Diablo IV – A Review

[Editor’s Note: As usual, spoilers]

Well this has been a long time fucking coming. From the days of phones, to Betas, to server slam, I don’t think there has been a game that I have spent more time chasing and following since the days of FF7.

And now we are here. Review time.

Full disclosure (cause the nerds give shit about this), I have spent at least 40-50 hours in this game at this point. My character is level 74 and I am almost fully max ilvl geared already (I got lucky).

So, now that that bullshit is out of the way, on with the show.

First, how do you even review a game like this. With the sort of mmo-lite approach taken by Blizzard, it is really hard to review the thing. So, I am going to break it into three parts, depending upon what you are looking for.

The Campaign

In what is a complete and total shock to me, this is my favorite Diablo campaign. Period. I have been on the record saying as long as they have a great campaign, that is all I wanted. Well they did it.

Breaking it down further, the art design, really anything visual, is spectacular. They clearly heard people bitching about Diablo 3’s aesthetic, and they took it to heart. This game is brutal. It wears its Hellraiser influences on its sleeve It’s gory, brutal. Piles of flesh demons that are just disturbing to look at. There is a boss that has to pull itself off of a cross mid-boss fight to continue. Amazing job creating a world that has its own specific art style.

The story itself is much longer and more elaborate than any of the other games, but that isn’t saying much. This is still Diablo. There is no encyclopedia of lore to learn. Demons. They showed up. You fucking kill them. Everyone wins.

But, they managed to put characters in I really enjoyed. Lorath is a fucking boss. It’s great to just get drunk and talk shit about the primeval. The boss fights are much more clever than 3 and feel really fun to fight.

Oh, and for certain people in my readership who complained about Diablo 3 being too easy (wahhhh), well you don’t have that fucking problem. I played the entire campaign on the easiest difficulty and it was still hard enough to where I had to stop and think through what I was doing a few times.

I have seen people bitching on the internet about how you may have to replay the campaign in the season (more on this later), but I am not worried about that. To be honest, I am looking forward to playing this campaign again. It’s clever enough and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

I may even rewatch the cut scenes. How about that shit.

The Endgame

It’s alot of land, mane.

So if you are like me and you play ARPG’s to feel like a complete god, then you should brave the post-campaign endgame.

There is absolutely no rush. If you want to take your time working through all the extra content, you should definitely do that. I ran through it so you don’t have to. Here are some thoughts on the mechanics.

Tree of Whispers – I actually really like this when you are still trying to get all your legendaries. It is an easy farm to complete out your build. Plus it is a great way to experience the 100+ dungeons in the game. Bitesize chunks. The only negative is that by the time you get to the last difficulty and swoled up, it feels like content you skip. you don’t need it.

Renown – The shit I hate the most. I think in the entire game, its my least favorite system. Blizzard has locked skill points and endgame stuff behind you doing ALL the dungeons, finding all these alters around the map, doing the blue quests. It will seriously take you 25-30 hours to get all the renown rewards and its a time sink. IN THEORY, you only do this once cause all your characters get the benefit, but they have already said seasons are going to be different. I really hope they figure something out, cause what we have right now, is some shit I don’t want to do again.

Paragon – Instead of just loose points to up your characters main stat, you now have a FFX-style board where you add Glyphs to it that give powers. This is really a nice way to go beyond your legendaries to get the kind of precision in build that you want. I thought I would HATE it but its actually easy to navigate. Plus if you DONT want to navigate it, there are 1000 websites to help you with that.

Nightmare Dungeons – A combination of the Mythic+ system in WoW and Diablo 3’s GR rifts, you get items that swole up dungeons. Baddies get superpowers, you get a benefit or two, and a limited number of revives. I really like this. Its the only spot of the game that is level locked (generally the world scales. So someone at lvl 30 and lvl 100 could, in theory, play together in the open world at the same level). I think this system is a great challenge. The benefits are good. The only negative is the grind does get tedious, but there are ways of breaking it up. So far, I am really still enjoying nightmare dungeons.

Helltides/World Bosses/Legion Events – So far, everything I have described you do (or could do) on your own. These events are where you will be around people. The biggest change and the MMO-lite nature kicks in. Honestly, this is my FAVORITE part of the end game experience. The sort of chaos of having people around and all going for the same goal. You have to do it for end game upgrades, but its a really good time. Every time I am on and an event is up I run to it. Its big fun.

PvP – I didn’t do it, and I am as interested in it as Blizzard is. Which is to say not at all. No balancing. I’m actually told Whirlwind barb is the destroyer in there, but I have no desire to do it. And you absolutely don’t have to, which is the best part.

Overall, the endgame is the gift that keeps on giving. There is a ton to do, and Blizzard has rigged it up to where it will take a LONG time to do it all. They don’t want you to have your full shit in like 3 hours like you could do in a Diablo 3 season. Hell, getting max level will take weeks, but this is on purpose. You build and build on your strength and to be honest, I really like it.

Seasons. The Endgame’s Endgame

I dunno. And neither does anyone else.

You seek reader (if you aren’t familiar), games now have Seasons where they add different things to it, but you have to create a fresh character to experience it. PoE does it. Diablo 3 did it. They are going to do the same for 4.

The new season comes out in July. No one is really sure what they will add, what it will entail. But, based on where I am now, you bet your ass I am going to play it.

There is a ton they could fuck up with it. Like having it cost money with no tangible benefit other than playing the season. Or locking something behind getting a max level character in season.

For now, its a big ole question mark.

And I suppose that is what makes our games-as-a-service world so damn impossible to chew. How the fuck do you even review a game that technically never ends.

I’ll keep it simple. Its been out for two weeks and I am having a blast. If the season is even halfway decent, I will have gotten my money’s worth for sure.

Hell, I got my money’s worth out of the campaign. So how do I rate it?

4/4 (pending) – Its difficult without a season having happened yet, but I will call it for now. In a complete shock to me and I think just about anyone I talk to about this stuff, Blizzard did it. They made a good game again. Dunno how they fucking managed it, but they fucking did it.

Blizzard, just keep the train moving forward. You have a great foundation. Just build on it and you have a game I am prepared to throw away the next part of my life playing. Good job.

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