Diablo 4 is slated for early 2023, and my god it looks absolutely mind-blowing and better than I expected. A new gameplay trailer was featured at the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase this last Sunday, June 12th, 2022. The footage shown for Diablo 4 was jaw-dropping. I know that Blizzard Entertainment has been going through a lot of slumps over the last few years that we’re not going to get into here in the video, but what I will say is that Diablo 4 reminded me of old Bizzard Entertainment. The devs we all knew and loved, the ones who are passionate and put out nothing but high-quality gameplay polish and extremely clean-cut gameplay systems that are easy to get into and are addicting. This is what I saw when I witnessed the new Diablo 4 trailer.
The new footage showcased quite a lot of aspects of the game, but more particularly it talked about the character customization and the open and shared world of Sanctuary. It also showed PvP and what to expect in the end-game. Everything that was shown was more than I expected, but enough with the praising, let’s get into the nitty-gritty here.
The Dark and Grim Aesthetic
The first aspect I would like to speak about is the overall art style of the game. The classic Diablo titles were always known for a very dark, grim, and gory atmosphere. Take all of those aspects, add new technology and dial that up to 11 and you get the art style of Diablo 4. While Diablo 3 was a solid game as far as the gameplay goes, many fans including myself thought it relied too heavily on its bright pastel cartoon-like visuals. It’s great that Blizzard listened to the feedback and went back to what made the Diablo classics so special.
The trailer showcased a wide variety of environments from the desert, tombs, grasslands, coasts, and more. No matter what the scenery was, you could tell the game is going for a super dark and grim aesthetic, and it looks awesome. It’s worth noting that the game was originally announced back at Blizzcon 2019, it looked good back then, but fast forward to today, and you can see many visual improvements and polish already.
Blizzard also announced the new and last playable class for the retail release of Diablo 4 and that was the Necromancer. And as you know, Necromancers like to play around with a lot of spells that revolve around blood. There was one specific spell called River of Blood, and it looked glorious.
Overall, I am just more than pleased with the visuals of Diablo 4. Anytime Blizzard releases new footage of the game it just looks better and better. Normally, we are used to seeing really good visuals from most studios only to be greeted with downgrades once the product is getting close to release.
The Open and Shared World of Sanctuary
The next aspect that I wanted to touch upon is the open and shared world of Sanctuary in Diablo 4. I think it’s a smart decision to let the player explore Sanctuary at their own pace and most importantly their own path. While the story may take you to specific places with more directed guidance, the developer has emphasized that the players are free to explore at their will and go wherever they want to go.
There are close to 150 dungeons in the game to sink your bloody teeth into and a ton of public events for you to discover. These public events may range from your standard save the village type scenario to fighting massive open-world bosses that would require a group of players to come in and take down. Previous Diablo games were much more closed-off and felt very linear, now that the technology has improved, it’s much easier to manipulate and create and design a game around more interesting aspects such as social play and exploration.
I think it’s smart to not make Diablo IV an MMO, but rather a social yet private experience with your friends and randoms who are close to your vicinity. It feels more realistic this way and much more secluded. I mean, if Diablo IV was an MMO and you had a ton of players running around in 1 area, the game would not be as scary or feel as horrific and atmospheric as it should be. After all, the game is all about darkness, isolation, and death surrounding you.
The Gameplay That Slays
While a game may have awesome aesthetics and cool open and shared world designs, it won’t matter if the gameplay is atrocious. Judging from the trailer footage, I am happy to say that I am confident that the gameplay of Diablo IV will deliver on all fronts. All the five playable classes, including Barbarian, Wizard, Rogue, Druid, and Necromancer look like a ton of fun to play and are all Diablo classics that you know and love.
Everything from their animations, abilities, looks and style looks amazing. When you play a Barbarian, you feel like a Barbarian. When you play a Wizard, you think like one. Thanks to the brutal and visceral combat, the class fantasy will stay true to its identity based on the class you are playing. When you are morphing into a werebear as the druid, you know exactly what’s about to happen to the demons and how they are about to be turned into a paste. If you are a Necromancer and you see a bunch of corpses, then it’s only a matter of time before you press that one button and watch how the corpse will explode and cause a massive amount of damage to the demons around them.
The game also seems to be filled with a ton of content, items to chase, and levels to obtain. The worry of content drought is nowhere to be seen, and I believe many people will gladly sink many hours into this game without any regrets. I am quite positive that Diablo IV will bring in new friends, and old friends and create new memories for you and your friends that will last a lifetime. Honestly, this sequel seems like the game every fan has ever dreamed of, and I couldn’t be happier with what I saw.
The Monetization Dilemma
The monetization dilemma is the last aspect I will touch on. I know some may say that it’s too early to tell, especially with what’s been going on with Diablo Immortal when it comes to monetization. But, what people need to realize is that comparing Diablo Immortal to Diablo IV is like comparing apples and oranges.
While the games share similar gameplay ideas and share the same world, they are made for two very different platforms. One is also a buy-to-play title, and the other is a free-to-play title on mobile. Mobile games thrive on microtransaction and P2W tactics. Now I am not trying to sit here and defend Blizzard and say that their P2W tactics are super fair and not greedy. They are very greedy and a bit unfair, and hopefully, they’ll dial back on that as far as Diablo Immortal goes.
Blizzard has confirmed that the only monetization that’s going to be in Diablo 4 is for cosmetics, and zero player power, unlike Diablo Immortal and future paid expansions, which are expected from a fully paid title. I mean, World of Warcraft still has fully paid expansions along with a ton of services such as level boosting for convenience, store mounts, and pets.
Long story short, I wouldn’t be worried too much about the monetization of Diablo 4. I can completely understand why people are concerned, and they have every right to, but honestly, I don’t think we have too much to worry about.
Overall, I was blown away by what Diablo 4 has to offer based on the new footage that the team at Gaming Instincts has seen. A lot of my questions have been answered. And as I said earlier, it seems like Diablo 4 is one of those titles that are about to fill up one part of my bucket list when it comes to a dream game. This is easily one of my most anticipated games for the first half of 2023 alongside other many promising titles that are coming out soon. Thank you Blizzard for answering our prayers when it came to Diablo 4. I cannot wait to enter the world of Sanctuary in this new era of ARPGs and slay demons to my heart’s content.