Diablo IV is finally here. After the disappointment that is Diablo Immortal, not many held out hope that Diablo IV would be great. It definitely would be good (Blizzard games rarely aren’t) but whether it would hold up to Diablo II was forever in doubt.

Now that it’s finally here, does Diablo IV dethrone Diablo II as the best game in the series? A more apt question, which version of the game should you play?!

Read on and I’ll answer both questions!

What is Diablo IV?

Diablo IV is an action RPG played from a zoomed out perspective. It’s developed and published by Activision Blizzard and is available right now on the PC, Playstation and Xbox consoles.

Our PC and PS5 review code were graciously provided by the awesome folks at Activision Blizzard! Thank you so much!

Set 50 years after the events of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Diablo IV has players returning to the world of Sanctuary yet again as another new character. This time around, the player assumes the role of the Wanderer (not to be confused with the Dark Wanderer from Diablo II), who gets roped into the quest to new big bad baddie, Lilith.

Ok…that’s not entirely true. While Lilith makes her first appearance in the games in Diablo IV, she’s actually been around in the lore (the books and comics) and even mentioned by Deckard Cain and a few others in the previous games.

The Father of Sanctuary in all His glory. Kind of meh…I honestly think Tyrael was more impressive.

I feel that Activision Blizzard’s really missed out on a great chance to create a sympathetic villain with Lilith. While her intentions in the game are murky in the earlier parts, the game’s plot never really tries to give it the ambiguity it deserves.

Lorath and the Wanderer never falter from thinking that Lilith has to be stopped despite some hints that Lilith might actually be doing what she’s doing in the best interests of humanity. Is she justified in her means to achieve that end? The game takes a hard no stance on that, but perhaps a softer, more inquisitive touch to the storytelling might have been more warranted.

We get a black and white plot of Lilith bad, humans good but the world of Diablo is never that clean. It’s a shame the plot is not nuanced enough to handle the material in the way that it deserves.

For my review of Diablo IV, I played through the game on two different platforms. I started out on the PC, and then a few weeks later, played on the Playstation 5. Crossplay is possible with the game and I played a ton with Sky, our Audio Editor, with zero issues.

Diablo IV also supports cross progression, so you can use your same characters on any platform Diablo IV is enabled, as long as you’re logged in with the same Battle.net account. You can play five minutes on a PC, log off and then reconnect on a Playstation 5 right where you left off.

Even the flies in the game are out for your blood.

I can’t understate how great this is, especially when I had to create so many (oh so many) different characters for Diablo 3 since I played on the PC, Playstation and Xbox consoles and characters were locked to a platform.

I really wasn’t looking forward to needing to create new characters for every new platform I played on again…

It’s nice that there are dialogue changes that are unique to the different character classes though. The game comes with five different classes (Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Rogue and Sorcerer) and each of them have their own original backstory and dialogue in-game.

I’ve played all five substantially and my favourite thus far is definitely the Druid. Being able to do massive damage, heal AND tank all in one class is pure insanity. I had no trouble at all blazing through the game as the Druid. I did get lucky with getting some great Legendaries that buffed my playstyle but they didn’t make too much of a difference.

New to the mainline Diablo series is the open world. While the game’s still divided into acts ( you can do the first 3 in any order you want), you need to travel the open world (instead of being teleported to the next hub like in pervious games) to do the missions.

The pinata in Diablo IV!

The open world’s broken up into 5 distinct sections, with one even taking place the familiar Dry Steppes region. Within each region, you’ll find side quests, dungeons and cellars (which are minute or so long dungeons) as well as Strongholds, which are always filled with enemies 2 levels higher than your character.

Strongholds are meant to offer a challenge that you can tackle with a party, but I did most of them solo so no worries if you’re alone. When conquered, Strongholds reward you with a special dungeon (and sometimes, a warp point).

Honestly though, I feel that Strongholds are a wasted opportunity. Instead of offering a shortcut and a dungeon, I feel that Strongholds should’ve been turned in player bases (where you can invest money to customize and upgrade the location).

Diablo IV, like Diablo Immortal, is a shared open world. That means you’ll encounter other players as you roam around. You don’t need to bother with them (unless you’re doing Legion events or World Bosses) so you can always play as you want. Player Killing is only available in a singular, teeeeeeny section of the map, so you can wander around 99% of Sanctuary without fear of being ganked.

Being shared unfortunately means the game needs an online connection…always. There’s simply no way to play the game without one. Even then, you need a fast connection as the game is very susceptible to lag if your connection isn’t up to snuff.

The change to an open world gives Diablo IV something its predecessors lacked; player freedom. You’re finally free to wander anywhere you want, as enemies will almost always level with you. There are a ton of dungeons and cellars to delve into, though the sheer number mean that most of them are rather forgettable. You can only raid so many underground caverns and crypts before you loose track of it all.

Guess why he’s not popular at parties.

It’s unfortunate too that most of these dungeons have no backstory to them. Some do though, and it’s these ones that stand out. No matter what though, clearing a dungeon once is a must. They unlock special Aspects (boosts) that you can slot into your gear to. Once unlocked, they’re available to other characters on your account, so you only need to do a dungeon once.

You can always repeat cleared dungeons though, so no worries on running out of places to level.

Like previous games, the combat in Diablo IV is breathtakingly spectacular. Monsters swarm you constantly, and your characters can unleash devastating attacks that send bodies flying with one blow. This is the Diablo that we all know and love and I never got tired of bashing demons or the undead throughout the campaign…Enemy variety could be better though because most of the baddies in the game return from previous titles.

The Endgame in Diablo IV is thankfully much more thought out. New dungeons (called Nightmare Dungoens) become available, Helltide events (where areas in the area become darkened and red and demons roam the land) and Whispers of the Dead (think Bounties) regularly pop up around the world for you to do and turn in for rewards. There are even World Bosses and special Legion events to take part in for the chance to get awesome gear.

There are also Paragon Boards to progress. You get a Paragon point after you hit Level 50 and use these on the board. Unlike Diablo III, paragon levels are not account wide, only for the character you’re using.

You can now get quests from cyan drops, like that Old Journal.

There’s actually a fair amount to do for those seeking greater glory in the game, certainly much more variety than Diablo III ever had for its endgame.

You might not think it, but Diablo IV is a resource gobbling monster.

As always, I reviewed the game on our PC gaming rig.

For review of the game, we were running a rig off these specs:
– MSI B550M Mortar
– AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with NZXT Kraken X73 RGB Liquid Cooler
– MSI GeForce RTX 3080Ti Suprim X 12GB
– 64GB DDR4 RAM (Teamgroup T-Force Dark Z 16GB x 4 @ 3600MHz)
– Samsung 980 PRO 2TB SSD

Settings were all set to Ultra, with DLSS set to Balanced at 4K resolution.

A side mention; both our motherboard and GPU were awesomely sponsored by the great folks at MSI. I can honestly say the MSI GeForce RTX 3080Ti Suprim X 12GB is a hell of a GPU and more than worth its asking price. Great performance in games, looks damn cool with its RGB stylings too!

Thanks to MSI and their kind generosity, we’ll be reviewing more PC games now since we have the hardware to deliver a quality review experience.

You’d have thought a monster rig like that wouldn’t have issues with the game right? You’d be wrong.

I had stuttering issues intermittently throughout the game. At first, I thought it was lag. With so many people playing Diablo IV, I figured network latency was causing the stutters. I checked my Internet connection, turned off my VPN and even did a network speed test.

So many monsters (including some bosses) return from past games…where are the new horrors?!

Turns out it wasn’t lag.

The game is actually a resource hog. It turns out the the dinky 12GB VRAM in the MSI GeForce RTX 3080TI Suprim X isn’t enough to run the game on with Ultra settings. Wait…wut?!

I don’t know about you, but unless you’re really on the cutting edge, chances are your GPU will not have 16GB of VRAM. I understand something like Cyberpunk 2077 needing obscene amounts of VRAM, but Diablo IV?

I don’t know if Diablo IV is incredibly unoptimized in its memory usage but 24GB of VRAM does seem a tad excessive to me for a game that only shows a small section of the game at any one time.

Thankfully, the performance issues I had running the game on 4K on a PC vanished as soon as I went on the Playstation 5. Sure, the visuals were a bit less detailed compared to the PC version, but it had no hitches, stuttering or rubber banding issues I encountered on the PC. The trade off (other than the visuals) is that the loading seems to be a few seconds longer.

So here’s the lowdown.

If you’re thinking of running the game on 4K on Ultra settings, don’t bother with the PC version unless you have a killer rig. Get a PS5, get the game on that and enjoy a comparable experience instead. If 4K and Ultra settings isn’t a draw for you, then sure, go ahead and play the game on the PC. The keyboard and mouse might be a better fit for the game than controllers anyway…though it has to be said that I played exclusively with controllers and had zero issues.

Well…one issue. There aren’t enough skill slots.

If you see a bubble, run into it. Trust me.

You get 6 slots (X,Y,A, LT, RT and RB) but no way to add more. For some classes that’s enough but for most (particularly Sorcerers and Necromancers) that’s nowhere near acceptable.

Take the Necromancer for instance.

You NEED one slot free to summon skeletons and another to summon the Golem. That just leaves 3 slots (because A is needed for the Basic Attack) for your curses, corpse manipulation and spells. Yup, it’s nowhere near enough.

Instead of giving you options, Diablo IV seems intent on shackling you and forcing you to choose what skills you want to use.

It’s a major oversight and I wonder why it’s not been changed since the multiple betas. Why not add in alternate skill bars that can be toggled by pressing L3 or R3? Two different toggleable skill bars would’ve been so easy to implement and solved the issue with no problem. Even on a PC with the keyboard, you’re still forced to only pick 6 skills.

At the very least, some streamlining of skills (why not merge the Necromancer summon skills or dedicate a special button combo (L3+R3 perhaps?) to trigger Ultimates?) is needed here because the limitations imposed on some classes neuter their effectiveness to a major degree.

The Bottom Line.

Now we wait for Activision Blizzard to tighten up the game and add in more stuff via expansions and season!

Diablo IV is honestly a mixed bag.

The art design harkens back to Diablo II’s (which’s a good or bad thing depending how you like that game) but it’s the gameplay elements that are the most controversial. The limited number of skill slots and the neutering of the Dodge function top the list of questionable gameplay decisions.

The new open world and the huge amount of side missions and dungeons (as well as the endgame content) are awesome though. They give a lot of bang for your buck, especially as you slowly grind your way to max level. Playing on a console is a painless experience, with relatively fast loading and zero slowdown.

The best part of it all? The cross-progression means you can pickup and play as your character no matter what platform you are on, at any time you want.

It’s not all fun and games on the PC side sadly.

The tremendous VRAM requirement to play on 4K on Ultra settings is a bit extreme for a game of Diablo IV’s nature. Activision Blizzard definitely could’ve done more to let the general public know of the hefty requirements because I guarantee you that a ton of people are wondering why they’re getting crappy performance on what appears (on the surface) to be a game that’s nowhere near as graphically intensive as some of its contemporaries.


If you don’t have a stellar PC, get the game on a console.

The Good.

  • Huge open world to explore.
  • Smooth gameplay on Playstation.
  • Lots of side quests.
  • Characters all play differently.
  • Cross-play and cross-progression.
  • Variety of endgame content.

The Bad.

  • Cliched plot.
  • Strongholds are useless once conquered.
  • The grind to max level is insane.
  • PC requirements for 4K on Ultra settings are tremendous.
  • No offline play, needs a fast and stable connection always.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.