Diablo IV has now had its final open beta, and after playing through both tests on Xbox, it brought me back to the series in a way that Diablo III couldn’t.
We’re now about three weeks away from the release of Diablo IV Unleashed Hell on Xbox Series X | S and Xbox One when it launches on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full version. Why? With the dark undertones and gritty storylines feeding me enough devilish gratification, I’m finally ready to return to the series after Diablo III didn’t hit my sweet spot.
Diablo IV makes Diablo III feel like child’s play
Now to make things absolutely clear, I’m not saying Diablo III was a bad game, because it’s not exactly like that, but it’s a far cry from the rotten version of Sanctuary in the original Diablo games, which I have fond memories of. I loved III’s gameplay, which can be seen in Diablo IV’s DNA, but its visuals were a bit too… Blizzard for me. Visually, it felt more like a light-hearted Warcraft style than the gritty Diablo atmosphere, and with the story light enough to match its visuals, I was left just really enjoying the gameplay, which I have to say was worth every second!
As a bit of a backstory, I have many childhood memories of sitting in front of my dad’s computer in the early 2000s with my brother, slaying creatures in Diablo II – we were so bad, we had to keep an aspect of my dad’s main gameplay so we could Playing anything but the first part, but they made for fond memories nonetheless.
However, it looks like Diablo IV will rekindle the nostalgic charm that the original games honed in the years after Diablo III’s release. From the first reveal of the gameplay and cinematics, it was clear that Blizzard was making a darker haven again, in which blood runs freer than its inhabitants and ritual killings are the entertainment of the day.
I put a lot of hours through both testing of Diablo IV, the March open beta, and Server Slam this month, and while my brother could only join me in the initial beta, it was enough for me to know that Diablo IV is exactly what I want out of it. Serial.
Immediately upon starting the game, the snow-covered lands of Fractured Peaks felt heavy under the oppressive forces that plagued them. Whether it was groups of snakes or a swarm of demonic creatures, blood would splatter all over the frigid environment. Even in Torment II, Diablo IV didn’t feel overly difficult, but it’s the gritty nature of its locations that make the combat all the more exciting. Dungeons take you to decaying castles, dark, cavernous complexes filled with bodies, evocative displays and the like – all set pieces that felt like their predecessor lacked any sense. Even the story itself is much darker than Diablo III, with previous quests introducing Lilith, the Mother of Sanctuary, as she casually kills anyone but her loyal followers, or another side quest that sees a young boy possessed by a demon – he survives, but the intent is the same.
It’s that return to the core Diablo theme that has me exploring every nook and cranny that Diablo IV has to offer within its massive map. With dungeons, dungeons, world events, world bosses, side quests, and loads of lore to discover, I’m excited to see what other dark wonders Diablo IV might hold. Like I said before, the combat itself is similar to Diablo III, but more medieval in its depiction. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still killing hordes of enemies in unrealistic ways, just as you’d hope a Diablo game is worth its salt, but it ignored any form of clumsiness to feel contemporary in the world it’s done. Combined with the slicker game style, gothic undertones, and darker enemy variants, I’m very happy to say Diablo IV can’t come close enough!
In other Diablo IV news, Blizzard recently detailed how the Diablo IV post-launch content and pricing for each Battle Pass works — yes, there’s more than one on offer. We also know that there will be a “Big Boss Encounter” to test the toughest adventurers.
Have you played any of the open beta? If so, I’d like to know what your thoughts are on Diablo IV at the moment. Leave a comment below and let me know!
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