A more expansive, customizable loot-filled adventure – PlayStation.Blog
Following in the footsteps of series entries before it, Diablo 3 introduced a new generation of dungeon crawlers to the hellish world of Sanctuary back in 2012. Since then, thanks to a loyal player base, they’ve kept the hack-‘n-slash RPG party going with countless updates. But now it’s time for the future, and Blizzard is shaping Diablo 4 to deliver just that.
While the title looks to the past of both the real world and Sanctuary for inspiration, the upcoming sequel pushes the Diablo franchise in new ways. In a vast and gorgeous new landscape, you’ll encounter completely new elements to the Diablo formula that allow you to control the game’s direction even more while dealing with more darkness than ever. Prepare your defenses. We return to Sanctuary.
A return to darkness
Jumping into this newly realized Sanctuary during a hands-on session with an in-development PlayStation 5 version of the game, it’s clear that Diablo 4 hearkens back to the somber tone of the first two Diablo games. The world is more mature and grounded than Diablo 3, which contributes to its renewed focus on horror and fear. Dead bodies paint the white snow during journeys. You can hear howling cries of anger and distress as you pass a populated city. A soft moonlight illuminates the hallowed grounds like a haunted searchlight. With a heavy thematic focus on hatred, how it consumes once hopeful hearts, and its corruption and consequences, it’s easy to quickly become engrossed when all these elements work together. And naturally, it’s inevitable to feel the heroic urge to stop whatever caused all this pain in Sanctuary.
Evolution of classic Diablo
Diablo 4 is a culmination of what made previous Diablo entries so iconic and memorable. The somber tone of the original, the more open world of the second and the combat of the third all come together here. There are more gameplay options than ever, and the bits of little detail and extra care put into every nook and cranny of the mechanics make it one of the best entry points to the series.
This is your adventure
Diablo 4 marks the first time in the series that you truly create your own adventure. The open world of Sanctuary facilitates a personalized journey filled with options. You can ignore the main story and lose yourself in exploring countless dungeons and fortresses, encountering random local events or helping a needy lost spirit. Or maybe you’re not in the mood for action and would rather spend your time exploring a peaceful wilderness to find resources to take home and craft with.
The game variation extends to playthroughs that all produce very different results. The story is also non-linear, meaning you’ll encounter many circumstances that can lead you down different paths. Yes, you still have to tackle the core battles to reach the game’s conclusion, but how you get there is up to you.
A brave new world
What’s a great adventure without a grand open world? Sanctuary, otherwise known as The Mortal Realm, is the name of this world that serves as the setting for the Diablo series. This new rendition is the series’ largest and most unlimited world. There are many areas to explore, enemies to face and NPCs to talk to. And it’s all seamlessly connected without the need for loading screens. You’re constantly trying to find a way through, often running into an optional roadblock at almost every turn. Just be careful when you go off the beaten track as you will often find very powerful optional enemies that will give you a real challenge.
This world is a dark medieval playground full of hellish conflicts. There are different environments with specific monsters and mobs to fight that have vastly different abilities. For example, Fractured Peaks’ Island Goatmen use ice magic. In the coasts and water areas, the drowned hold giant masts from sunken ships that lure travelers in with bells until they throw them into the sea. There is always more to discover here and everything can be done when you want.
Diablo 4’s classes provide tons of player expression options regardless of which build you go for. The game starts by inviting you to choose between the worlds of ice, fire or lightning magic. Each item has multiple paths to higher abilities, giving characters a uniqueness deeper than a simple attack choice. A new mechanic also offers players two class-exclusive upgrades to choose from after a skill upgrade. For example, with the Barbarian class, there is the Violent Whirlwind attack, which allows players to cast Whirlwind for a long time. Or they can choose Furious Whirlwind, which inflicts a bleeding effect on anyone swept into the attack.
Diablo 4 brings unique progression mechanics to each class. For example, the Sorcerer has two unlockable skill enchantment slots that are unlocked during the campaign. When the skill is upgraded, you get an enchantment upgrade that gives a special effect. For example, a fireball enchantment causes defeated enemies to explode into a fireball that damages surrounding enemies. This new level of character customization gives players the most in-depth character growth in the series’ history.
The skill tree presents one of the core elements of character creation and progression in Diablo 4. Not only are things carefully and clearly contextualized, but upgrades start easily to get better onboard in the process. An upgrade path may begin with simple choices between fire or lightning, then expand gradually. “Do I upgrade against burns or explosive burns?” “How can chain attacks boost my offense?” The skill tree gives players access to class-defining choices that change how a character is played.
Visual customization is also new to Diablo 4, instead of being limited to a preset physical appearance. After choosing a class, choose your body type, skin tone, hairstyle, markings, accessories and more. Fortunately, you’ll be able to revise these choices at any time by visiting the wardrobe and changing your armor and gear cosmetics. There is also an item shop for customizing your gear images along with changing your mounts and their gear.
A shared world
Whether you decide to go on this adventure solo or with a party, you’ll eventually run into other players via towns and event hubs. Unlike in the past, these interactions come organically. You can visit a city, face a big world boss and watch other players do the same without having to open any menus. You can team up with these strangers for world events and world bosses, which are almost impossible alone. Although you can initially encounter these fellow adventurers as allies, there is also a chance to encounter the same players as enemies in the Fields of Hatred, a dedicated player-versus-player zone found in various areas of Sanctuary.
Play with your friends anywhere
Diablo 4 supports online cross-platform play. Besides co-op, you can also play with your friends wherever they are dungeon crawling.
Change your loot
One of the best parts of Diablo 4 is how loot upgrades are handled. You can polish and modify items you find or craft at blacksmiths. Blizzard also confirmed that you can perform gear-defining modifications, such as extracting legendary power from items and adding that power to other equipment. This also makes almost every loot potentially essential and powerful.
A good defense makes a good offense
Diablo 4 provides more options in the fight against demonic forces. Although enemies can surround you, you now have a new tool at your disposal with the dodge mechanic. Evade acts as an evolution of Diablo 3’s dodge roll. The maneuver (on a short cooldown) allows all players, regardless of their chosen class, to stretch a short distance in any direction to avoid enemies during combat. It can make you feel unstoppable when used perfectly with the classic Diablo hack n’ slash combat. And if you want to be more nimble in battle, you can polish it up with items like special boots that add a speed boost after it’s done.
A fine-tuned Diablo experience on console
Diablo 4 is the first in the series to be genuinely tailored for console gamers and was developed with the controller in mind. This results in mechanics like the new evade being integrated into the PS5’s DualSense controller with dedicated buttons. Blizzard assures that it has put a lot of effort into making targeting enemies or treasure boxes as easy and responsive as possible. But if that’s not for you, you can connect your trusty keyboard and mouse to your PlayStation 5, as Diablo 4 offers full support for this “classic” control scheme.
Diablo 4 launches on PS5 next year.