“God, what a year it has been huh? Captain, it’s only June.” If, like me, you sometimes think in terms of memes, you will undoubtedly see the image of Tintin and Captain Haddock. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on this beautiful image a few times as I stroll through the dungeons of Sanctuary, enjoying everything Diablo IV has to offer. After all, when the review period began, I had just completed The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and right before that was Star Wars: Jedi Survivor. For a long time, I’ve been playing with PSVR 2 and Horizon: Call of the Mountain and there was Hogwarts Legacy in front of it. There have been years with fewer better games than 2023 gave us in the first six months, and if you pull out in June, you might as well include Street Fighter 6 and Final Fantasy XVI. could be less.
Diablo IV is no longer an unknown territory for many players. Blizzard has hosted several beta tests and Server stress tests To ensure that the game runs smoothly after its release on June 6. It remains to be seen if that works. For this review, we were able to play the game for about ten days, on servers that were almost extinct. We’ve run into another player maybe two or three times in the dozens of hours we’ve been in the game. When asked, Blizzard made it clear that’s not necessarily the intention either. “Diablo IV was not designed to be an MMO,” explains Associate Game Director Zaven Haroutonian. “Once you start the game, of course you will see more players, but not too many; it is your own adventure.”
Standards will follow later
Well, that’s fine, but in the beta we definitely saw a lot of other players walking in licorice and that wasn’t it now. Long story short: To judge if Blizzard has succeeded in its goal of making the game reliable and stable, we’ll have to wait a little longer for the release. After that time, we’ll also publish an additional article taking a closer look at performance, with a special focus on the PC version. During the review period, we only tested the PlayStation 5 version of the game. For now, the game technically holds its own: the game runs in 4k at 60fps and runs smoothly, but we’ll also review this version after release to see if the stress on the servers still affects performance. Anyway, the first impression was pretty good in that area, except for a few glitches, like our console seemed to stop working at a certain point, which required a reboot. There isn’t much to say about this at the moment.
So what can we talk about now? Well, everything else, starting with the setting and the story. If you’ve been to the tests, you’ve already played the prequel to the story and you already know that Diablo IV is about the arrival of the evil Lilith in Sanctuary. The player, on behalf of the Cathedral, can find out what Lilith is planning and how to stop it. It feels a bit simplistic this way, but the story has enough fun twists and colorful characters to keep you enthralled from start to finish. We really don’t want to say more than that, because every little spoiler is just too much.
It’s funny: when we spoke to some of the developers, they mentioned that people play Diablo for the sake of the story. I had absolutely no idea. For me, Diablo III was more than just a game that I played a few times with friends, just because it was fun. I hardly remember the story. It’s different for Diablo IV. This is primarily because the game has powerful cut scenes, where beautiful visuals are combined with excellent acting by the voice actors. The result is that movies grab your attention and provide audiovisual advantages. A nice detail is that your character also plays a role in the story. You are there, participating in the conversation, and therefore not just an anonymous bystander who just happens to be present. However, you don’t fully experience the story from a first-person perspective. Various acts are introduced and closed by a narrator, which works well.
The cutscenes are on a higher audio and visual level than the rest of the game, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the game isn’t well taken care of as well. For starters, every conversation in the game is fully spoken and the voice acting does really well there as well. This makes the quests, regardless of whether they belong to the main one or not, all interesting: they’re short stories that you’re drawn into and shot in an atmospheric way, thanks in part to the cast. In no time you will lose yourself in the overwhelming game world that is Sanctuary. And then the game should already start.
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