Is Diablo Immortal a game you should give a chance to play?
The answer is not so obvious and depends largely on what your expectations are for this title. At the end of the day, it's just (but also as much as) a mobile Diablo. Read more in our review.
Diablo Immortal is a production created primarily with the mobile market in mind. Nonetheless, the release of this title is still quite an event on the market, as it's the first new game in the series in more than 10 years! Yes. It's been 10 years since the debut of Diablo 3. We'll have to wait a bit longer for the fourth part of the series, and in the meantime we have a chance to check out its younger, smaller, uglier and a bit flawed brother, which, despite everything, has "that something" that can attract many players and make them get involved for a longer time. As long as it can withstand everything Immortal throws in its face. Well, but exactly, is it a good substitute for fans waiting for Diablo IV? This is what you will find out in the rest of the review.
Evaluating this type of production is not easy. Above all, it's worth remembering that in the review I focus primarily on the PC version, because this is the one I played the longest and was most curious about it. Some references to the mobile edition will also appear, but in the end it's the PC port that I'll discuss.
As it is in a slasher, we start our adventure by choosing a class and creating our own character. There is no special frenzy here, because we can choose only 6 classes, and the options for customization of the hero or heroine are classic fiddling with sliders, which do not give many possibilities. After playing in the wizard, we hit the prologue, which introduces us to the classic "we are the only hope of mankind" storyline, blah blah blah, after which we start the regular slaughter with demons in the background. We smash everything, finally reach the first HUB for our character and enter the "MMO zone", where we traverse the world with other people on the server between story missions. It all takes us about 10 minutes or so, and then more missions of such an engaging story, sidequests and the opportunity to play with others await us. So how to play?
With the gameplay, I'll admit frankly, I have a bit of a problem. It is seemingly enjoyable, and battering hosts of demons draws you in invariably, but at the same time the gameplay using mouse and keyboard seems really imprecise and unreliable. It's mainly about all sorts of bugs like botched hitboxes, a cursor that catches distant enemies, making you attack a random mob instead of going to a given place. Perhaps this is the fault of the servers and not the game itself, but it should be mentioned. Because apart from that, what more to say here? This is pretty much the norm in the world of Diablo. Except that somewhat truncated and for free. But should this worry anyone? After all, it's a port from phones. The game is nevertheless not bad, the fun can be addictive, and various bugs during combat are only occasional and happen mainly in narrower locations and during clashes with bosses. To the question of how the game is playing, I can nevertheless answer one thing – well. The core gameplay – despite the fact that this is a port of a mobile title – is up to the task, and in this respect we are definitely dealing with a competent title.
The biggest issue Diablo Immortal faces are the unfortunate microtransactions, which have been much talked about lately. Let's answer simple questions: Is it possible to pass Diablo Immortal without reaching for microtransactions? Yes. It is possible and you can definitely have a lot of fun with it. Do microtransactions strongly impose themselves on the player? They may even be necessary at a certain stage if one wants to pass the storyline without grind exp in order to further explore the game's story. Sure, they're not mandatory, but they're ubiquitous and encourage you to support Blizzard with a fiver or a dime (in Euros, of course) to level up faster or get the gear of your dreams. I had to mention this, because this approach to the subject clearly indicates that the storyline in Diablo Immortal is even designed for the use of microtransactions. I personally, in the name of the rules for the F2P game that the new Diabolo was created to be, did not spend, but I imagine that some players who get sucked into this title will be able to put up a considerable amount of money here to upgrade their character. Well, but whether someone wants to pay to play a F2P production is an individual issue for everyone to decide. For me, this is the wrong approach to the subject, but that's also how the mobile game market looks like.
To be honest, microtransactions or some bugs in gameplay don't bother me the most. Sure there are annoyances, and while I myself treat them as an aftermath of the mobile port, which was basically unavoidable, at the same time I think they are the least of the worries for the potential player, which will only occasionally cause some problems.
I won't talk about maybe some critical bugs, but a whole host of minor issues that make Diablo Immortal not so much a weak game – because it can shine on smartphones – but a poor port to PCs. We'll start with the controls. We move classically with the mouse. We can also teleport to the appropriate points found using the map. What's the problem with this? Well the cursor likes to get stuck. The character then goes by itself to a point known only to itself. The aforementioned teleportation, on the other hand, has already got me kicked off the server a couple of times because the Internet connection was lost, despite the fact that everything at my place was working just fine. Well, and the optimization itself is not some kind of miracle either. I don't know exactly what it can be caused by, but occasional drops in fluidity happen relatively often, and despite the fact that the game is not particularly difficult, it can definitely annoy.
The optimization problem is interesting insofar as Diablo Immortal is practically an impoverished Diablo 3 in terms of graphics. Literally. The design of the enemies, the overall graphical style and many visual effects are something we have already seen a long time ago. This has only undergone a slight downgrade. The upshot is that I feel like I've switched to Xbox 360, and only the higher frame rate (unstable, unfortunately) makes me feel like I'm back in time. The problem, of course, practically does not exist on a phone, because on a small screen the project looks sensational, and the number of frames per second does not make such a difference (of course, it also depends on our device, for me, around 30 frames with occasional drops did not bother me at all).
So how to evaluate Diablo Immortal? It took me a long time to figure out how to approach this. On the one hand, gameplay-wise, the game seems too simple to me and I consider it too primitive for a title released on PC from a company like Blizzard. On the other hand, the gameplay managed to draw me in, and killing hordes of enemies was simply enjoyable, as always. I take a negative view of microtransactions and the very fact that they are heavily promoted and have a potentially large impact on the development of the player's character. They made me feel like scolding mobile diabolo. Well, but you have to admit that it's possible to have fun even without them, especially if you have someone to play with, although alone – of course – it's not bad. These kinds of arguments can be flipped around for a long time to come, but the fact is that Diablo Immortal is, all in all, not a bad production, which for many reasons limps along on PCs. This is also how I rate this game. By no means are we talking about a bad, eminently botched or futureless title. The joy of slaughtering evil here is enormous, there are many bugs, but not so many as to completely cross out this production. In addition, we're still talking about a beta, so there's a chance that it will all come out yet.
Another point worth mentioning is that we are only dealing with a port of a game created with smartphones in mind. And there a lot of problems do not exist or are heavily reduced, and in addition, on such a small screen the whole thing looks just great. The controls, of course, take some getting used to, but they work quite well. As a curiosity I'll add, which I unfortunately forgot to check in person beforehand, but if you believe the assurances of the Infallible Experts on the Internet, Diablo Immortal supports controllers on both PCs (which I can confirm) and smartphones! So if it hurts someone to play standard, they can help themselves to a pad. And I won't hide – Diablo Immortal is best played in slightly shorter sessions. It seems to me that this is also how the game was designed, and at the time it gave me even more pleasure than with longer sittings on the PC.
Should you reach for Diablo Immortal? If you can, I would recommend opting for the mobile version, as this is the best option to play this production. The PC edition is mediocre at best by the numerous problems mentioned earlier, and even there there are better options for hack'n'slash fans who abhor spending money on new games. For example, the excellent Path of Exile is fully free, and the optional payments there only apply to cosmetics, if I'm not mistaken. However, if you have longed for the iconic series of games from Blizzard or want to experience something new… then why not? Nevertheless, it is also enjoyable to play on the PC, and any micropayments are not a compulsion. Whether you want to pay for them is up to you. The very core of Diablo Immortal is successful, and hopefully Blizzard will be able to wring much more out of it, because the potential is there, and in anticipation of Diablo IV, this production seems to fill the void in the hearts of fans well.