Announced at Blizzcon 2018, Diablo Immortal received an icy reception from fans of the license who were expecting a real Diablo 4 rather than yet another game for smartphones. More than three years after the hashtag #NotMyDiablo and the petition demanding the end of its development, the title of Blizzard Entertainment is finally available on Android, iOS and PC. Does this Diablo that fits in your pocket have the necessary arguments for players to burn with the desire to touch it?
Diablo MMO sauce, accessible to newcomers
Resurrected thanks to the wizards at Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase, Diablo is coming to mobile platforms for the first time in its reign. In this episode designed for smartphones which takes place between the events of the second and the third part, the minions of absolute evil want to find the fragments of the Stone-World corrupted by Baal in order to bring back the Lord of Terror. Adventurers from all over the world are on a mission to prevent this evil plan by traveling the world of Sanctuary alone or accompanied. Diablo Immortal indeed has an MMO aspect which is materialized by the presence of other warriors led by humans in the eight zones that make up the new map. It is common to come across companions in misfortune at the bend of a path, or even to chat with people of more or less good company thanks to the chat. The goal is obviously to create squads or clans and attack the dungeons. This community aspect fits strangely well into the world of Diablo, even though the dialog boxes would take up a little too much space on the screen and the toxicity of the exchanges would already be part of it. Fortunately, the interface options are numerous enough to improve visual comfort. As a general rule, the numerous menus as well as their heaviness highlight the hybrid side of this production which runs both on a mobile phone and on a computer.
Despite this little new MMO touch in a Diablo, Immortal remains a classic Hack’n Slash in the pure line of its predecessors. In the skin of a barbarian, a crusader, a monk, a hunter of demons, a sorcerer or a necromancer, you must use the available skills – linked to your class – to kill enemies. armies of adversaries and thus progress in the story, gain experience and access better equipment. Gray matter is nevertheless necessary at high level, when it is required to make the right choices to create the best build possible. A bit of attention is also necessary to understand the currency system as there are so many virtual currencies (we will come back to this later). Admittedly, the race for pieces of legendary equipment is still present in Diablo Immortal, but young shooters will be able to progress quite easily in the scenario without having to ask themselves too many questions. on how to most effectively improve his hero. As such, when a level is gained, there is no talent tree on which to distribute characteristic points or runes to modify skills: Diablo Immortal aims for simplicity at the risk of offending the historical fans of the gender. The first 30 levels of experience are acquired in one afternoon during a long tutorial explaining the specifics of the title, in small touches. What to (re) discover, smoothly, the principle of gems, recycling / transfer, or even flaws.
A telephone success?
Diablo Immortal is neither more nor less than a Diablo 3 “lite” designed for mobile devices, although it is also playable on PC, taking place in a shared world with other players who go about their business in solo or with others. Quests are relatively short to complete (15 minutes on average), saves are plentiful, challenges can be auto-walked, and teleport points are frequent. We note a few appreciable little attentions, such as the fact that if the player suddenly disconnects (due to a battery problem for example) when he makes a fault and his group finishes it during his absence, he receives a message with the loot not picked up via a message. Nice.
Equipped with well-thought-out touch controls, the Blizzard Entertainment app accepts Bluetooth peripherals such as Xbox and Dualshock 3, 4, DualSense controllers (among others). In this configuration, the player benefits from real joysticks and “hard” buttons on which to press to strike and swing spells. If you opt for this maneuverability, we advise you to make a jump in the options in order to configure the dead zones of the sticks as well as the sensitivity. The fact that the skills are activated with “cooldowns” (actions that recharge after a certain period of time) rather than with magic energy (mana) brings a good dynamism to the clashes while offering a hint of strategy , both in the choice of magic equipped (four at most) and in the optimal timing to perform them.
From a production standpoint, the Blizzard/NetEase title is pleasing to the eye. On mobile devices (Galaxy S20 in our case), Diablo Immortal looks pretty, as well as being smooth when the servers aren’t overloaded. Also, it displays detailed textures along with well-managed lighting effects. The PC beta version, which currently looks like an emulated version of what’s on a smartphone, lacks graphics options. The discreet soundtrack sets the mood well and adequately covers the action. Some levels of the solo have scripted events giving a certain dynamism to the progression. In its execution, Diablo Immortal ranks at the top of the basket of the best games available on mobile devices. Despite the fact that it is classic in what it offers and that it is inspired by many other productions, the famous Hack’n slash in its pocket version gets away with the honors as far as its gameplay is concerned. and his technique. It’s a pity that the business model adopted as well as the use of the mid-term grind does not tarnish the general experience.
Business of the Underworld
If the progression to level 31 is easily done by following the scenario (and the associated objective marker), things get complicated afterwards. From level 30, the player must reach specific levels (35, 40, etc.) to unlock the rest of the scenario. A mechanism often used in free-to-play to force users to explore the corners of the universe, to connect daily to collect bonuses and possibly to spend some money in the Battle Pass. It is therefore necessary to make ancestral faults, find bonuses (kill x creatures in such a level), redo dungeons and tirelessly complete Battle Pass objectives to hope to progress.
When a license of this ilk arrives in free-to-play on mobile devices with the promise of offering the original sensations, it is normal to wonder what the catch is. Can the Diablo universe really fit in your pocket without emptying those of its owners? First and foremost, Diablo Immortal’s monetization system is complex. The currencies are numerous (Eternal Orb, gold, included, platinum, etc.) and the ways to spend your money are multiple. There are the emblems to buy (for orbs), the chests to unlock (for euros), the cosmetics, the enhanced battle pass, the enhanced collection battle pass, among others. The loot boxes (paid) are present (which caused the ban on the game in Belgium) and prove to be the fastest way to access legendary content. The very complicated legendary gems to obtain without spending money and the rifts to increase against real euros are all elements that prove that Blizzard and NetEase injected a lot of monetization into Diablo’s many veins. To the point where all the mechanics put in place to slow down progression (limited gems and materials) scratch.
Yes, a player who pays will progress drastically faster in optimizing his equipment than a warrior without money, which is particularly problematic in PvP. When the “real” game begins, namely when you have to find legendaries in order to constitute the ultimate build, spending euros is so encouraged that it becomes difficult not to do otherwise. The non-transferable purchases from one account to another and the prices which gradually increase are still enough to dampen the enthusiasm. The only small thing about NetEase is that it only takes one player to drop a Legendary Emblem into a rift for the rest of the party to enjoy the enhanced rewards. It’s a bit like when in a nightclub a friend pays the magnum for the whole table. Our advice: if you’re new to the Diablo universe, love Immortal and you’ve reached the end of the main quest, go for Diablo 3 (or wait for Diablo 4) rather than risk losing big with the metagame of this mobile version.
- A Diablo finally designed for casual players in its mechanics
- Technically successful and smooth on mobile devices
- Dynamic gameplay, fun on the touch as on the pad
- Lots of activities to do without spending a single penny
- Pervasive yet Obscure Monetization
- Systems that slow down progression, especially at high levels
- The PC version, in beta, needs more settings
- The sometimes constraining MMO dimension
Despite the incendiary feedback from some of the fans, we have to admit that we had a pretty good time with Diablo Immortal. Far from being original, the Hack’n slash from Blizzard/NetEase is pleasant to handle with touch or pad. In addition, the main adventure is fun to navigate, especially for newcomers. However, the post-level 30 progression based on level-locked missions is disconcerting, even if this mechanism would be used by other free-to-play. It is especially the excessive monetization, both ubiquitous and obscure, which greatly moderates our enthusiasm, although usual for a NetEase game. Nevertheless, Diablo Immortal remains fun for casual players who don’t aim to become unbeatable warriors in PvP. Passed a course, the attractive adventure turns into a hardcore F2P MMO nightmare. Ultimately, these are two very different types of players who are invited to meet on the lands of Sanctuary. For better (action-RPG on mobile) and for worse (for monetization).
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