PREVIEW Diablo IV: successful return for hack’n slash?

It has now been more than 10 years since Diablo III came out and it struggled to win over early fans. I’Action RPG of Blizzard will have disturbed the players because in particular of its artistic direction a little too cartoonish, while the defects of the content have been erased with great blows of post-launch updates and extensions. In 2023 finally arrives his successor, Diablo IV, which we were able to try through its betanecessarily quite limited, but which already gives a lot of hope.

Pure intense and bloody hack’n slash.

During this first beta phase, we had the choice between only three character classes, namely the Barbaricthere Witch and the Thief. We had spent hours with the latter on Diablo IIIso to break our habits a bit, we opted for a Witch, which can be briefly customized at the start of the game, whether it’s gender, face or body tattoos. It’s pretty light, but at least we have a character we like in a few minutes, before launching the game to admire the introductory cutscene in CGI. Blizzard still masters his subject just as well and we are directly in the mood: Diablo IV is no longer cartoonish, here we are in a real bloody horror moviethe staging is neat and the English dubbing fits perfectly, qualities that we also find in the cutscenes using the game engine, for a stunning transition between the sequences of gameplay and narrative ones.

The beta only offers the Prologue and theAct Ibut already sets the tone, with this feeling of embodying a key character in a Dantesque story that goes beyond us, opposing Lilith wanting to plunge the world into Darkness to the forces of Light. And for now, the Light is absent, so much the world of Diablo IV is sorry and devastated. The few villages sweat misery and distressthe snowy environments of the first zone are teeming with broken elements and bloody bodies, the artistic direction is dark as possible, we are immersed in a real nightmare.

Fortunately, to survive, we embody a character who quickly gains in power. In the case of the Witch that we have chosen here, it is equipped with a two-handed staff with a basic ranged attack, and over the levels gained, we unlock skills, with a huge choice. With only one class, several styles are available to us, we have focused here on fire spells that are particularly effective on groups of enemies, but it is quite possible to combine them with other ice or electric ones. Each main spell can be upgraded to maximize the effects, with even the ability to unlock one of two additional effects to choose from to make it even more powerful. The possibilities seem very numerouseven if, beta limited to level 25 only obliges, we are far from having seen everything.

In combat, on PC, we therefore have two spells on mouse clicks and four others on keyboard keys, enough to create your own style easily, even if a fifth spell on the keyboard would not have been luxury. If you sanded Diablo IIIno big changes in the gameplay therefore, it is necessary to manage its positioning, the cool down of certain spells and the bar of mana (for the Witch). Note, however, the appearance ofa key to dodge, which is essential when fighting certain bosses devastating attacks that can melt the health bar. On the side of the potion restoring HP, there is also a little change, it is possible to lower all the vials almost in a row, even if it is obviously necessary to manage them: basic, we only have four and they restore little health, but it is possible to improve them over the levels in a Alchemist. In general, the merchants in the villages always have the same role: to sell equipment and above all to improve it, against gold, in order to refine its build.

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Finally, let’s highlight the real big change in Diablo IV : THE hack’n slash is open world. No more question of following the Acts in order to reveal the card, everything is accessible from the start, although the game invites us to follow a certain path depending on certain quests and the level of our character. Anyway, between the main and secondary missions, each part takes place in a different order according to the will and the curiosity of the player. That’s in theory, because in the beta, only the first area was accessible, it will be necessary to wait for the final version to judge the success of theopen-world. In any case, this test phase was limited in time, and between missions and dungeons, there was plenty to do. Like the previous works, Diablo IV is very addictive, we spent an entire day in this beta chaining quests and dungeons in the hope of finding loot a little more powerful…when everything works. Admittedly, this is a testing phase, but we still faced the common problems in games of Blizzard : a mandatory connection even to play solo and strawberry servers, with a long queue at the launch of the beta and some slowdowns during the game. Hopefully this is all more specific to the game’s launch…

Our first impressions: Strongly!

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Diablo IVit’s pure hack’n slash intense and bloody, with a horrifying atmosphere, a gameplay accessible, varied skills, characters quickly becoming unique and an already successful staging. Blizzard seems to have swept away the pitfalls of the third opus with finally a worthy successor to the cult Diablo II. We will have to wait to get our hands on the final version this summer to see if this Diablo IV really succeeds in everything he does, but already with this beta, fans have something to be reassured.

You can pre-order Diablo IV at €74.99 on Amazon or €79.99 at Fnac and at Micromania.

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Writer – Tester

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