The latest entry in the phenomenally popular Diablo series has arrived with the release of Diablo IV and with it comes the lofty expectations of a rabid fan base for the franchise. Players can play as one of various classes including Sorcerer, Barbarian, Rogue, Necromancer, and Druid, each comes with its own unique abilities such as sorcery, speed and dexterity, and brute force.
I chose to play as a barbarian as I am not a huge fan of resource gathering, crafting, or playing in a support role, and preferred to mix it up close quarters taking as many enemies as I can with me before I go down in a blaze of glory.
As players gain experience they will be able to increase their abilities many of which can be deployed on a timed basis and grow increasingly powerful as players level up. Players will also be able to obtain armor, weapons, charms, and more along the way which can be recycled, sold, or crafted into various upgrades in the numerous towns and communities throughout the vast map of the game.
Players will be able to complete the main quests and side quests along the way which will gain experience upon successful completion as well as defeating enemies in combat. The sheer distance between objectives can be daunting especially when the map is not clearly shown for a specific area as players may sometimes have to go a considerable distance one-way just be able to detour back toward their intended destination.
Thankfully various locales do have vast travel options that once discovered and unlocked allow players to travel between locales quickly. Being able to leave a dungeon to return to a community in order to sell gear, upgrade weapons and armor, and obtain necessary items before returning from the locale they originated from, is a key to survival.
In time I was able to obtain a horse that not only allows me to travel quicker between locales but prevented enemy mobs from attacking me so later in the campaign, I was able to focus on objectives more than dealing with unending waves combat while trying to travel between locales.
Players will encounter other players along the way and the game does have a social factor that allows for friends and players in the local area to be invited to campaign with you. This is a bit of a challenge at first as I found many players were power leveling and did not want to become involved with lower-level players.
While I completed much of the game solo, there were various bosses that I simply couldn’t handle alone, and was very grateful when I was able to obtain help. This changed when I reached higher levels as being able to complete the final campaign with three helpers made a challenging endeavor very enjoyable.
The map of the world is highly detailed as everything from towns, dungeons, villages, and supernatural realms are crafted in incredible detail and the vast number of enemies and their varieties is impressive even if at times frustrating as you have to battle your way through seemingly unending mobs to reach your destination.
Upon completing the game I will be venturing back from time to time to complete side quests and better prepare for the likely future content that will be coming down the line. While it is been popular some players and local community boards have been vocal about criticism for the game which I believe has varied from nitpicking to valid but I can honestly say I enjoyed this game significantly more than Diablo 3 and for me, Diablo IV is one of the best releases of the year and has been an enjoyable gaming experience throughout despite some frustrations along the way.
Diablo IV is published by Activision Blizzard, and is available for Windows, XBox Series X|S, XBox One, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5. The game is pricey, with the Ultimate Edition reaching an eye-watering $99.99.
4.5 stars out of 5