having the experience from Path of Exile, I chose the Veteran path, picked a lovely Barbarian beauty, and went to work.

And that, my friends, is when I decided to restart the game 3 times (while my poor husband was waiting in the lobby for me).

No, not because of bugs (though this game unfortunately does have some). There was nothing wrong with the game. I had just happened to witness what is the most beautiful, well-made, and exciting intro cinematics, and I had to watch it three times to get over it (and didn’t remember I could just look it up on Youtube).

Warning: This is not for kids. This has some pretty disturbing parts. 

I’m sorry, did Netflix hire Blizzard to make a new episode for a new season of Love, Death & Robots?? (Relax, there has been no such announcement or a season 4 announcement either.)

This is one Hell of an introduction to the game and story, and it stuns as much as excites. It sets the tone with the urgency of Lilith being reborn and on the loose, and it prepares the player for the absolute monstrosity she rains down on Sanctuary. It deserves some sort of award.

I’m still not fully convinced it’s not a Love, Death & Robots episode. (It’s not, folks. Just trying to get my point across.)

Once the game began, it looked like I was playing Path of Exile. The controls, everything is the same, which is fantastic for those like me who are new to the franchise but not new to the genre. Since I was very familiar with the gameplay, I chose the Veteran World tier instead of Adventurer, and I actually think any newbie can play Veteran.

I did not complete the game, but I did put in a little over 10 hours and thought this would be a good place to pause and reflect on my experience so far.

From having combat mechanics that make you feel like an absolute badass to the extensive range of build options available for each class, Diablo IV flexes some of the most impressive features in the ARPG genre. The gorgeous graphics enhance the overall experience even more, but where Diablo IV truly excels is in its endgame activities and grind. Both are so meticulously crafted that it’s kind of difficult to find any fault in them.

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But, of course, no game is without its flaws. The plot for Diablo IV  starts very strong, with that amazing cinematic kicking things off. But, as I progressed in the game I noticed that the story does weaken a bit. I am hoping it improves as I continue down the storyline. Another very annoying thing I’ve found are occasional yet irritating bugs that can throw a wet blanket over the fires of Hell.

Dungeon runs capture that familiar yet irresistible loop of obliterating hordes of enemies, accomplishing objectives, and defeating formidable bosses. And let’s not forget the thrill of engaging in side quests to uncover the world’s rich lore and fascinating characters – a journey well worth undertaking, even if the main plot occasionally loses its way. Whether you choose to venture alone or team up with friends, the gameplay remains thoroughly enjoyable.

Diablo IV represents a significant milestone for a series that is approaching its 30th anniversary. From what I have seen so far, it successfully modernizes the franchise and brings it up to par with other ARPGs. Once again, you’ll embark on a relentless journey through dungeons, honing your skills, optimizing your damage output, and improving your survival chances.

So, pardon me while I go unleash my inner demon slayer. As I optimistically continue my gameplay and find new things to love and hate, if you find yourself craving more Diablo IV content, make sure to check out our guide to finding World Bosses and more!