‘Diablo IV’ Takes the Popular Franchise to a New Level

Gaming Reviews Videogames

In 1997, I began playing a new game released by Blizzard Entertainment. Diablo was not the first action role-playing video game, or ARPG, but it changed the genre and set the standard for current games of that type. Players could take on the role of three different character classes and move through randomly generated dungeons as they battled monsters and discovered treasure and items. Three years later, Diablo II was released and introduced the act structure and new types of character classes. Diablo III was released in 2012 using a 3D engine and included some new updates to the game to take advantage of high-end systems and consoles. Now Diablo IV lets players return to the human world of Sanctuary from Diablo III and engage in a campaign of quests to defeat Lilith, the daughter of Mephisto.

Diablo IV is an action role-playing video game. It features an open-world structure where players can progress through the story quests as well as side quests and other activities as they explore the world of Sanctuary. Players can play solo or join up with friends to form a party in the game. The game is designed by Angela del Priore and Zaven Haroutuniani, produced by Gavian Whishaw, and published by Blizzard Entertainment.

At the start of Diablo IVplayers create their characters from five different character classes. Each is unique and has different cosmetics and items/weapons as well as different build options. While each character class has health, they each have a unique type of resource. For example, sorcerers have mana while barbarians have fury. These resources are gained in different ways. The barbarian gains fury with basic attacks while the sorcerer gains mana over time. Let’s take a look at each of the character classes and what they offer. 

character classes
Which class will you choose to play as? Image by Michael Knight.

Barbarians are powerful warriors who rely on brute force. They can swap between an array of weapons during combat. In fact, the barbarian can carry a two-handed weapon in each hand and have access to two single-hand weapons as well. Players can choose to upgrade their skills with slashing as well as bludgeoning attacks and cause enemies to bleed which deals damage over time. They can also choose to use rage and fury as well as the berserking ability to increase the damage and speed of their attacks. Other abilities such as war cries also can increase the barbarian’s attacks. If you want to get in close to the enemy and hit them with a flurry of hits, then try the barbarian. 

Necromancers are custodians of the balance between life and death. One of their unique abilities is to raise up undead minions including skeletal warriors, skeletal mages, and even a golem to fight alongside them. They can also choose from three different types of magic to attack their enemies: bone, blood, and darkness. All necromancers start with skeletal warriors. Then, as they level up, they can upgrade and add more types of minions. Several of the skills from which they can choose make their minions more effective. Blood magic drains away the life from enemies while bone magic can summon physical attacks against foes. Darkness magic is used to wear down enemies over time, usually over an area, and is effective when dealing with large numbers of enemies in a small area. 

necromancer attack
The necromancer has skeletal minions to help fight. Image by Michael Knight.

Sorcerers focus on elemental magic attacks. In the game, they have three different types of magic. Frost magic chills enemies, slowing down their movement and eventually freezing them so they cannot move or attack while also inflicting damage. Pyromancy uses fire to inflict damage through the use of fireballs, firewalls, a fireball-spewing hydra, and much more. Many of these attacks cause enemies to burn for additional damage over time. Shock skills focus on lightning to inflict damage and you can upgrade them to reduce the length of cooldown between attacks. Sorcerers get the most use out of wands and staffs to help increase the speed of their basic attacks.

flame attacks
My sorcerer uses her pyromancy spells to attack the enemies. Image by Michael Knight.

Rogues are cunning, using whatever tools they have available to them. They are effective with ranged attacks with bows as well as getting in close for melee attacks with daggers. One type of skill they can develop is marksman abilities which improve their ranged attacks. Imbuements let rogues add poison, cold, or shadow energies to their weapons for enhanced attacks. Rogues are also the only character class who can lay traps on the ground that can inflict direct damage, poisoning for damage over time or even slowing down enemies. Rogues are great for players who like to use tactics with a combination of ranged and close attacks. 

Finally, Druids use the power of nature to protect life as well as inflict damage on their enemies. Druids have a lot of flexibility and options in their skills. They can shapeshift into either a werewolf with fast attack speeds or a werebear for powerful area attacks and increased defense. In addition, Druids can use storm magic to call on lightning, wind, or earth magic to slow down enemies and affect areas of the battlefield. 

The item menu is similar to past games and makes it easy to equip your character. Expect to collect a lot of loot. Image by Michael Knight.

Diablo IV offers a complete campaign that is divided into six acts. After going through the prologue, which introduces players to the storyline, you can actually begin working on any of the first three acts, though Acts II and III are suggested for characters at levels 10 and 15 respectively.

The campaign requires players to complete many quests in order to prepare for the final confrontation against Lilith. In addition to the main story quests, there are also numerous side quests that can help players earn experience, gold, and useful items. Some side quests are short while others are more involved.

The world of Sanctuary is divided up into five different lands which are all connected together in one map. Players can unlock skill points and potion capacity by earning renown in each land by exploring, completing side quests, conquering strongholds, clearing dungeons, and activating alters of Lilith.

There are several waypoints scattered across the map, usually in towns and villages, that allow players to teleport to other waypoints. In addition, players can always teleport from their current location, even inside a dungeon, to a waypoint, and then use the portal created to return to their location. This is great if, during a long quest, you need to get some healing or sell a bunch of items so you have more room in your inventory for additional loot.

the map
The map of Sanctuary. Image by Michael Knight.

After completing the first three acts, the player then is able to gain access to a mount at the stables. Riding a horse is a quick way to travel the lands and lets you gallop past enemies if you don’t want to take the time to fight them. Towns and villages offer various services such as healing as well as merchants who will buy your loot and sell you items for your hard-earned gold.

Some items have slots in them where you can insert various types of gems to give them additional properties. The jeweler can help refine crude gems into more refined and powerful gems. The blacksmith can salvage items you want to get rid of into materials you can then use to upgrade those items you want to keep.

When your character dies, they come back, but all of their equipped items lose durability. If their durability is reduced to zero, the items are destroyed. Luckily, the blacksmith can repair your equipment and make it good as new for some of your gold. 

mounted movement
A mount really lets you explore the world quicker than on foot. Image by Michael Knight.

Once you have completed the campaign, the game continues. During the campaign, you can play on difficulty tiers one or two. After the campaign, you can enter and complete the capstone dungeon while at tier two to then unlock tier three, which is suggested for level 50 or higher characters.

As you approach level 70, then you can complete another capstone dungeon to get to tier four. Furthermore, Diablo IV also offers seasons, the first of which just began on July 20 and runs until October 17, 2023. You can play the seasonal tiers once you complete the campaign. You then create a new character and play a new storyline in the world of Sanctuary that takes place after your defeat of Lilith. There are new challenges as well as new items. After completing the campaign, when you create a new character, you can choose to skip the campaign and just focus on the season or the world if not playing in a season tier. 

The item menu is similar to past games and makes it easy to equip your character. Expect to collect a lot of loot. Image by Michael Knight.

I have had the opportunity to play Diablo IV since its release in early June. As I would begin to write this review, I kept wanting to try new things. I played as different characters and then I needed to complete the campaign to see what was after. Then I wanted to try out the first season.

After having played it for nearly 60 hours, I am breaking away to share what I have learned with you. I played the original Diablo when it was first released in 1997 and thoroughly enjoyed it. While the sequels were also good, Diablo IV is the best one yet. I really like the open-world feel. When you first begin, the map is blank. As you physically explore the world of Sanctuary, you discover towns, dungeons, and other locations which are then added to the map. Once you have obtained a mount, exploration goes a lot faster. I also like the mixture of campaign and side quests as well as dungeons, which can be conquered to earn aspects that you can add to your weapons and equipment to give them additional abilities in addition to the gems you can find and refine.

Even after I completed the campaign, I continued exploring and am currently in the middle of the first season and I’m just as engaged as when I was going through the campaign. As I played the campaign, I was a sorcerer who focused on pyromancy and was deadly with my fireballs and firewalls as well as the hydra. For the season, I choose to play as the necromancer and am really enjoying using my skeletal minions to fight against enemies.

Because there are so many different skills for each character class, you could play the same class more than once and have a different experience each time. I am playing on an Xbox Series S console and really like using a controller for the game. The graphics are great and a huge improvement even over Diablo III. After playing this game for hours upon hours, I am thoroughly impressed and highly recommend it. If you are a fan of the Diablo series, then you need this game. If you have not yet tried one of these games, then Diablo IV is one you need to play if you like action and adventure RPG games.  

Diablo IV is available for PC through Blizzard’s Battle.net as well as for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, and the standard edition sells for $69.99. Deluxe and Ultimate editions which include unlocks and other features are available for $89.99 and $99.99 respectively.  

Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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