'Diablo IV' Review: Another Top-Down Triumph

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Blizzard Entertainment

The PC gaming contingent lives and dies by certain franchises that have defined their gaming platform for decades. DOOM, Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Warcraft, StarCraft, and many more legendary IPs make up the gamut of PC games that have stood the test of time and maintained their relevance since their earliest origins. Blizzard Entertainment is a massive PC gaming publisher/developer that's known for its immense PC gaming output. And one of the titles that define it is the top-down, action RPG that has morphed into a phenomenon, Diablo. And with the long wait for Diablo IV finally at its end and in fans' hands, I left it feeling like I'd found a new addiction that taps into my need to get stronger, acquire more loot, and vanquish the demonic hordes brought forth by Lilith. Now let's dive into my Diablo IV review.

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'Diablo IV' Review

Blizzard Entertainment

One of the first things that grabbed me about Diablo IV is its downtrodden world and intense atmosphere whenever its main antagonists make their presence felt. The main hub world of "Sanctuary" and its five main locales offer a nice variety of biomes that do a great job of reflecting the loss of hope and immense despair humankind is experiencing. It's easy to feel bad for everyone and seek out any side quests you can in order to give them just a sliver of happiness and satisfaction that'll lift their moods just a bit. Running around muddy forests, snow-capped mountains, and other weather-effected environments meant I got engaged in battle with a wide variety of enemy types, cleared out procedurally generated dungeons with plenty of loot to uncover, and random "World Events" that serve as fun detours from the main objectives at hand. The overall art design and music that backs your continued journeys through every part of Sanctuary go hand in hand with the gloomy influence left behind in Lilith and her followers' wake.

Speaking of Lilith, she stands out as one of the most imposing villains I've encountered in gaming in quite a while. The story revolving around her unwelcome return kept me intrigued from beginning to end - trailing her whereabouts means I came across a village full of cultists, legendary heroes who've become crazed advocates backing her evil deeds, and crazy revelations that expand upon the epic conflicts that have entangled angels, demons, & humans alike. Diablo IV reverts back to the super dark and hopeless feel of the themes present in Diablo II, which is something I know most diehard fans of the series greatly appreciate. From a graphical, musical, and storyline standpoint, I'm enamored with everything Diablo IV brings to the table.

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Blizzard Entertainment

The meat and potatoes of any Diablo game are its combat and adventuring - thankfully, Diablo IV produces a satisfying overabundance of both franchise pillars. My chosen character class of choice ended up being a badass black female Barbarian (I love to get in close and bop everything upside the head with my two-handed melee weapons in tow). As I grew in strength, I unlocked a bevy of abilities that increased her defensive and movement speed stats, which helped transform her into more of a tank warrior that could get into the thick of battle and soak up tons of damage while also delivering as much punishment as possible. It's awesome how freeform the character upgrading mechanics are here - I chose to dedicate most of my level-up points towards abilities that boosted my "Fury" gain, but I could switch it up and refund all my points to create a character focused on more defensive maneuvers. Running into other player classes always ended up being a cool moment of insight into Diablo IV's smart approach to player builds - for example, running into two separate "Rogue" types and seeing how their skills differ in battle was an eye-opening moment that carried over to other players' characters.

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Blizzard Entertainment

The one phrase that is at the forefront of my mind while putting this Diablo IV review together is "content rich." There is such an abundance of meaningful activities to indulge in and never tire of (exorcising a demon that took a young boy's soul captive stands out as one of this game's most memorable side missions!). Running main campaign missions is a fun endeavor, of course. But getting to traverse through dungeons you discover along the unbeaten path, hop into challenging World Events with other players in your vicinity, tackle multiple side missions when entering a new town, and uncover new pieces of legendary loot make up the gamut of things to busy yourself with in this game. Even the simple act of coming across a totem that gifts you with a temporary power boost of some kind keeps things fresh and encourages players to uncover every part of the massive map this game features. The endgame portion of Diablo IV ups the level of difficulty and gives players plenty of reasons to keep adventuring through Sanctuary, which is why I commend this game for having so much to see and do once the threat of Lilith has been wiped away.

On the subject of Diablo IV's failures, only two things come to mind - its annoying bugs/glitches and microtransactions. There were unfortunate occurrences where I'd dash into an area filled with crates or grass shrubs and have my character stuck for a few seconds before I could free them. And since this is an always-online experience, there were times when my connection would trip up and result in my character's attacks not registering for a few crucial seconds. And while I can't see myself ever pulling up to purchase some cosmetics, I can just imagine how much of an issue the high prices of those items can be for players who want their character decked out in the coolest fits. A single skin that ranges from $10 to $25 is simply too much to ask of Diablo IV's player base, in my opinion (the same sentiment goes for that damned $7 horse armor!).

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