As the gaming world evolves its migration from desktop, to console and mobile continues. It’s in the mobile world that Diablo Immortal has landed as a cross-platform (PC to mobile) option for the much-loved MMORPG game.
While the graphics are mighty impressive for a game running on mobile devices, carrying what can only be described as Blizzard’s polished presentation and sticking with the aesthetics of previous Diablo games. I’ve been genuinely impressed with the mechanics and gameplay of Diablo Immortal.
In the limited time we had to play Diablo Immortal prior to the early access being closed, it wasn’t possible to play to completion of the game. What is evident to me is that this builds on the Diablo 3 storyline, making them complementary to each other, perhaps Diablo Immortal making Diablo 3 a better gameplay experience.
Gamplay: It’s what you expect, but it also builds over time
Much like the PC and console-based predecessors, you start by choosing your character whether that’s a Barbarian, Crusader, Monk, Necromancer, Wizard or Demon Hunter. Each with its own unique skills, weapons and accessories that can complement your game style.
Be warned though, that the download for this is mammoth. You’ll need a total of just over 10GB of space if you want to have the whole game on your device, but it downloads as you progress so you don’t need it all installed, to begin with at least.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the game, you can set the performance settings at a simple choice of low, medium or high. You can also adjust to either 60FPS or down to 30 if your phone can’t handle the higher rates. Thankfully, if your device is capable of more, you can alter granular detail settings to suit your proffered game presentation.
I loved the fact that the controls are simple to use on a touch screen and very effective on a mobile phone. On the bottom left corner of the screen, you’ve got movement controls on the right side are your skills which you can dock up to five of. What surprised me was just how much fun it was to connect a controller to your phone or, in my case, a tablet to make it even easier, perhaps more functional on larger screens, to play the game.
It has been possible in other games in the past to play through the story together, but you’re in the world with other players progressing through the story. You can do this as individuals or tackle some of the more challenging quests together.
Combining the earlier mentioned skills to take on and defeat elites and bosses feels so rewarding. Possibly one of the best Diablo experiences for some time, if this is an indication of the work being put in I’m genuinely excited for (and may not be writing for a while as a result of) the release of Diablo 4.
Character development and building a cache
Like the previous games, as you play through there are random drops of loot. This could be as simple as some gold pieces, weapons, armour or gems to enhance the attributes of your hardware.
Perhaps it was because the access we had was early access, or perhaps my feeling is correct: But I feel like the money maker for this is going to be in loot. Buying the top weapons, armour and gems with real money because the grind to have enough in-game may simply take too long.
It’s not clear if this is the case or not but for a game that’s otherwise free to play, I don’t really mind an element (provided it’s not ongoing) of pay to prosper. Particularly with the subscription pathway to gain not just extra, but better quality loot drops.
Now, I don’t believe that this will degenerate into a pay to win scenario, the game seems to give players the capability to complete all tasks without the need to pay, it’s just really hard to do.
It’s still early days, but the early feel is this is really good
Ignoring Diablo 2 Resurrected for a minute, the last Diablo game was released 10 years ago. This is a new game, building on the previous story and it’s an impressive early start. The cross-platform nature of Diablo Immortal means players will be able to play while commuting and then pick up their adventures on a PC or console when they get home. Blizzard has moved with the times and delivered a great looking, easy to engage with and fun evolution of the Diablo franchise.