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What The Critics Are Saying About Diablo Immortal

It seems as though players have been waiting ages for the next proper installment in Blizzard's "Diablo" franchise. The last major release was "Diablo 3," a title that left many players feeling unsatisfied after it began to pivot away from the gameplay, gothic art style and narrative that made fans fall in love with the first two entries. It's now known that "Diablo 3" underwent a turbulent development process that saw devs constantly trying to create something that could live up to the legendary "Diablo 2." Since then, fans have been able to sink their teeth back into "Diablo 2" via a remaster, "Diablo 2: Resurrected." At the end of the day, however, those players were still going through a title they'd likely already experienced, especially if they'd spent time with the series before.

Now, "Diablo 4" is officially on the horizon, but it seems players will still have a ways to go before they can see how it stacks up to its predecessors. Thankfully, there is something to tide fans over until "Diablo 4" releases — and it's taking the series in a totally new direction. "Diablo Immortal" aims to deliver the same type of pulse-pounding action virtually anywhere via mobile devices, with a PC version launching in an open beta form alongside it. But after the hit-or-miss history with the "Diablo" series in recent years, is the title actually worth players' time? Here's what critics are saying about "Diablo Immortal."

Diablo Immortal plays like a true Diablo title

When Blizzard first announced "Diablo Immortal" in 2018, the publisher was met with confusion and disdain. In a room full of players expecting to hear news about "Diablo 4," Blizzard hyped up "Diablo Immortal" and doubled-down on the fact that it would find a home on mobile devices. Although Blizzard later reversed course and announced the title would also arrive on PC, the initial damage was done. Now that players and critics are finally able to go hands-on with the title, and players know a true "Diablo" sequel is in the works, "Diablo Immortal" may finally get some of the kudos it deserves.

And luckily, "Diablo Immortal" feels a lot like a "Diablo" game players would enjoy on PC, right from the comfort of their phones — and that's impressing critics. John Carson of Game Informer said, "Much of 'Diablo Immortal' is designed to look, sound, and feel like 'Diablo 3,' and in my time leveling a Crusader, it nails those lofty expectations effortlessly. Never once during my time slaying the minions of evil have I felt like this was a reskin of another mobile game, imposter using the 'Diablo' name, or that it falls short in what feels like a Diablo game."

Touch controls don't hamper the experience

Surely, many players following "Diablo Immortal" likely have concerns about how the game feels to control. Let's face reality: Touch controls aren't always the most responsive or intuitive to use while playing games — and when there's a horde of undead pouring from around a corner, the last thing players want is a death due to the lack of tactile buttons or inputs. Luckily, this doesn't seem to be a major issue for "Diablo Immortal," and some critics have even gone as far as to say they think Blizzard nailed the touchscreen experience.

IGN's Cam Shea found the mobile controls for "Diablo Immortal" to be quite enjoyable, writing, "Somewhat to my surprise, I'm a big fan of the touch controls ... with the ability to easily move your character and aim skills separately, twin stick shooter-style. It's certainly not as pixel-perfect as using a mouse and keyboard, but suits the initial PVE gameplay really well."

Narrative and character advancement take a backseat

Though critics have universally agreed that "Diablo Immortal" plays just as well as anyone could imagine a mobile "Diablo" title to, the game does lack the weighty narrative and character build options that players fell in love with in prior entries. For many, it's not a game-breaker, as the title still delivers on important fronts, but die-hard fans are sure to notice this adventure is more concerned with minute-to-minute gameplay rather than planning character builds or delivering a ground-breaking story.

The story in "Diablo Immortal" won't wow any player going in with expectations to match "Diablo" or "Diablo 2," but considering the messy narrative in "Diablo 3," some feel like less can be more in this case. Chris Carter of Destructoid argues, "'Diablo' never strictly needed a heavy narrative ... so long as the mechanics were sound, and 'Diablo 3' didn't deliver on a lot of its big story beats. So, a minimalist approach might be for the best here."

When it comes to character advancement, "Diablo Immortal" is not a deep as prior entries. As Igor Bonifacic of Engadget puts it, "Unlike his 'Diablo 2' counterpart, I can't play my 'Immortal' barbarian as an ax-throwing ranged character or a singer who shouts his enemies to death. He's strictly a dual-wielding melee character. Modifying your skills also feels more limited than ... 'Diablo 3.'"

Microtransactions and mobile pacing are the real demons

With "Diablo Immortal" being a mobile-first title, the game has its fair share of microtransaction hooks to try and grab a few extra bucks from players. That said, the impression from critics is that while microtransactions fit cleverly within the mobile title's formula, they never felt an overbearing need to buy into the process.

Jordan Minor of PC Mag said, "Everyone has their own tolerance level for mobile monetization, but personally I wasn't too offended. Although the game has an almost overwhelming amount of currencies and resources (battle points, gold coins, platinum, forge stones), you only spend real money exclusively on one: Eternal Orbs." Minor explained that Eternal Orbs can't be used to level up, but are instead used on cosmetics and stat alterations. That said, they can also be used on Crests which allow for better rewards from the Rift dungeons — which can help players power up so long as they can survive the challenge. 

Minor did have some complaints with the pacing of the title, stating that there was a clear point when the game slowed down. Minor wrote, "Around the halfway point in my journey I felt the game start to throttle my momentum. I ran out of story quests for my level. I had to grind out an entire day's worth of bounties to level up once."