December 6, 2023

Diablo IV – Beta Preview and Impressions

Finally, he is (almost) among us! No, I’m not celebrating Captain America’s presence, nor any worthy entity, but the newest game in the Diablo franchise is nearly eleven years after the third game was released. Let me, with this statement, disregard Diablo Immortal whose proposition is somewhat different from the original trilogy and with which I tried for a short time I was able to get ahead of what I had in terms of structure; Also not counting the Diablo II remaster, which I had a chance to analyze writing here for the site, but it was clearly a revisit of something that was released a long time ago. We are now facing a new chapter in this eternal struggle between the good evil and the thing that comes close to representing the good.

Diablo IV, not yet complete, but in its beta version, brings with it some of the best qualities of the brand, adding modern gameplay aspects, especially those that develop the third game’s great base; With obvious nods to the darker tone of the first games that flirt with terror in its setting almost always consists of the semi-shadow, grimy texture of an underworld that never seems to breathe full sunlight, even if the result shown so far is more lifelike than I could have imagined. However, a sense of despair seems to set the tone from the first moments in a world dominated by demons loyal to Lilith. The closed test – which will be available to everyone next weekend – consists of the first part of the game, which mainly includes the introduction and the first chapter, which is set in the area called Fractured Summits.

We’re limited to reaching character level 25, which sounds like a lot, but ultimately doesn’t take long and encourages us to keep exploring the area ruthlessly taking down enemies, meaning those interested will definitely hit that ceiling without much. an effort. How could it not be otherwise, then Looting Generosity also helps a lot to keep us engaged even when it seems like goals have already been achieved, and this is the first positive symptom that a probationary period can give us. More than just a passing adventure, Diablo has always been about making the most of every square meter, whether that’s collecting resources or upgrading a new character in different classes. Even better is the feeling that the game, even with the potential for instability because it’s a still-development version, is very well finished and edges very clean.

At the end of the first week of testing, three of the most popular classes in traditional medieval fantasy are available: the flat-headed barbarians; cunning and cunning Forsaken; And, of course, the wizards and their mid-range combat adventures. Druids and Necromancers are promised for the open version as well. Of the current three, while I always tend to start out with unrelenting brutality, I decided to start with Mage and watch the variety of attacks and other support abilities. Fireworks makes great use of the graphic potential of the new generation, and although it’s a game that’s traditionally underrated in terms of graphical virtues, I was somewhat divided on this aspect, some details filling the eye and others, not so much.

For longtime fans, the game is visually more like Diablo III than I could have imagined, either with a composition of sunny scenarios and verdant environments, like the vast majority of dungeons, and betting on heavy shadows, grimy walls, and, in some cases, a somewhat grotesque way. However, I expected from Disclosure something more sober in the use of colors, and what we saw in this first expansion is the generous use of saturated and open environments, which may satisfy those who expect a direct continuation of the previous game, but it can certainly disappoint those who have opposite expectations. The same tone is also felt in the progression dynamics themselves, more adventurous and fundamentally less intimidating than Diablo II.

Whatever player preferences, what’s striking is that the game doesn’t seem to make a significant aesthetic leap over what came before in the franchise, even if some of the reflections and lighting effects are something to celebrate, and it seems to fall short of the technical capabilities offered by a new generation. from hardware. The human characters maintain an already well-known visual style, the cut scenes in the game With dialogues and other snippets of narrative development, it’s a far cry from inspired direction and the game’s greatest assets are the CG cutscenes which are truly beautiful, as they really are in the franchise. In contrast, the user interface is much more interesting and well customized, with well-organized menus and well-solved resources, even if it hides more than it should of important information about current tasks and the like.

Those two days there was a minor technical problem on the servers on the first day creating long queues to get in, even when wanting to enjoy it in single player format and for those who still had doubts yes it would have to be permanently connected even if the option has it end-to-end alone. But the next day everything went much faster. The developers themselves acknowledged the problem and said they were aware of what was going on. Certainly this comment It will be fundamental for them to be able to find solutions for next weekend, when the beta will open up to more people and, therefore, we will have more traffic. After this issue, there were no more instabilities or disconnections, and I could forget I was connected. Controlled testing periods like this are key to gaming with this feature and hopefully everything will be perfect at launch.

Another date failure that can already be felt in the video that opens this one preview Is that the localization of our language is clearly a work in progress. We still don’t have the dub available for any language other than English, and the subtitles are no longer in sync with much of the intensity already in the opening scene. Throughout the act, the problem is less obvious, but it does occur during in-game or out-of-game dialogues with some consistency. Some items, such as the options menu for supplemental dialogues with NPCs, are still not localized and cause this weirdness, but this glitch is easy to fix and is part of a testing period. However, with the first game being one of the best examples of our good old Portuguese localization, expectations here are high.

Overall, I was positively surprised by the size of the cutoff, which, depending on the player’s dedication and style, can last over twelve hours just to hit the maximum limit. The maps are generous and although some of them seem repetitive, there is no shortage of things to see and do. There are a series of side quests to naturally watch out for, as well as seasonal events that present us with intense challenges with tempting rewards. The main narrative takes a while to pack in, but the presence of the great antagonist is felt throughout the plot. It still lacks some emotional involvement with the minor characters and even the game world still can’t entice me like in the third game, and I hope the full version will be more generous in taking us to this new haven, as devastating as it is. sorcerer.

On the other hand, if you’re still not convinced narratively despite the beautiful opening scene, there’s no question the promise is ruined in substance. There is a lot of gear and stuff to collect, and it isn’t long before we throw things away without mercy; The map shows that there is a lot of open world to uncover ahead; And the skill tree is huge. There are countless skills that can be learned with skill points, and staying focused is quite a challenge. For anyone interested in maximizing their offense and defense abilities, having a variety of short, medium and long distance items and building a really well-resolved character will have plenty to invest in. The 25 skill points you’re distributing haven’t even started.

There is no economy either in the diversity of biomes, and we are invited to explore frozen mountains, typical savannah landscapes, disgusting caves and stately buildings. To provide this breadth of environments, there is also a wide variety of enemies that populate these lands, and although many of them have similar behaviour, it’s important to always be concerned about bringing something different to the player. Customizable gear skins and a large number of merchants in each mini center I complete this heap of possibilities that I especially like very much. Although at the end of each dungeon we’re longing to get back somewhere just to sell a truckload of generic items, it’s fun collecting any odds and ends and storing them until we can’t.

Anyway, Diablo IV is a mishmash of emotions, some unnerving, but mostly very positive. If the cartoonish style and unattractive graphics may seem depressing at the moment, expanding on all that is most important about the franchise is truly exciting. Diablo is a milestone in the history of video games, one of the few that establishes practically all genre standards, and knows how to avoid reinventing the wheel. Everything memorable is there, like the level view that reveals the world bit by bit, enemies in numerous hordes and plenty of incentives to explore. For the more dedicated, there are highly adaptive difficulty levels that can be adjusted at any point in the campaign, and for those who really want to get a feel for the current danger, there’s the permanent option to die. For longtime fans or new enthusiasts alike, Diablo is back in full glory.

Closed beta review on PS5 with code provided by Blizzard.