When Blizzard first announced Diablo Immortal more than two years ago, the fan reaction was…mixed. Now that both a Diablo II remaster and a full-fledged Diablo IV are on the way, maybe the community can better appreciate this mobile game spin-off of the beloved devilish action-RPG. After playing a few hours of the closed alpha, we still don’t know entirely what to expect from the finished product, including how Blizzard plans to make money. However, crawling through dungeons, killing monsters, and scoring sweet loot remains as irresistible as ever.
This alpha build packs a surprising amount of content, including what appears to be much of the story and some substantial post-game content. Set between the Diablo II and Diablo III‘s events, you fight your way through multiple, demon-filled regions, such as cemeteries, woods, and mountains. In addition, you’ll occasionally run into a familiar franchise face, like the smooth-voiced Deckard Cain.
Evil’s forces wage a never-ending battle. Fortunately, Diablo Immortal’s combat feels so good you’ll never want to stop. This early build includes five playable classes (Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, and Wizard), and I opted for the Monk. I spent my time punching, kicking, and activating various special moves that were basically flashier punches and kicks.
Between the visuals, sound effects, speed, and ways crunchy attacks collide with enemies, combat just satisfies. The only time that the virtual touch screen controls hindered me was with attacks I has to hold and aim. My Wave Strike projectile attack occasionally veered off course as I lifted up my finger to release it. Perhaps as a result of this, Diablo Immortal’s difficulty becomes too challenging. There’s no dodge roll like in the console versions of Diablo III, but the control setup should feel familiar to mouse-and-keyboard players.
Combat isn’t the only thing that’s fast. Diablo’s appeared on portable machines before, thanks to Diablo III on Nintendo Switch, but Diablo Immortal feels specifically tuned for mobile devices. I played for hours but no individual task lasted too long, whether it involved clearing monsters from a graveyard or vanquishing a mad king’s ghost. At least initially, you quickly level up, unlocking new areas, abilities, and modes.
The Diablo formula has inspired everything from Path of Exile to Minecraft Dungeons. There are plenty of Diablo-esque games already on mobile, too. However, Diablo Immortal has a depth and confidence that comes from knowing it’s the original article. In that way, it reminds me of League of Legends: Wild Rift.
One major way Diablo Immortal separates itself from the competition is with its production value. The game isn’t lazily constructed. Watch any World of Warcraft cutscene and you know Blizzard has money to spend. But money alone doesn’t make a game look good.
Diablo Immortal’s impressive, PC-caliber graphics sport a bleak and bloody, gritty and gothic atmosphere. You can see how this world has been drained of life. The colors (or lack thereof) lean closer towards the darkness of the upcoming Diablo IV, as opposed to the relatively cartoonish Diablo III. That choice alone should please veteran fans.
I played Diablo Immortal on an iPhone 12 mini with Ultra graphics. Yes, this is a mobile game with different graphics settings. You can toggle on High FPS mode, but it causes weaker phones to overheat. Even though the iPhone 12 mini is a recent phone, the game recommended that I not turn on this feature while playing, so I didn’t. Browsing the web, I couldn’t find concrete examples of stronger phones that do support the feature, but this may change as the game gets optimized for its full release. At least I didn’t experience any performance issues in this unfinished build.
Deal With the Devil
Currently, Diablo Immortal plays like a Diablo game that happens to be on a phone, but, when it fully launches, it will be a free-to-play mobile game, likely with all of the caveats that come with that format. Although there is a shop, monetization features weren’t activated for this preview, and Blizzard claims they won’t impact the core gameplay balance. In short, you will be able to spend real money to receive rewards and items. It’s hard not to dread another Diablo III real money house auction situation.
Fortunately, you’ll pick up tons of loot, even while playing for free. This is a Diablo game, after all. From shiny helmets to sturdy tunics to sharp weapons, you’ll open a treasure chest and find a new way to make your character hit harder and look cooler. In fact, you frequently pick up so much loot that the mobile UI becomes cramped and cluttered as you equip items, despite helpful icons for displaying which gear is better than others. Although you can change the layout, the buttons for gear, automap, and certain attacks are so close together you’ll eventually hit the wrong one by mistake.
Also cluttering the UI (but in a good way) is the sheer number of things you can do at any given moment. From tracking new quests to turning in daily missions to accepting bounties, there’s always something to tap or ignore until later. Seasons progress and bring new battle passes with them. You constantly see other players around you, MMO-style, and can party up with them to take on tough raids or compete against them in PvP rift events. Naturally, this means you need to constantly stay online, but my internet connection only dropped once during the preview.
You Have Phones, Right?
Even as an unfinished alpha, Diablo Immortal will suck you knee-deep into the Diablo loot loop that has kept people addicted for decades, only now on a device you carry with you at all times. We won’t know until after launch if this really just a big cash grab—however lavishly produced that cash grab may be—but so far Diablo Immortal is shaping up to be a fine little slice of Hell. Blizzard says the game should fully launch on Android and iOS sometime later in 2021.
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This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here