Diablo Immortal is a hack-and-slash MMOARPG developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the first entry in the Diablo series that is mobile-forward, or created specifically for mobile devices. Here is our full initial Diablo Immortal Review.
It’s time; it’s finally time to descend back into the pits of hell to take on our favorite demons in Diablo Immortal. I’ve got to be honest; when Diablo Immortal was announced all the way back at Blizzcon 2018, I was a bit disappointed that this would be a mobile-centric game and not the fourth game in the series (just like the vast majority of people reading this).
To lay down some foundations, I started playing the Diablo series way back when Diablo 2 was released in the year 2000 (yes, I’m that old, plz leave me alone). I retroactively tried out the original Diablo, then played Diablo 3 and its expansions as they came out.
So what does an OG Diablo player have to say about the latest entry in the series? To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised (in a good way) from my 10 hours or so of gameplay so far. Diablo Immortal is the same loot-crazed, top-down, hack-and-slash game we’ve all come to love and improves and streamlines quite a bit from the last entry.
Diablo Immortal Review
Controls and Gameplay
Admittedly, at first, the mobile controls were a little wonky. I was tempted to plug in my controller but decided that since this was developed exclusively for mobile, I should try the directional D-pad on my phone’s screen. I would be lying if I said I didn’t almost minimize my screen every five minutes at first as I frantically tried to kill skeletons. But, after a while, you get used to it, and it actually feels pretty intuitive. The same can be said about your special directional moves. I started off with the Necromancer and found that his directional moves, like Corpse Explosion, could be angled depending on how you slide your finger across the button. It felt good, and it felt like it made sense. Auto-navigation to unique locations also makes the game feel less like a mobile running simulator.
There are a few obvious things that they did to make this feel better on smaller devices. For full disclosure, I was playing on a Pixel 6, so I didn’t have as many performance issues as the mob in the forums are currently having. One of the things is an auto lock-on mechanic so that you don’t need to position your character while firing their main attack. I tried to imagine how this would play without this functionality and realized it would be really annoying to hit your targets, select your moves, and move directionally simultaneously. In my opinion, it’s a great change.
In addition to the combat mechanics, they also made resource and inventory management a lot more streamlined. First, there’s no more mana bar–which makes a ton of sense for a class like Necromancer that relies on mana. This alleviates a lot of the “hardmode” early-game that magic-based classes suffered from in previous entries. It also prevents you from having a million different kinds of potions in your action bar. Now, you have 3 health potions, and they are on a refresh timer–so no more gold spent on pots, either.
Inventory management is a lot easier, as in–you don’t have look through a million items, most of which are entirely pointless. Gear is streamlined, and everything has categories, making it easier to navigate. And thank Diablo because I couldn’t imagine having to scroll through an inventory to find one tiny square in a sea of items on my phone.
Looting and Boss Battles
So far, looting feels gratifying, and the gear that drops is actually good. You don’t have to wait to level 100 and do 10,000 rifts for a good drop. Drops genuinely feel significant and rewarding, even early on. I can’t remember a single Boss name at the moment, but it’s still fun and different when you encounter one. We’ll see how the endgame feels and whether there is a lot of replay value, but so far, I’m having a blast pummeling through these demonic hordes for my Legendary items.
The added mechanic of Legendary Gems opens the game up to a world of possibilities and playstyles. I’m excited to see how my decisions affect how I play the game and how deep the system actually goes. Lastly, and this is a super under-rated aspect of gaming, the voice acting and story are pretty decent. If you take the time to listen to the narrative instead of furiously skipping every dialogue screen, it’s actually pretty good.
If I were to give the game any negative points, it would have to be some of the UI choices make it a bit hard. Having the Global Chat window on the bottom, Codex on the left, and then your moves leave you with around two inches of actual real estate if you’re using the phone. You can change some of this in your settings, but they should make it more obvious how to minimize these things.
Lastly, sometimes the game feels a bit hand-holdy. There’s a literal arrow on the ground that tells you where to go, and while that might not matter as much in the endgame, players looking for a rich lore-filled puzzle will not enjoy it as much. And while that’s okay for the casual gamer who will be picking this up in the middle of classes, it’s going to feel overly simplistic for more hardcore gamers and Diablo fans.
It’s too early to fully rate the game, and the developers will probably release a patch in a few days, so we’ll give the game a full Diablo Immortal review once we hit the late game.