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Diablo Immortal – We Have A Devil And A PC

REVIEW – Although Diablo Immortal is essentially a phone game, we tested Blizzard’s free-to-play action RPG on PC. The original Diablo, released in 1996, was the legendary ancestor of the genre. Since then, there have been several instalments, console ports and a remake of the second instalment, so we wondered if the Diablo name was still a good one, “living up to its old reputation”?

 

 

It is impossible to talk about Diablo Immortal without mentioning the moment that has defined it for years. When the game, due out this week, was announced at Blizzcon 2018, it drew a hostile reaction from attendees. During a Q&A, one fan asked if the game would be available on PC. When Wyatt Cheng, the game’s lead designer, confirmed that the game would be mobile exclusive, the crowd booed, prompting Cheng to throw out a lengthy response, which now has it’s own Know Your Meme page.

 

 

“Don’t you have a phone? ” – the developer tried to joke to lighten the ominous mood. The response backfired and provoked the hatred of PC gamers and Diablo fans until recently, when Blizzard decided to release the game on PC because “they know that emulators are ‘smart’ for gamers”. So we sat down on PC to play the legendary hack’n’slash game, which turned out to be surprisingly fun.

Diablo Immortal was indeed a wild ride. Blizzard could have announced it as one of the first things at BlizzCon 2018 (instead of closer), teased a possible PC port, read a reading in the room, and resisted the urge to play the game’s mobile-only nature in a room full of PC gamers. Unfortunately, the new Blizzard has made quite a few mistakes (some PR level, some game design, some legal), so that’s part of the plan.

But in the end, the thankfully not mobile-exclusive Diablo Immortal didn’t turn out nearly as bad as some expected. We ended up testing the game on PC only because Chinese Huawei tablets are not supported by this Chinese game, which is funny enough in itself.

 

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Full-fledged Diablo

 

Diablo Immortal’s most impressive achievement is that it has no spinoff feel at all. It’s a full-fledged Diablo experience with a long campaign, full voice acting, plenty of activities and a pretty fair story for Diablo.

As for the start: the foray into Diablo Immortal is very much in line with the previous instalments in the series. You pick your class from barbarian, crusader, demon hunter, monk, wizard and necromancer, give yourself a name and get ready for some monster-killing hack-and-slash action.

This time, you can also customize your character’s appearance in the same way you would in real role-playing games by carefully crafting your hero’s facial features and appearance.

You quickly deal with the many creatures scattered across the ground and start levelling up your character. As in previous games, you’ll gain abilities slowly as you gain experience. The early part of the game acts as a tutorial, with the story and mechanics only unlocking once you push through part of the story.

 

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The story links two parts

 

Taking place between the events of Diablo II and Diablo III, Diablo Immortal presents a world ravaged by the forces of hell. The story and quests are of course merely a tool in the game, yet it’s much deeper than most free-to-play titles, and provides a sufficient level of world-building and fan service to allow new players to understand the universe while making long-time fans feel at home. Fan-favourite characters are found early on, and even some bosses are recognizable, such as King Leoric, who reappears in the first stage of the game as you work through a typical dark fantasy quest.

The only downside is that the dialogue, like Diablo III, is still horribly clichéd, as if someone were reading it from a junk fantasy pulp – and it’s not even written by Chris Metzen, who has left Blizzard. It’s a shame, but the story itself is not bad.

Available on mobile and PC, Diablo Immortal is one of the more visually pleasing free-to-play games to jump into. Characters carry on the game’s unique look while adding visuals with effects, detailed creatures and settings, and some stunning moments that take Diablo Immortal far beyond what you’d normally find in a free-to-play game. If you’ve played Diablo III, you’ll feel right at home in Immortal.

 

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“Phoned” graphics for PC?

 

The game looks great on a modern smartphone, pushing the hardware as far as possible in terms of visual fidelity. The moments of the sets feel very close to console quality, with a graphical polish that you’d typically find in a full-priced AAA game. It’s fantastic to see the attention to detail in the mobile space and what’s possible on a handheld device.

As for the PC, the visuals are nice there too, but perhaps it’s not a big surprise that it’s still below AAA PC titles or even Diablo III. The developers haven’t made any PC-specific graphical adjustments. The game takes full advantage of the mobile version’s options. On the positive side, the game runs relatively well on the “potato PC” and only rarely dips a bit.

As for the visuals, they’re not much different from Diablo III on PC. Maybe only the destructibility of the environment is missing, and of course, since there are no resolutions, the picture is a bit lifeless even in 1080p.

 

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We remain eternal “loot whores”

 

The gameplay is very similar to the previous instalment on PC and tries to spoil Diablo fans with the different abilities, experiences and equipment you want from a Diablo-like experience. From the hack-and-slash gameplay to the loot standing in the mountains, this is very much what I was hoping for from Immortal. It would have been very easy to keep a lot of this content behind some sort of paywall, and thankfully they avoided that crutch.

Although it’s possible to play with a controller on PC, this part of the game, which is still supposed to be in “open beta” (although it was “officially” released on June 2, the main screen still has the open beta sign), is, unfortunately, buggy, at least it didn’t recognize my Xbox 360 gamepad on PC. So I was left with the good old keyboard+mouse combo, which remains the primary control tool for Diablo titles.

Loot is still a massive part of Diablo Immortal, and you’ll spend a lot of time diving through your inventory to pick the best looking and best performing gear. It’s such a vital part of building your ultimate hero. In the several hours of gameplay I experienced, I’d say about 15 per cent of the time. I was checking what gear I had, what I could upgrade, and what new equipment to try to dig up next. It’s nice to see that Immortal has made the process more accessible, and it’s very reminiscent of the previous games in the series.

 

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Will they submit the bill?

 

Now that we’ve got the positives out of the way, it’s time to look at the much-hated microtransactions that have led to Belgium discovering the elephant in the room, microtransactions. While Blizzard and Netease have done an excellent job of providing an experience that you don’t HAVE to sink money into, there is still a healthy dose of ways for those who want to pay into the system.

It includes typical things in games like Fortnite, including Battle Pass and three different types of currency. Thankfully, there are no pay-to-win mechanics, so at least we won’t be going back to the dreaded auction house of Diablo III.

Diablo Immortal will come with three different currencies at launch. These include gold, the standard in-game currency found by killing monsters, platinum, a unique currency used to craft special magic items and obtained by completing daily quests and activities; and finally, Eternal Orbs, the unique currency used to purchase platinum, Battle Passes, Specialized Reforged Stones, Crests and other cosmetics, the only way to obtain which is by purchase.

Things don’t stop there. As mentioned above, Diablo Immortal has two different maps for ranks, the stand free 40 level map and the paid battle pass map also offer 40 levels. The player completes challenges and quests in both maps, and one is only available to those who pay.

The standard battle pass costs $5, while the $15 option unlocks levels that allow players to advance through the ranks. While it’s a little odd to see such a system in a Diablo game, it looks pretty similar to what we see in other free-to-play titles, so the pricing, while a little complicated, isn’t that far off, least not at the time of writing.

 

 

Guys, don’t you have a PC?

 

Diablo Immortal brings the series to free-to-play, and for the most part, it does it well. There is some experience with the battle pass and monetization, but on the surface, I feel it is in line with the rest of the series. There’s still that level with loot boxes, and there’s a lot of money to sink into it if you want to go that route, but the game brings a hearty dose of content for free to new players. This, plus the promise of a steady stream of content post-launch, makes the game very exciting, especially for mobile gaming enthusiasts.

We tested the game on PC, and although in some respects (in-game animations, graphics, effects, etc.), the game is a bit behind Diablo III, overall, it’s not much. The darker atmosphere, the fair (though still not outstanding) story and the magic of the new content make Diablo Immortal worth a try, especially since it’s free at the base level, and we were able to play it for a long time without paying a cent. We’re still waiting for Diablo 4, sitting on pins and needles, but in the meantime, this ‘not-so-mobile Diablo Immortal’ could be a great alternative on PC.

-BadSector-

Pro:

+ Darker, new story in old gameplay
+ Standard PC controls and all-round graphics
+ Character generation at the beginning of the game makes this section unique

Cons:

– Mobile port graphics aren’t very shocking to the PC
– While the story isn’t bad, the conversations are terribly cliché
– The aggressive (though avoidable) paid part


Publisher: Activision Blizzard

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, NetEase, Hong Kong NetEase Interactive Entertainment Limited

Style: Action RPG

Released: June 1, 2022 (mobile) June 2, 2022 (PC)

REVIEW - Although Diablo Immortal is essentially a phone game, we tested Blizzard's free-to-play action RPG on PC. The original Diablo, released in 1996, was the legendary ancestor of the genre. Since then, there have been several instalments, console ports and a remake of the second instalment, so we wondered if the Diablo name was still a good one, "living up to its old reputation"?     It is impossible to talk about Diablo Immortal without mentioning the moment that has defined it for years. When the game, due out this week, was announced at Blizzcon 2018, it drew a…
We tested the game on PC, and although in some respects (in-game animations, graphics, effects, etc.), the game is a bit behind Diablo III, overall, it's not much. The darker atmosphere, the fair (though still not outstanding) story and the magic of the new content make Diablo Immortal worth a try, especially since it's free at the base level, and we were able to play it for a long time without paying a cent. We're still waiting for Diablo 4, sitting on pins and needles, but in the meantime, this 'not-so-mobile Diablo Immortal' could be a great alternative on PC.

Diablo Immortal

Gameplay - 7.5
Graphics - 7.4
Story - 6.8
Music/Audio - 7.6
Ambiance - 7.1

7.3

GOOD

We tested the game on PC, and although in some respects (in-game animations, graphics, effects, etc.), the game is a bit behind Diablo III, overall, it's not much. The darker atmosphere, the fair (though still not outstanding) story and the magic of the new content make Diablo Immortal worth a try, especially since it's free at the base level, and we were able to play it for a long time without paying a cent. We're still waiting for Diablo 4, sitting on pins and needles, but in the meantime, this 'not-so-mobile Diablo Immortal' could be a great alternative on PC.

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