First Impressions of Diablo Immortal

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 2nd, 2022
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It's finally here! Diablo Immortal, the game that made fans ridiculously mad at its existence for reasons that didn't make any sense, released on mobile this week and--as predicted--it seems an awful lot like a Diablo game, if you're into that sort of thing.

I've got a full play session recording in the video above showing what the first hour or so of the game looks like. For the first 30 minutes or so, it looks and feels almost exactly like a regular old Diablo game. But--since this is a free-to-play title--there comes a point where you clear the introductory quest and from there you are showered with in-game mail, welcome banners, daily quests, shop menus, and more.

If you've been keeping up with our coverage ahead of the release of Diablo Immortal, I wrote some impressions of the game when I was invited to an early closed alpha of it. You can check out those comments here, and honestly, in my time with full-on release of the game so far, I wouldn't say my perception has changed all that much, especially since the game doesn't look and feel significantly different than it felt a year ago. That said, there are some points of departure worth noting, which I'll focus on below.

The first is that Diablo Immortal looks a lot better than it did in its alpha state. A lot of work has been done to add more dynamic lighting and visual flair to what was already a strong, tried-and-true overall dark fantasy aesthetic. This includes some much better feedback on your character's health status, with the screen turning crimson to let you know know pretty clearly when you are taking damage.

On the not-so-great-end of things visuals-wise, the final release of the game features a chat window on the bottom of the screen that can be distracting at times. There are ways to turn it off or limit its size, but it's not an easy thing to do.

Speaking of settings, my initial piece on the alpha somewhat criticized the controls for feeling too close together, and now the final release includes a ton of customization options, including the ability to adjust how close or far apart the in-game buttons are. There are also ways to adjust what kinds of chats you see, customizing controller and graphics options, and just about anything you'd expect from a polished free-to-play release like this.

Lastly, I think the only other thing worth commenting on thus far is that Diablo Immortal still maintains a persistent world that moves around you even when you are in menus or advancing the story. I didn't have any issues with being attacked or killed during cutscenes like I did back in the alpha, but you are constantly running around seeing other players swinging at invisible enemies or trying to kill the same boss as you, adding that sort of MMO atmosphere from games like World of Warcraft.

I'm not sure how to feel about that yet, much like I don't have much to say about the game's monetization scheme right now. So far, neither feel meaningful one way or the other, but I'm assuming the further in I go the more they will matter. For now, I'll continue to put time into Diablo Immortal as it seems enjoyable enough so far and I'll have some more things to say about it when it comes time to post a thoughtful review of the experience.

Posted in: News, First Looks
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