Diablo IV reviews have dropped overnight, with many outlets having good things to say about Blizzard’s long-awaited return to Sanctuary.
For complete transparency: I did have review access to Diablo IV myself but, thanks to the intrusion of Covid, general life stuff, and the time-limited nature of the review program, I was only able to spend a few hours with the game before access was revoked. I certainly haven’t played enough of it to pass any kind of serious judgment on the game, but one of my primary notes was that almost all of the online MMO and commerce components were switched off. Considering these things are going to be pillars of the experience (like it or not) when the game launches next week, it’s important to remember that the reviews you’ll read below were put together without those features in place. Some of them mention the absence of these features if they were important to the reviewer, and some of them don’t if they were focused solely on the single-player experience.
You’ll be able to make up your own mind when Diablo IV drops on June 6. For now, let’s see what the critics thought, starting here at home in Aus.
Player 2 gave it an A rating, saying, “Diablo IV is everything fans could want and more. An amazing world, engaging story and mountains of captivating content make this the best game in a franchise filled with amazing experiences. Diablo IV, simply put, is amazing.”
Press Start gave it a 9/10, saying, “Diablo IV is an unquestionable win for Blizzard and one of their foundational franchises when it needed it most. An unrelenting commitment to vision, redefined Sanctuary, never-ending player progression, and excellent boss fights are just a few of the reasons Diablo IV isn’t held back by uneven pacing and recycled content.”
WellPlayed gave it an 8.5/10, and said, “Diablo IV is a must-play for fans of the series and newcomers alike. It invites you to lose yourself in a world of darkness and embark on a thrilling journey filled with relentless battles, captivating storytelling, and a hauntingly beautiful audio-visual symphony. Just ignore the extraneous limb reaching for your wallet.”
GamesHub gave it 4 Stars, saying, “Diablo 4 is a behemoth of a game, boasting a gothic world that goes beyond the engaging hack-and-slash gameplay loop, and brings Sanctuary well and truly to life.”
Reviews.org’s AU branch gave it 4 Stars, saying “Diablo 4 finds a way to breathe new life into a classic clickfest with ambitious additions like an open world and more mature storytelling and character development. The novelty those bring gets it pretty far, though it can’t quite rise above the series’ highest of highs.”
Checkpoint Gaming filed an unscored review-in-progress, saying “Whilst Diablo IV could have done more to advance the genre or perfect its writing and tone across the entire experience, there’s no denying just how impactful this release is, especially for those of us who grew up alongside the series. The game is demonically big and beautiful, allowing players to get lost in Sanctuary and constantly engaged by the looting and upgrading loop that continues to fire endorphins from the moment you boot it up until you finally and begrudgingly turn it off.”
AusGamers and Stevivor have both indicated that scored reviews will be on the way at a later date.
The rest of the world
The praise was consistent from other outlets around the world, too, with most quite happy with the single-player experience.
GamesRadar gave it 5 Stars, saying “Diablo 4 is a diabolical assault on the senses. Sharp refinements to combat, gear, and loot systems make this one of the best action-RPGs in years, and the expressive open world shows there’s still room for Blizzard to expand on the core Diablo concept.”
Dexerto gave it 5 Stars, saying “Diablo 4 is a mighty sequel, but it can feel more like a grand buffet of tasty demon-slaying treats. It offers something for everyone but misses out on that acquired yet curated taste of the older entries…This doesn’t take away from Diablo 4 representing the next evolution in the series. It is a stellar sequel – and one that works hard to appeal to every fan of this beloved franchise.”
VGC scored it 5 Stars, saying “Diablo 4‘s always-online requirement is a shame, and a few of the classes are somewhat slow to kick into high gear, but we’re only able to muster minor complaints for what is easily a game-of-the-year frontrunner, and Blizzard’s best game since Diablo 3.”
VideoGamer gave it a 10/10, saying, “Diablo 4 feels like the apex of the series, bringing together everything great about the previous entries. It isn’t without its minor flaws, and the success of the endgame content is still up in the air, but for once Diablo has a gripping story, phenomenal graphics, and a gameplay loop that doesn’t innovate too much but is certainly better than its predecessor.”
NPR filed an unscored review (though Metacritic ranked it as a 95), saying, “While Activision Blizzard certainly isn’t without sin, Diablo IV is a devil well worth dealing with.”
Game Rant gave it 4.5 Stars, saying, “Blizzard has taken twenty years of game design lessons and put all of them into Diablo 4. The variety of things to do in the game and the plethora of build choices feel like they come from a company that has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows in game development and taken some of those hard-learned lessons to heart. There is a lot of love built into every aspect of Diablo 4, and users will find it in every system and corner of Sanctuary. With the first simultaneous release on PC and consoles in the series’ history, Diablo players are finally getting back into the fight between Heaven and Hell, and they will more than likely still be fighting for many years to come.”
IGN gave it a 9/10, saying “Diablo 4 is a stunning sequel with near perfect endgame and progression design that makes it absolutely excruciating to put down. The story is a pretty big disappointment despite still being a noticeable improvement over Diablo 3 and there are some annoying bugs that need squashing, but the combat, the loot game, and both the sights and sounds of this world are impressive enough to smooth over those rough edges. Diablo 4 takes the strategy of refining things the series already did so well rather than giving it a more substantial overhaul, and that careful and reverent path has shaped this massive sequel into one of the most polished ARPGs ever created, which makes slicing through the legions of the damned a hell of a good time.”
Forbes gave it a 9/10, saying, “My impressions are overwhelmingly positive based on what I’ve experienced so far, from the map to the gameplay to the new systems to even the story, which I was not expecting. Blizzard really seems like they’ve nailed this, and I’m going to say the only way this will be poorly received at launch is if technical issues kill people’s ability to play. But once it gets rolling? Yes, I think you’re going to like Diablo 4.”
NME gave it 4 Stars, saying “Theory-crafters, lore hounds and newcomers can all find something to love about Diablo 4 — as long as their interests converge on beating demons to death. Gruesomely satisfying combat, expansive skill trees and a bustling open world make Diablo 4 a delightfully gory way to kick off summer, and a must-play for ARPG fans.”
GameSpot gave it an 8/10, saying, “Diablo IV, at this time, cannot escape comparison to the past of the franchise it belongs to, but it’s thankfully a game that has been crafted with a strong awareness of what made each one either revered or reviled. It represents a measured approach to combining the many elements from previous entries that worked into a system that feels like the new standard-bearer for action role-playing. Coupled with a new benchmark for storytelling in the franchise, and a solid narrative foundation for any potential new adventures, it’s easy to see Diablo IV as something I’ll regularly check in on for a long time to come.”
Among the unscored reviews, the praise continued:
Ars Technica filed an unscored (but favourable) review, saying, “If you love ARPGs and enjoyed the combat of Diablo 3 and the atmosphere of Diablo 2, I think you’re going to love this game. It’s not as brain-meltingly complicated as a Path of Exile, but it doesn’t want to be. This is streamlined, big-budget loot hunting, and I absolutely love it. Ignore the monetization nonsense, vibe out on the demon slaying, and you’ll have a great time.”
Game Informer filed an unscored review-in-progress, saying “Though I still have some questions, I had a great time with Diablo IV. It delivers on its promised return to the darker tone and aesthetic of the earlier games while presenting engrossing, meaningful progression with fun combat, a strong narrative, and numerous activities that made me want to extend my visit to Sanctuary. While it remains to be seen how the experience handles the incoming flood of players once the lights are turned on, I think Diablo fans, old and new, are in for a treat.”
PC Gamer also filed an unscored review, though was less impressed overall, saying, “An exciting, modern version of Diablo is in here—I can see parts of it poking through the surface—but I’m starting to lose patience waiting for it to show its face.”
Polygon’s review was also unscored, saying “Diablo 4 doesn’t even have to be a Good Game for me to crave playing it — it’s the intrinsic lizard-brain appeal of magic-finding and getting more powerful that’s kept the third instalment alive for so long. It’s the pure uncut result of gamifying the “god, why must you give me your hardest battles” meme with one of the most beloved action-adventures of my generation. I can almost feel Lilith cradling my face, calmly explaining that not only am I Sanctuary’s weakest hero, but this is only Nightmare mode, and I have many, many more doors to obliterate before reaching Torment.”
Rock Paper Shotgun also filed an unscored review, “Part of the reason it’s so easy to play hours of Diablo IV in one go, staring unblinkingly at the centre third of your screen until you feel your eyeballs turn into raisins, is that it’s very well made. The different synergies of all the abilities and spells is extremely impressive, and the game kicks up a bit when you get your ultimate spells and special abilities. I got the ability to summon, rather than a team of skeletons, one huge Big Daddy-esque monster in their place – and even that came in three variants for extra build customisation. There are main missions, side missions, timed world events, an optional currency to buy mystery weapons, and hours-long dungeons to get Aspects for your character – themselves another optional addition to apply to your gear. It’s a game that puts no friction between itself, and you mainlining it for an entire day. Whether you’ll feel good afterwards is another question.”
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