Welcome to our Diablo 4 Honest Review. We will look into what Diablo 4 is and whether it is worth your time and hard earned money.
What is Diablo 4?
For those of you that do not know Diablo is an extremely long standing series. The first Diablo launched in 1996 and was massively popular. It is a dungeon, loot game. Kill mobs, collect your loot and level your character. Kill stronger mobs and so on.
To start with I will say I am a long time fan of the Diablo series. I remember the first time I killed the Butcher in Diablo 1. Running and telling my brother and dad and trying to explain how to do it while jumping up and down in excitement. The awe I felt when I finally finished the first game.
Then as a teenager playing Diablo 2 and fighting through the deserts and sewers or getting killed in the swamps. It was amazing.
Diablo 3, they began to mess up Diablo 3 in some really major and greedy ways but they did eventually fix it. I think a lot of people will remember how they attempted to use real life money in a game auction house at launch. However after a year or so when they released the Rifts, greater rifts and bounties. They gave us a good end game instead of just grinding the same missions and bosses over and over again. They removed the in game auction house.
With some polish Diablo 3 became one of my favorite games, grinding out my character, competing in the leaderboards, the random layout and mob types of rifts. All of it came together to make a great dungeon crawler, hack and slash game.
Now we come to Diablo 4. I cannot express how excited I was for Diablo 4’s release. I was one of those stupid people that bought the expensive pre release version with 4 days early access. Took time off work. Got micro meals. I was ready to sit in front of my computer for 1-2 weeks barely sleeping just bashing out some Diablo 4.
How naive was I?
Diablo 4 Honest Review: Initial Thoughts
On Diablo 4’s release I was not disappointed. The game was good fun. There were issues, but nothing major and I really enjoyed everything I was doing. I found the story to be great initially. The combat was much the same as the other games but smoother. There is not much you could do to change the combat while keeping Diablo 4 true to itself and its genre.
Atmosphere While Playing Diablo 4
The atmosphere in Diablo 4 was amazing. The background music reminded me massively of Doom Eternal Soundtrack. That is one of my all time favorite soundtracks in any game. It gets you pumped and moving and when it kicks in you know you’re in for a rough time.
Diablo 4’s music felt much the same, the whole world has a dark layer over it and there are ominous sounds and movement around you as you explore. The game really made you feel like you are in the end times.
Diablo 4’s Graphics are great. The world looks beautiful and when you cut down your multitude of enemies there is visceral blood and gore around them. The towns and camps have many NPC’s in and it all comes together to look and feel amazing.
Diablo 4 The Beginning of the End
As I said on launch for the first day or two I was thrilled about the game. There were issues such as it being online only (WHY?), the ridiculous in-game shop and other issues some of which I will address.
The beginning of the end for me was part way through the main story campaign. I had been hoping for some thoughtful story telling, some surprises and shocks. Man, was I disappointed? I enjoyed the story but it was predictable. Blizzard could have gone many ways with it.
Made Lilith actually a good guy trying to bring out your power so you could stand against the Prime Evils, made Elijah one of the first born. They could have done anything, instead they did the cliche. Power hungry bad guy with a half formed plan, helped by a traitor. WOW SHOCKER!
Where in the Hells are Diablo’s Iconic Main Characters?
In Diablo games we expect and want to see the same heroes and Villains appear in new and dangerous ways. All the way through Diablo 4 I was expecting these characters to turn up. You know the ones I mean, Tyreal, you from Diablo 3 and I don’t know? The guy the game is named after perhaps?
Instead we got a boring ass angel who was obviously not long for the world of Sanctuary. The same angel that was meant to be locked up and tortured in hell for all eternity. Suddenly he is back in the world of Sanctuary. Do we get any explanation of how he escaped and is now head of a massive religion controlling most of the world? NOPE…
We had Deckard Cain for the last three Diablo games. “Stay a while and Listen”. Iconic character. He died, so I understand why he did not come back at least. But instead of Tyreal or a character we may know or heard of we get an old drunk. This drunk was apparently the sole survivor of a cinematic in Diablo 3. Does that even count as a recurring character? He was in a cinematic for the whole of about 5 seconds, had no name or history.
Tyrael in Diablo 4. Well that’s misleading. Because he isn’t in Diablo 4. He is mentioned one or two times in the entire game. You are meant to believe he is dead, off screen, unknown how. The old drunk mentioned earlier, visits a grave in some cinematics and you assume it’s Tyreals. An explanation or atleast a line telling us he is dead or where he is might have been nice instead of waiting the entire game for him to show up and he doesn’t.
Now how do I even begin to explain my anger and disappointment that the title character, Diablo is not in the entire game? I cannot. It is beyond me. Diablo has always been in all the games. He is the lord of terror. The most dangerous of the seven Prime Evils. He is cunning, intelligent and dangerous. I had personally hoped you would at least see him. Nothing though. He does not feature at all in a game he is the main character of. We all know and understand why. Well I hope we do anyway.
Diablo is Not Featured in Diablo 4
Diablo is not featured in Diablo 4. Is this because Blizzard wants to milk more and more money out of the customers? Personally I would not be surprised if he is not in the game until the second or third DLC. The longer Blizzard keeps Diablo out of a Diablo game the more likely we are to buy the DLC so we can finally see and face him again.
This is yet another example of the gaming industries misleading or false advertising on games. How can a game be named after a character but the character not be featured? This would be the same as going to a football match and there is no football. Outrageous Right? Yet Blizzard dances away into the sunset having taken your hard earned money.
Diablo 4, Missing Half the Story
I have already explained how almost all the previous stars of the game series are missing in this game with one or two exceptions. This coupled with the fact that on release Blizzard announced they have several expansions lined up explains so much.
Firstly I will say I am actually a fan of DLCs and expansion on games. Mass effect 3, Dragon Age inquisition, upcoming Cyberpunk, Rimworld and many other games have done their DLC right. How it should be done. DLC that adds to the game, not finishes it.
Diablo 4 is in the same category as Paradox games or Mass Effect Andromeda in my opinion. It releases half the story and gives us snippets of the rest. Then make you pay the same price of the game several times over to actually finish it. This is done in the form of multiple DLCs that each go part way to finish the game we have already paid for.
The DLCs that will come I expect will reintroduce Diablo, explain finally what happened to Tyreal, reintroduce the other 4 Prime Evils we have not seen and perhaps explain where Heaven and the Angels have gone. It is just another example of getting half of what we pay for in the gaming industry. There will be multiple ones for Diablo 4. Because why charge people once for 5-10 hours of a story when we can charge them 3 or more times. Each with a nice big price tag on and only part of the story.
How Diablo 4 Showed me Why You NEVER EVER Trust Early Release Reviewers
It has been well recorded that if you want early closed access to Blizzard games before release you have to agree to Blizzard’s terms and conditions on it. That is understandable I suppose. The issue arises in the fact that in those Terms and Conditions it states you cannot say anything negative about the game.
Again this is understandable from a business perspective. Why would you give access to your product to a reviewer if they are going to bash it? The issues arise in the Reviewers and streamers accepting those conditions. Where is their integrity?
The most memorable reviews and most important from my perspective were those that revolved or focused on the end game of Diablo 4. As an experienced Diablo player I knew that the End game would be 80-90% of the overall game.
So I read the early access reviews, watched the videos and so on, keeping an eye on things to see how it turned out. The review that sold me on the game and built my excitement befor its release was one saying: “the End Game was better than Diablo 3“. There was so much to do and it was not repetitive leveling from when you finished the campaign to max level. What a load of horse s***!
Diablo 4 End Game is Repetitive, Boring and Slow
When you unlock the third world tier, usually after you finish the campaign or level 40-50 you begin to notice some repetition almost right away. There are a total of 3, maybe 4 activities for you to do. Each one lasts for a few minutes and then it is just rinse and repeat. The first one which can last for up to an hour, if you have the patience is Hell invasions.
These spawn every 2 hours and last about an hour. You just kill mobs in the area, collect shards and hand them into chests for loot. The mobs in this area are usually a bit stronger and give more xp but boy does it get boring quickly. You are just running around a section of the map killing every mob you come across over and over and over again. There is no goal except to get the shards. It just gets repetitive and tedious very quickly.
The next activity is the Tree of Whispers, much like the bounties in Diablo 3. The Tree of Whispers in Diablo 4 is just bounties that spawn in multiple areas. You go to the objective area, finish the objective and receive 1-5 whispers for it. When you have 10 whispers you go and hand it in for your loot. Each objective can take anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 mins depending on your speed in a dungeon.
The issue is that there are only about 5 different objectives. Do something in a dungeon, click a blood ritual and kill the mobs, do a specific event and so on. Each area has the exact same objectives just in different locations. So after you spend a few hours repeating the same objectives again and again, there does not feel like much point in continuing with it.
The final “activity” at the end game is Dungeons and Nightmare Dungeons. Nightmare Dungeons is the way Blizzard intended people to level initially I believe. However they were a waste of time except to level your runes. You got more xp and it was quicker to just spam the same normal dungeon with 4 other people again and again.
The nightmare dungeons are much like Mythic + in wow. Except boring. There are several different dungeons each season that have the Nightmare active. You get keystones to turn said dungeon into a nightmare one. Each key stone has affixes on it that give you and the enemies both powers of some kind.
To start with these nightmare dungeons were good fun. Once you reach around level 70 though and you have done each of the seasonal nightmare dungeons 20+ times. Each time with the same mobs, roughly the same map layout and same bosses. The thought of entering it and doing it again for 1/12 of your xp bar makes you seriously reconsider your life choices.
Diablo 4, Getting to Level 100
You may be wondering how people got to level 100 so quickly when Nightmare dungeons gave you such little XP. How did reviewers and streamers do it in the first week? I cannot speak for all of them.
I do know the most popular method for leveling initially was 4 people grouping up. Go to one specific dungeon, each person runs down 1 path and kills all the elites and mobs in that path. Then reset the dungeon. This would take 1-5 mins each run depending on the group. They did this for 50 hours straight. Same dungeon, same mobs, same route. Someone please explain how doing that is an amazing end game, fun and lots to do?
Diablo 4 Gear is an Absolute Joke in World Tiers 3 and 4
In World tiers 3 and 4 you are fully geared usually within 5 levels of reaching that tier. When I say fully geared I mean as in you have the correct stats and legendaries. You may not have it perfect and might need better rolls but the gear is close to max gear score. After that you will be hunting for gear with a couple of % change from your current gear on 1 stat.
Gear in Tiers 3 and 4 is not based on level, it is based on World Tier. So once you are geared you will not be getting anything better except for maybe a tiny bit better roll on stats you already have. It begins to make the entire thing feel very pointless, when you are getting no upgraded gear and need to do 12+ of the same nightmare dungeons for 1 level.
Diablo 4’s Real End Game, Inventory Management, Yellow Alert
From the start of Diablo 4 you will notice that you pick up a lot of useless gear. After a while you just stop picking up gear at all to save yourself time. The reason this is an issue in Diablo 4 compared to previous Diablo games is because Yellow items (rare) can be turned into legendaries. Have better stats than legendary drops and the absolutely stupid issue of Gems.
This means that if you are hunting for the perfect gear in Diablo 4 you HAVE to pick up every yellow item for that Tier. Sacred in Tier 3. Ancestral in Tier 4. You then need to check every piece and compare it to your own. This just becomes a pain after a while. When you are literally looking for a 1-3% better roll on one stat on one piece of gear, having to check everything that drops is just a nightmare.
The gem issue should never have been an issue. We already have to check every piece of gear for upgrades so you need to pick up almost everything, then adding gems to that. It just means that after every dungeon which takes 5-10 mins you then need to spend almost the same amount of time in town emptying your bags and checking your gear.
Why were gems not just a material that was auto stored like all the other materials? Lugging them around and deciding which item to throw away so you can pick up another crappy rare to check is just plain annoying.
Blizzard did say they would fix the gem issue and make them an auto storage drop. They have yet to do it though. Since it took them several weeks to fix an issue where we could not use our mounts correctly in game I am not holding my breath.
Diablo 4 Seasons
Season 1 in Diablo 4 was a big disappointment. I was hoping for an expanded story like people were whispering about. Or inventory being sorted like the gems. Hell even a world tier 5 for better and quicker leveling. Instead we got a 30 mins quest chain which added even more crap for you to have to sort out in your bags. And… Nope that’s about it.
There were other small changes but none that were particularly noticeable. This was noticed by the Diablo 4 community. Their player base dropped to 2%. That is a truly amazing drop in people playing their $80 game. Why would Blizzard care, they already scammed us again.
Diablo 4 Shop and Seasonal pass.
Do I even need to go into Diablo 4 in-game shop? The price on the skins is beyond a joke. £25 for a transmog? Do Blizzard think we are clowns?
There was also the drama about Blizzard putting the seasonal pass buy button right next to the map so people would accidentally click it and buy the pass.
Diablo 4 Honest Review Conclusion
Diablo 4 is a waste of time and money in its current state. It may keep you entertained for 30+ hours. It will also leave a bad taste in your mouth about Blizzard and the history of an iconic franchise flushed down the toilet.
Hopefully it Will be a Wake up Call
It will not be the death of Blizzard yet. It is a step in that direction though. Blizzard were once one of the most trusted and respected gaming companies around. They are now known as the money grabbers, pay to win company. Diablo 4 shows exactly why they have that reputation as well. Hopefully it will be a wake up call to Blizzard to fix their issues.
Perhaps in the future Bizzard will remember to spend more time making a good game instead of making a pretty shop.
It is not too late for Diablo 4 though. With time I imagine they will fix it and make it interesting and worth playing again. If you are willing to buy the DLC of course.
Overall I would advise you to not waste your time or money on this game, you will most likely enjoy it for the first 20-30 hours, then try to continue to play it to make it worth the money you spent. It is unlikely you will be able to though, unless you enjoy repeating the same activities for hours and hours on end with little to no reward.
However much I complained about the story and how disappointing it was, I still greatly enjoyed playing it. The cinematics were of amazing quality, equal to any movie I would go and see at the cinema. The atmosphere felt great and the graphics were spot on.
The end game was a snooze-fest. It was so repetitive and bad I do not actually know anyone who managed to stick it out to level 100. Out of 10-15 people playing it that I personally know the highest level someone got to was 84. Just for context the midway point to level 100 with just XP is approximatly level 85.
6/10 for the Story, had great moments and cinematics but was cliche and predictable.
3/10 end game. Repetitive, boring and feels like a waste of time.