Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mother Has Arrived - Diablo IV - Review

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Mother Has Arrived - Diablo IV - Review

Share on Reddit

All views are that of the author and are not influenced by any copies of games provided by publishers for review purposes.

About the Game
The gates of hell have opened after 11 years in Diablo IV, an ARPG set in the world of Sanctuary. The vast open world game features 5 classes to start with, each with their own unique skills and abilities. Whether you're a Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Rogue or Sorcerer (my personal favorite), you are dropped into a world brimming with dungeons, bosses, demonic forces, and more.

The action role-playing game, developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, is the fourth main installment in the Diablo series and was released on June 6th, 2023 for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. It has cooperative multiplayer elements and PvP zones, but Diablo IV can also played be solo. Much like its predecessors, the fourth iteration of the game encourages players to gain skill points to empower their abilities and gather equipment, including Diablo 4 gold, dropped from enemies killed. Health and mana resources are key elements of Diablo IV as well as a skill tree that unlocks the Paragon Board once your character reaches level 50.

On average, the main campaign takes about 35-40 hours to complete, but there are plenty of side quests and endgame activities to partake in as you journey throughout Sanctuary.

At its core, Diablo IV is about as satisfying as a hack-and-slash can possibly get. Whether you're used to the genre or just getting started, the game allows for a very rewarding experience as you begin navigating your hero with a click of a mouse around town. The frictionless movement gives room for a smooth combat too, and though I initially thought it odd that key binding is locked until after you have 7 skill points, I appreciated the opportunity to try out a bunch of different skills before deciding which playstyle best suited me.

I've put in more hours into Path of Exile that I could possibly count, and while it's clear that D4 doesn't go quite as ambitious in complexity of builds and theorycrafting, it certainly has plenty to offer the genre it helped trailblaze. The skill trees offer a great deal of diversity in the Abilities tab, and it's easier than I could have possibly imagined to respec skill points if you find that a certain ability is not working for you. Until reaching level 10, your character can freely refund skill points for no cost, which gave me plenty of opportunity to try out all different kinds of Sorcerer abilities like Spark, Fire Bolt, Frost Bolt, Arc Lash, and Chain Lightning. Arc Lash and Spark were particularly fun for early game, especially when upgraded.

Story is almost never a core element of ARPGs, and it's safe to say that Diablo IV doesn't quite try to invent the wheel when it comes to what it's trying to tell. At the very least, it's an easy to follow and pretty straightforward story as you navigate your way through several acts to find Lilith years after the events of the last game in the franchise. Blizzard promises to expand on the storyline with future expansions and likely Seasons, post-launch content that is standard for live service games where players will have to create a fresh new character and level them up to the end of the main campaign in order to experience the new features and questlines. Much like other games in the genre, most notably PoE's leagues, seasonal content in Diablo IV will be exclusive to that season and inaccessible after the season's 3-month timespan unless the content gets added to the base game. It does feel like the game has set up an interesting and fun core--but that's all that it is for the most part until the battle pass turns it into a more exciting and complex game. I, for one, cannot wait for the first season (mid to late July).

There's enough diversity in the different skills the game offers each character that I never felt I was playing the same thing twice. With the Sorcerer, for example, I managed to craft a character that does a chain of lightning damage as my core ability, but because that's a skill that uses a lot of mana resources early on in the game, I had to pair it with a "basic ability". By the time I was at late level 20, I had a fire bolt, a beam of fire, my lightning chains, and at least one frost skill. I felt like an elementalist through and through, and it was all incredibly entertaining to watch enemies and bosses take so many different types of damage.

I don't expect a lot from ARPGs when it comes to visuals, but Diablo IV is undoubtedly stunning. The textures are lively, the lighting is impeccable, and the vast and diverse environments across Sanctuary offer a beautifully immersive experience. For a game that is gory and grim every chance it gets, it's impressive how bright the colors pop at every chance. There's no denying what a huge upgrade this is over previous installments in the franchise as well as other games in the genre such as Grim Dawn.

The top-down view of the game gives room for a lot of impressive environmental details and asset work, and the cutscenes are some of the most engrossing and visually gorgeous cinematics I've seen all year. They bring the world to life while still retaining that typical Blizzard flair that you would come to expect from cutscenes. In particular, the opening sequence (which was shown in an early trailer a while back) prepares you to how grand and breathtaking the visuals are in this game.

Similarly, there is no denying that Diablo IV has a beautifully creepy soundtrack unlike anything I've ever heard. Different regions of the map come with tonally contrasting and dark vibes, but something they all have in common is a shared theme: hell. The audio design around boss fights feels particularly loud sometimes thanks to its brutal undertones, and while it adds a lot of eeriness to an already daunting game design, I often had to reach for the volume to tone it down a notch at certain levels.

Of course, it comes as no surprise that the cast and voice actors do a tremendous job in bringing these characters and NPCs to life. Caroline Faber, in particular, adds so many layers to our horned antagonist Lilith alongside Debra Wilson's Prava, Steve Blum's Mephisto, Gabe Kunda's Inarius, and many others. I usually have little to no problem playing a game without headphones entirely, but even I could not resist how deliciously devilish some of these lines of dialogue came across in Diablo IV.

For the most part, Diablo IV runs smoothly even without a high-end gaming PC. While playing in multiplayer co-op, we did notice some strange bugs here and there with player markers not showing up correctly on the map, characters disappearing from the screen randomly when someone else in your party interacts with NPCs in a quest, and waiting in the queue for a few minutes at the peak of the game's launch, but none of these issues were game-breaking. It's almost surprising nowadays when a big budget game performs well enough on launch week, as sad as that may be, and while this experience may not apply to everyone (there had been PS5-specific freezing issues last I checked the Blizzard forums), the general consensus seems to be that Diablo IV had a smooth sail to hell.

It's certainly no surprise that the game has made over $666 million in sales in its first week already, setting a new record for Blizzard.

Impressively, Diablo IV has over 50 accessibility options to choose from, most notably and most popular among the game's dedicated subreddit is the Screen Reader. According to a blind Diablo IV player, the screen reader reads almost everything on the screen, from gear to statistics to locations on a map, and while it's certainly not perfect, they easily recommend the game to other blind and low-vision players.

The Accessibility settings also include button remapping, a key element to a game like this and something I wish every game puts the time and effort into implementing. While I have yet to try it on the Steam Deck yet, I am excited about how this would greatly improve the experience of the game on a handheld console. The cinematic substitles also come with different options, including font color, scaling and background opacity, though I particularly love that they are enabled by default, saving me the time to do so manually.

There is font and cursor resizing as well as audio cues to enable as you fit, and while these settings might not go above and beyond like God of War or The Last of Us, it's most certainly appreciated and welcome.

Diablo IV is a highly enjoyable and rewarding addition to a franchise that set the standard for all action role-playing games more than 11 years ago. Its vast open world delivers a fully immersive experience that offers a solid foundation, setting the stage for future seasonal content expansions. Highly recommended for new and dedicated fans of the genre.

Gameplay/Story: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Performance: 8/10

Overall: 8/10

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News