Diablo Immortal Review – Evil On The Go


There is little doubt that Diablo Immortal is a significant and richly produced Diablo entry. It looks great, it evolves the action role-playing formula introduced in Diablo III and adapts it perfectly to the hardware it was originally designed for, and it strikes a good balance between making you feel powerful while motivating you to keep hunting better for loot. In that sense, Diablo Immortal is just another good Diablo game, but it’s also a game that can’t always be played with the same obsessive cadence as previous titles given the number of obstacles that can regularly get away from it.

The story takes place between Diablo II and III, with familiar faces popping up to provide thin context for the events that transpired by the time you get to Tristram at the start of the last main title. Deckard Cain is back (why wouldn’t he be?), and so is a new evil that threatens to use shards of the same Worldstone to wreak havoc on the lands. Story conversations are fully voiced, which makes Immortal feel as premium as previous Diablo titles on PC. There’s really nothing here to suggest it’s less than that either, with wide open spaces to explore and plenty of side quests to take on as you progress through the story.

What is different is obviously where you are going to play. Diablo Immortal was designed for smartphones, so it’s no surprise that it plays better on them as well. Touch controls use the familiar digital analog stick on the left side of the screen, while the right features a cluster of buttons for your various abilities. You have a choice of a single main attack and four equipable skills, with a fifth ultimate ability button appearing once you access it. It’s simple and well-spaced, and I never found myself accidentally pressing skills I didn’t want. You can move around and have attacks auto-target enemies, which further simplifies your focus, but also helps you accurately aim certain skills that need it. With my Necromancer, I often need to choose the area I want to blast a bunch of corpses into, which is easily done by simply holding the skill in question and twisting my finger to position it. In chaotic combat where I had to get things done quickly, accuracy could be a little wonky, but those moments were mostly fleeting.

Diablo Immortal also supports a variety of controllers that you can pair using Bluetooth, and here the action becomes even more manageable. With a physical stick, movement is more natural and button and trigger mapping capabilities meant it was even rarer for errors to occur. Even better, the right stick can be used to aim abilities, eliminating the need for a single tap to double-task. Still, that wasn’t as big of a difference as I still found myself making sure I had a controller on hand if I wanted to play Diablo Immortal on the go.

Diablo Immortal is also supported on PC, but under a well-deserved “open beta” banner. The PC game is underwhelming to say the least, lacking many of the basic features expected of a PC game that make it a much worse way to play the game. While many of the game’s visual settings can still be toggled on and off from mobile versions, including detail levels and maximum frame rates, the PC version can only be played in 1080p. While this is still the most popular resolution among PC players, it’s unacceptable to have a PC version that doesn’t allow you to change this setting, making UI elements and the puffy and blurry text at anything other than its native resolution. It’s clear, at least for now, that Diablo Immortal was developed primarily for mobile, so you should probably stick to playing it.

Gameplay has also been tweaked to accommodate the shift to mobile, further simplifying Diablo III’s formula. Whichever class you choose from the five, Immortal won’t task you with managing mana or stamina to use abilities, but simply relies on cooldowns to balance things out. Each ability also only has one upgrade path, removing the options Diablo III gave you to alter their effects. This ultimately gives you a lot less to worry about, but also less options to modify your build using only your abilities. Legendary Gems you start acquiring later in the game augment existing abilities while completely changing others, giving you some flexibility that will be needed if you aim to challenge the game’s most grueling content once you reach its maximum level of 60.

Initially, the story itself provides enough momentum to allow you to move between the various core areas of Diablo Immortal, each with an associated level to describe its challenge. The structure of how you move between these areas differs slightly from the strict act-based progression of previous games, but it fits well with the more MMO-like nature of the gameplay. After the brief intro, your world is populated with a host of other players, letting you tackle dynamic events and bounties together. Other players will join and leave your screen space as they see fit, without forcing you to actively party in order to work towards the same goal (although the ability to do so exists). You can complete the Diablo Immortal story entirely on your own if you want, with only endgame activities requiring you to start finding a large group of players to raid with.

Each story act is usually completed with a dungeon, which can be completed alone or with up to three other players via matchmaking. These are packed with creature kills and climactic boss fights that are a visual spectacle, while offering significant loot rewards upon completion. This mission can be replayed endlessly with higher difficulty modifiers to increase both challenge and reward, while providing a good amount of experience to supplement traditional progression. These, along with daily bounties, codex missions, and other side missions, are somewhat necessary after level 30 when the main story progression stops. Missions begin to require you to be a certain level to play them, while later play areas will have monsters far beyond your abilities if you venture into them without the required gear and offensive power.

Diablo Immortal
Diablo Immortal

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These little hurdles will remind you that Diablo Immortal is still a free-to-play mobile game, and its structure was designed around the idea of ​​frequent daily check-ins instead of instantly gratifying long play sessions. It imposes a grind that prevents you from continuing the story if that’s your main objective, pushing you to complete daily bounties, a variety of side missions buried in an assortment of menus specific to both your character and each of the areas you visit, and the progression of smaller side stories. None of these are as engaging as the main campaign, especially when most of it boils down to traveling to previous locations and killing a number of enemies of which you’ve already killed hundreds. The paid version of the Battle Pass offers more experience bonuses if you choose to purchase it, which would speed up this process considerably. the tasks ahead of you. Still, if you’re adamant not to spend a dime, these obstacles might only delay your progress by up to a day, allowing you to grab new bounties and their associated rewards in order to progress.

Where Diablo Immortal’s microtransactions start to get more troublesome is in its endgame content, and especially once you’ve seen the main story. Progress slows significantly from there, affecting your ability to continue subsequent games and increasing your end-game Paragon level. The PvP game also relies heavily on some of the best stat-altering gear and gems the game has to offer, which can be purchased through a marketplace that accepts an in-game currency that you can purchase with real money. (unlike the original Diablo III auction house, however, sales cannot be converted back to real money).

Random loot boxes also work into the equation, though Diablo Immortal eschews the actual mechanics of that for something slightly more interactive. Elder Rifts, like those introduced with Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, spawn randomized dungeons with enemies and a boss for a brief, enjoyable loot rush. Immortal tweaks this formula slightly with Crests, different types of which allow you to ensure the base rarity of the items you’ll be rewarded with. In a way, Elder Rifts are Immortal’s form of loot boxes, with good loot chances depending on how many ridges you’re willing to burn on each run.

Crests can be earned by playing, but later they start to become scarce. You can purchase two Regular Crests per day using in-game gold you earn by playing, but only one Legendary Crest per month through the same process. Legendary Crests are the most valuable, however, guaranteeing you’ll receive a new Legendary Gem upon a Rift, while regular Crests are only guaranteed to drop Runes (which help you craft those same gems). These legendary gems act as modifiers to your base abilities, making them stronger or changing their effects entirely in some cases. While providing more flexibility in your builds, they are also crucial for late game play, especially if you plan to invest in PvP. If you’re looking to play beyond the story and increase your Paragon level, Legendary Gems are also one of the only ways to strengthen your character enough, relying on them, which makes the traditional grind of slower and slower as you chase them. It’s clear from this balance that players who choose to pay more crests or those who buy them from the in-game market are at an advantage, as you won’t be able to keep up otherwise.

Endgame loot progression, Legendary Gems, and Elder Rift Races are important if you plan to play Diablo Immortal for a long time and invest in its upcoming seasons and Paragon progression. And you might be tempted to stick around, given how nice the main campaign is. It’s a classic Diablo experience, allowing you to happily watch all your stats increase as hordes of monsters swoop down before you. The power travel it allows sits up there with some of the best the series has to offer, making the sudden halt in pacing shocking and off-putting. But it’s still one you can enjoy without needing to delve into the mess of menus and lists asking you to press a button to claim myriad rewards day after day, given that you’re comfortable not being able to do it. all in a handful of sessions.

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