Diablo 4 is already ten hands above the third chapter | Tried

Diablo 4 is already ten hands above the third chapter | Tried

If you are those who have appreciated Diablo III, perhaps loving it madly, know that I am, however, one of those who has little appreciated if not sometimes hated. Don't get me wrong, I think the third chapter of Blizzard's action-RPG saga is a really nice product, perfect for clearing your head and spending an hour and a half peaceful air travel, perhaps with your own Nintendo Switch, but beyond that it stops there, completely moving away from the dark gothic spirit of the series and from the complexity that we appreciated so much with the second episode.

During the 2019 BlizzCon, I had the opportunity to try Diablo IV instead, I was one of the first Italians, to after all, to get my hands on it and already from those ten minutes of testing, I realized the enormous potential of the fourth chapter, far beyond all that Diablo III has been for so many years.

- -> Today, after completing the first open beta weekend of the new Diablo, I can confirm it: we are faced with a product that already seems ten spans above the previous episode, in all respects.

By now you will have gotten to know me in all these years of articles, but usually during the tried ones I tend to be skeptical, since I always wait to evaluate the final impact of the project, but here I certainly don't want to give an evaluation already to the game, how much more to emphasize how this is simply, on paper, already above the forgettable third chapter.

We tested the game with the following PC configuration:

GPU: RTX 3070 Ti MOBO: Gigabyte X570 AORUS ELITE RAM: Kingston FURY Beast 32GB (2x16GB) 3600MHz DDR4 CPU: AMD 5700x SSD: Sabrent Internal SSD 1TB Rocket NVMe PCIe 4.0 Keyboard: Razer Blackwidow V3 Mouse: Razer Basilisk Ultimate Headphones: Plantronics RIG Monitor: LG 27GN850 UltraGear 27” QuadHD Nano IPS

Diablo IV, darker than ever

We wanted a darker Diablo and we finally got it. After the extremely colorful and lively interlude of Diablo III, Blizzard is finally back on its path with a dark and disturbing fourth chapter, able to make us relive moments that seemed lost.

--> The scenic impact of the game seems to have found its spark that made us love Diablo and Diablo II so much, focusing on a seemingly well-layered characterization of the characters and a story that finally appears much more mature and intriguing. I certainly don't want to confirm right now that the story of Diablo IV will be wonderful, but it is inevitable to be delighted by the quality of the first cutscenes, the dialogues and what happens in the game: already much more penetrating than the first hours of Diablo III.

Backing this up is a functional visual rig that not only looks great in isometrics, but also looks great in in-game cinematics. Spells, combos and skills, as well as the disintegration of enemies on screen is dazzling and well taken care of.

--> To date, the only real flaw remains a series of obvious optimization and technical problems, with exaggerated framerate drops and rubber banding phenomena when entering and leaving the cities that are clearly perceptible (for the uninitiated it is a phenomenon in which a moving character appears to jump from place to place). This is obviously a BETA and we hope that all of this will be optimized in the final version, also because we are underlining decidedly "tiny" critical issues that shouldn't be complicated to solve.

So many things, so much “complexity”: simply enormous

Diablo IV is not only the first installment of the series to be entirely open world – along the lines of Sacred – but it is also considerably more “complex” than the previous iteration, with a myriad of things to evaluate and keep an eye on. Every single feature can be completely customized, from the aesthetic appearance of the character in the initial editor up to a series of upgrades for weapons and equipment, which can be improved thanks to various materials that can be found by exploring or simply eliminating the many enemies present on the map.

We no longer have different locations divided into acts, but a single large world with different explorable areas. The acts have remained (the BETA was dedicated to the entire first ACT), mind you, but they act on the basis of an advancement of the narrative. This huge new structure for the series drastically increases the variety: unlike in the past, completing dungeons becomes more profitable and the countless challenges around are more sensible and better cared for, as well as difficult.

From a certain point of view view Blizzard was inspired by their workhorse, World of Warcraft, introducing a map shared by all players, with activities and random events, the possibility of creating clans and much more. The cities, now more numerous, act as a HUB to exchange objects or simply have a chat, but even fighting around it is possible to meet players, eventually being able to team up by creating groups of up to a maximum of four players, to share experience and complete more effectively the groups of demons that we meet along the way. In short, an MMO-like model that seems to work very well.

Therefore, we no longer have a precise path, there is no longer that linearity of the past: everything is free and wide-ranging , being able to decide whether to go and complete story missions or simply cross stories, characters or hidden treasures. This gargantuan proposition makes the title unpredictable and what is even more frightening is that during the test I tested neither the PVP (which promises to be an important component in the finished game) nor the endless opportunities for skill enhancement through our good old runes.

Speaking of skills and progression, Diablo IV is closest to Diablo II , with skill trees that are rather simple to read and understand, as well as adaptable with respecs simply by spending gold. In practice, we can freely decide how to improve our character and modify it according to the situation. In this first phase it was only possible to play as the Barbarian, the Cutthroat or the Enchantress, I opted for the last two and tested different spells and skills, observing an important difference in terms of types of damage and effects.

The game is not particularly complicated from this point of view, indeed I think that Blizzard should work a little more on the balance , because the difficulty seems to be calibrated downwards and to be honest I would not want to find myself disintegrating hordes of enemies with just a few clicks as with the predecessor. Clearly we have only tried the intermediate difficulty, but we expect the software house to work in time for the launch or in any case to fix the general difficulty shortly after the release.

In short, between world events, activities, merchants and customization, this Diablo IV already seems to be several hands above its predecessor, which is a good thing seen and considering that it is more inspired by the second episode, undoubtedly the best of the series… until now.

Summing up

Diablo IV seems to be everything I've ever dreamed of from a true sequel to Diablo II: a game that maintains a dark and bloody atmosphere, surrounded by an important general complexity and from a mature narration far from superficiality. This fourth episode promises very, very well and my wish is that Blizzard will be able to present itself on June 6th with a production that is not only of a high level, but capable of bringing back to life all those wonderful experiences lived with the first two unforgettable video games of the saga.

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