While I am hoping to see the Diablo 4 beta extended at least another day due to its login issues, I have done about everything you can do in it on one character. I’ve finished the story, maxed at level 25, attempted (and failed) to kill a world boss. And I like it a lot, I really do.
But do some aspects need work? Yeah, sure. And no, I don’t just mean login queues and disconnects, deeply annoying aspects of any live game launch, but something Diablo 4 especially doesn’t need after Diablo 3’s launch. That’s a bit obvious, however, so let’s dig a little deeper.
Other Tech Issues – One thing everyone noticed immediately on PC was that for whatever reason, Diablo 4 is a memory hog. There seems to be some sort of bad memory leak issue in certain instances that can really become problematic in time, if not kill the game outright. On top of that, even without running out of memory completely, there was a fair bit of stuttering on PC I want to avoid at launch. In some instances, I also kept running into areas that simply wouldn’t load at all, and my character was left running in place until I quit out and went back in. Also the game crashed roughly 75% of the time I tried to go back to the title screen or quit entirely.
Map Problems – There is no transparent overlay for the map, which seems like something you sort of need in a Diablo game, and essentially any ARPG. Past that, even if you do use the map tools they have, the minimap is borderline useless given how zoomed-in it is, so you’ll need to pull up the full map obstructing your view frequently.
The UI – The UI is…fine, but I’d argue it’s not great. It looks a bit unfinished and a bit too mobile-like for my tastes. It’s better than say, Lost Ark, I guess, but not by much, and I think Diablo 3 wins in this department, for now.
Fast Travel – This may be a problem solved with mounts, but it really did seem like there were way too many sprawling zones without fast travel points anywhere near them. Past that, the entire TP system is a little weird, as you have to teleport back to a town then to your party if you’re in one. It also took me the entire beta to learn there’s a separate, hidden way in the emote wheel to teleport back to the entrance of a dungeon.
Aesthetics, At Times – While in general, I do love many of the dark, blood-soaked areas of the map and I understand wanting to head back to Diablo 2 vibes, at times things go from spooky and gross to just sort of…drab. The graphics are great and some zones are eye-popping, but others are desaturated to the point of blandness where art direction can feel all but absent. I am curious to see more locations, certainly, before rendering a final verdict here.
MMO Things – I am mixed on the MMO elements of this, as instead of Diablo moving more into MMO territory, during all these server errors I sure found myself wishing for a wholly offline single player version of this, which I suppose is an impossibility in 2023. I find it odd that despite the focus on multiplayer, things like dungeons and strongholds don’t have matchmaking like Lost Ark. And the world boss? While a cool concept, I felt like I had zero control over my instance, which had too few people and too many of them underleveled for us to even have a prayer of beating the thing. Maybe this will change for the better in the live game, but it’s not great in the beta.
Enemy Density And Diversity – I feel like I kept running into the exact same 8-10 enemy mob clusters literally everywhere outside of brief horde segments, and I wanted things to be mixed up a bit. And while I know many specific enemies are staples of Diablo lore, I feel like 95% of things I saw were remixed from past games, and not in terribly interesting ways. Again, it’s a big game and there’s a lot more ahead, but I haven’t seen much creativity in this area at the start here.
Playing It Safe? – This is perhaps my general critique of the entire experience. I love past Diablo games, like we all do. This feels like a new Diablo game that has inserted in a lot of Lost Ark-like MMO elements without changing all that much else. Weirdly, the biggest leap forward is probably the storytelling with fantastic cutscenes and a genuinely intriguing plot with Lilith, something lacking in past games. I just feel like maybe I wanted the game to evolve in more ways rather than trying to “fix” Diablo 3 (which was great!) by going back to a bunch of Diablo 2-but-modernized reworks. But again, it’s still early, I haven’t seen all the changes or explored every new system.
What do you think?
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