I had a lot of fun during part one of the Diablo IV beta.
Besides over stressed servers and bad internet on my side, the game was smooth—so much so that I didn’t experience any glitches, other than a few hiccups relating to connection here and there. The game looks stunning and the gameplay is fast, fluid and fun while the story and world is intriguing. I can confidently say that Diablo IV is a game of the year contender just from this snippet of a beta and that is mostly because besides being fun, it sucked me into its world with ease. I’m not a hardcore fan of the series, being a fairly new member of the hordes of hell. But that didn’t matter. I still understood the story and the stakes while friends who are die-hard fans were giggling like schoolgirls when certain characters rocked up. So it delivered a story (so far) that appeals to both newcomers and old school fans of the series, which was nice.
The World of Sanctuary (so far)
The first thing you’d notice when booting Diablo IV up is that the game is pretty as hell but also a lot darker than Diablo III (which had a cartoony, World of Warcraft style to it). If I could sum up the tone of The Fractured Peaks in one word (the region in the beta), it would be melancholic. It’s cold, wet and gloomy with a major city made of dark stone drenched in the corruption of the zealot church which resides in its large temples while the rest of the town is pretty much a crumbling slum. The other, smaller towns are almost buried in snow, frozen and nearly forgotten while towards the East, the scenery changes to a wet and muddy forest where towns made of rotten wood are drowned with mud and slosh. It’s all very depressing but despite this, it looks beautiful. The portals players use light up with blue and it isn’t just a vector or anything— it has depth and it illuminates, and some of the shops have purple lanterns in front of them which show off how well the lightning is done in this game. The dungeons are just as pretty, if you count dark corridors and roots of flesh pretty. I explored an abandoned asylum and it was so dark, brutal and scary that it made me want to explore even more at my own peril. The music adds to the sad feel, and I quite enjoyed it.
While I don’t want to go too much into spoilers, I will say that the story hooked me from the get-go. Also, the themes are well established. Corruption, zealot religion, opression and a radical villian who wants to tear it all down no matter the cost to the innocent. The cineamtics are stunning and I am left wanting to find out what happens and how the story plays out.
This is not a kind world, which means there are many things to slay. Which I will go into during the next article.