This has been an entirely too long time coming. I been a fan of this franchise since I got Diablo for PC back in the late 90s. Been playing some version of the game ever since. I played the fuck out of Diablo II from late highschool till a few years after college. Like did Uber Baal, forum trading for gear, the whole shit. Diablo II had its moment in the sun.
Unlike most gamers, I stuck with Diablo III. As previously discussed, it became a really fun game much too late for gamers, continuing the long Blizzard tradition of making a game good after everyone has quit. Hell, I’m still playing Diablo III.
To answer the question that I am sure non-avid readers will ask, I did touch PoE for like a day. Hated it. I shouldn’t have to do fucking chinese algebra to have fun. Remember fun?
And yes, I have also played the infamous, the gnarly, the phone-based, Diablo Immortal. I beat the campaign which you can do for free. And for that, it was fine. Just really simplified Diablo. Like original Diablo is more complex. But it wasn’t terrible. I am sure the end-game with its whales and shit. But for what it is, and being able to do the campaign for free. I got my moneys worth. Will never play it again.
Which brings us to this game. I am still of the belief that we got Diablo IV just because of the visceral reaction the community had to a mobile-based Diablo.
I’ve spent quite some time with the beta, but it is just that. A beta. Despite my best judgment, I am going to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt.
So instead of a formal review. Going to cover the good and the bad. Some thoughts coming out of the early access weekend.
The plot’s good so far. Diablo III’s biggest fault in my humble preaching is the story. Fucking shit. We got Act I here in the beta, and its clear they learned their lesson. Its fucking dark. So dark in fact I am not sure how its going to sell in China given how much they hate evil things. They will fucking go there. The game is gross at points. Sometimes it goes full Hellraiser. I’m down to see where we go from here.
So far, so slow. Diablo III is basically Sonic the Hedgehog. This game has its own pace even different from Diablo 2. Feels slower in a good way. Like you can actually savor the game. The combat doesn’t feel so relentless that you can’t just adjust to it. I think the combat has major potential, and I’m excited to see what end game feels like.
Graphics and music are all fantastic. I shouldn’t be surprised by this but the game feels polished. Feels like a state of the art game, and the graphics departments really spent some time here. For example, the game has this thing that I haven’t seen before where there are seamless transitions between the game and cut scenes. They were a bit chunky on my almost seven year old hardware, but they still looked fucking great.
What the fuck happened to barbarian? I will join the choir. Look, I get it. They picked a cut off. Act 1/Level 25. And they didn’t balance for it. I get it. But there is a legitimate difference in what it feels like leveling a Rogue and a Sorc vs a Barbarian 1-25. To put it bluntly, I shouldn’t be taking more damage and regenerating less health than a Rogue. I know this is a beta, but the barbarian shouldn’t feel like a beta. I am sure someone has called me a beta in real life, I would like to feel like an alpha when I am playing a video game. I am sure they will fix it endgame, but right now, you need stacked legendaries to even make Barb fun to play, and I didn’t get any.
Dungeons need something. Diablo III rifts are a good fucking time. They are short (5-10 min, depending), have a wide variety of enemies. And you get a decent amount of shit. Diablo IV dungeons feel dull. Not all of them. A few of them have nice organic points to make backtracking easy. But many of them feel… uninspired. Again, this is just act one, and maybe they are keeping the cards close to the chest. All that said, grinding these as endgame content… I don’t see it yet.
Endgame is going to be for the sweats. I can see it coming. Just based on the aspect system, the inclusion of PvP, and the way the paragon board will work. It feels like we are going to go to that most damnable of places. Meta. They want people to spend time and money here. I have no idea what the seasons are going to be like. But, just from how some of the basic systems around gearing work, it will cater toward those who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the game.
As usual with most extremes, the truth is in-between. I am not sure what I should say that Blizzard should “fix” as much as I would say, make fun the focus. This is just the beginning of the game, and it shouldn’t feel like a drag to play already.
It doesn’t necessarily feel that way. Maybe it does a bit for the barbarian, but it really doesn’t. They actually have delivered something really polished, for even a beta.
Overall, where I stand at this point, this is a game I want (and really want) to play the campaign through. Will it get the hours I have given Diablo III. Unclear. Blizzard is keeping a ton of cards close to the chest (which makes total sense), so I have no vision into the future.
But I do see a darkside possibly. I see a version of the game where only people who want to grind for hours and hours can get any kind of swoleness. Where the game just punishes you for not having time or money (ala Diablo Immortal). Where its a slog through the same dungeon over and over where you got to find a key on each side to open the door.
Or it could be the opposite. A fun time where anyone can hop on and feel strong. Not strong enough to be the ultra sweat, but strong enough to really enjoy playing the end game content. Where the sweats are satisfied that there are thing to throw all their poop-sock energy into, and casual content for those of us who just go to video games to escape reality.
It could happen. We will find out in June, I suppose. Hopefully Bul-Kathos doesn’t smite me before then.