I’ve spent 10 hours with Diablo 4 and I’m sold – it’s been worth the wait

I've spent 10 hours with Diablo 4 and I'm sold - it's been worth the wait

I had doubts. I had questions swirling around in my head ever since I Played Diablo 4 for the First Time at BlizzCon 2019 – Was it really that long ago? – and I had questions about the need for a whole new Diablo. But after 10 hours with since the start of the game, I can see what shape it’s taking, and I’m loving it. I like the tone, I like the mechanics, I like the world. There are some things I don’t see, but overall this is clearly the next generation of Diablo.

Curiously, it’s the world that remains to me the most. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise given that an open world is one of Diablo 4’s big new features, and with every PR beat, Blizzard has told us how much it wants the world to feel. dark, like previous Diablo games. Diablo 3 had a more cartoonish edge to it, a kind of Warcrafty tinge.

And it’s true, Diablo 4 looks darker, not in a literal lighting sense, but in a more moody sense. It is sinister and disturbing. It’s austere and desaturated. It’s a fantasy world that’s always raining and selling – a gray-hued world of mud and weather-beaten people. A harsh world of harsh realities. I can’t think of a better comparison than Game of Thrones in the North in that regard: a steadfast place where people don’t smile much. It’s like that.

Zoe also played the preview version. Here’s what she thinks.

Diablo 4, more than any other game in the series, also really takes time to ground you. There are flashy cutscenes at special moments that can be quite disturbing, but it’s the in-game cutscenes, where the camera flies around to better frame what you’re seeing, it really comes. Honestly, I never pay attention to it in Diablo games. These are just flavors against a backdrop of mass slaughter. But it looks like Diablo 4 wants us to spend a little more time with them here.

One scene that stands out early on in the game involved being tricked, drugged, and then taken by a hissing villager to a shed where he clearly intended to cut me up and sacrifice me. What struck me was how calm he – and he – was. Its normalcy made it all twice as unsettling, as if the game was saying hey, that’s how it is here – this is the world you play in.

It’s this quiet nature that makes Diablo 4 feel so different from the most recent Diablo game, Diablo Immortal. This game was in a rush to impress you, throwing spectacular encounters at you and showering you with rewards. Making it so exciting that you couldn’t look away, as a free game should, before revealing a grind later.

But Diablo 4 doesn’t do that, it lets things breathe. It lets the world breathe as it’s introduced to you, and it lets you breathe as the world introduces things to you – mechanics, rewards, ways to play the game. There’s no rush here, which I really like, and there’s a huge sense of confidence that comes with it, as the game lets things build slowly.

None of this is to say Diablo 4 is boring – far from it. I’m particularly impressed with how the game manages to make combat challenging and exciting right from the start – something Diablo 3 was hopeless about. It has a lot to do with the new World Tier difficulty options available. You can choose between two at the start, and the further you go, the better your rewards will be. But if you go harder prepare to die, not all the time, but I’ve died a handful of times against bosses and elite groups. (By the way, world level levels can be changed in-game from the world level statues in towns. If you are grouped, the group leader determines the state of the world.)

It’s not just a matter of difficulty, however. Looks like Diablo 4 has a better understanding of how to make enemy encounters as a whole more exciting and challenging. The enemies themselves have been refreshed or redesigned, or completely new – my favorites are the Broodlord Vampires, who look like levitating Nosferatus and teleport around the area in a puff of smoke and bats, causing them to makes it really hard to reach. And enemies that knock you down or freeze you, or otherwise prevent you from healing, pose a particular danger here.

But there’s also a sense of fun to it all – a realization of when Diablo feels the best. Take the ghouls: they’re squishy and mundane on their own, so the game throws 15 at you at once so you can smash them all up and feel like a badass.

The character creation is excellent. I particularly like the attention paid to the musculature on the different models.

This understanding extends to how Blizzard populates the open world. You’ll find small mini-dungeons for short bursts of action, layered over larger mini-zones for longer digs. And these will be circled areas nearby on the map representing world events, which are usually a variation of wave-based attacks that you need to survive, protect someone against, or beat in a limited time. And they all increase in difficulty and culminate in a mini-boss, then reward you with a big loot chest on top of whatever the enemies have dropped. It’s enemies, enemies, enemies, loot, loot, loot. This is Diablo at its best.

Accompanying this are side quests with an exclamation mark to pick up in town or the world, often leading to their own instanced dungeon, and the more lavishly scripted main quests, with their own cutscenes and cinematics. And it all adds up to a world full of things to do, and one that can keep you entertained for hours at a time. After 10 hours, at level 22, I feel like I’ve barely seen any. This place is huge, and you are going to stay there for a very long time.

It’s the world, and my only real criticism of it is that no mount was available in my build to go around it, and I feel like it’s built for them. I’m also not sure I have to retrace my steps out of dungeons after clearing them, which adds more time – why aren’t there any portals upwards?

The bosses aren’t incredibly dramatic to begin with, which leaves plenty of room for the show to develop later. But neither are they bad and unchallenging.

Inspiring you to explore the world is a new in-game system called Aspects. These are unlocked from a power codex for doing things like conquering a dungeon you find somewhere. Aspects themselves are buffs like the ones you find on legendary items, and once unlocked they can be applied to items at an occultist – a new type of vendor in the game. In effect, this means you can turn rare items (yellow) into legendary items (orange), and it gives you more versatility in customizing character builds.

Versatility can also be seen in the game’s skill system. It’s much deeper than Diablo 3. It’s based on a skill tree system, which slowly opens up as you spend more points on it, but there are branches and permutations far beyond the point capacity you’ll need to spend on them, meaning you’ll need to specialize. It’s such a dizzying amount of choice that you can even filter it by keywords, and I think the game expects you to constantly change your mind as it gives you respecs straight from the tree itself.

As excited as I am about what I’ve played, it’s important to remind you that there are things I haven’t seen in this build that are critically important to the vision for Diablo 4. Namely, the shared world, which other players run around and play alongside you. I only saw a few other players in town during the time I played, and after performing a few emotes and trading elixirs, we continued on our way.

Here’s an overview of the Barbarian skill trees I was using. You can see in the background how branched and complex they are. They are captivating. I could get lost in it for days.

I haven’t seen any world bosses either, and those are a big new thing for Diablo. These are like organic raids – huge encounters that will act as a magnet to bring people together. I remember meeting one at BlizzCon 2019 and it was quite a sight. And while one was added to this earlier part of the game for us to see (they normally spawn later, when you’re nearing the end of the game, around character level 45), it was too rare to let me see it.

I also haven’t tried the Adventure Mode-like Whispers system, Nightmare Dungeons, Helltide zones, or Fields of Hatred PvP, all of which will shape the endgame in Diablo 4.

What I tried, however, was a reassuring single-player Diablo experience. One in which you can see a generational difference between it and the Diablo experiences that came before it. It’s in the look of the game but also in the way the game feels: like it’s one big thing, one big world and one with big ideas for how people play it collaboratively. There are still question marks, but now there are also answers, and perhaps the most important is whether Diablo 4 will be worth the wait, and on that evidence, yes, absolutely, c is the case.

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Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/ive-spent-10-hours-with-diablo-4-and-im-sold-its-been-worth-the-wait


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