Diablo Immortal creates a very uneasy feeling in many people. After all, the first thing that comes to mind is the banalest gameplay with cuddly graphics. And that has to be repeated clearly: Immortal is by no means a wholly alienated Diablo variant that has nothing to do with its predecessors.
Sure, the optics come closer to Diablo 3, which the fans found a little too colorful. But Immortal does not heat this oven any further but continues to cook on the usual flame.
I can live with this look, and it’s more important to me anyway, whether it’s deep enough in terms of gameplay to be worthy of the name Diablo. The short answer: yes. You can immediately dive into the world of Sanctuary with your character, and it takes less than 20 seconds for the first zombie monster to stumble in front of your blade. That was my conclusion from the first technical alpha, and nothing has changed in the last year and a half.
All Diablo 3 fans will feel more comfortable with the fights than Diablo 2 purists because all available classes consist of the same noses that we were allowed to play in Diablo 3. The only exception is the witch doctor, who may only be honored as a free update after release—the NecromaNecromancerilable for selection from the start.
The heroes resort to many well-known skills with which it is said zombie’s collar. The barbarian shreds through dead flesh with blades, the sorceress freezes him before burning him, the demon slayer pierces him with bolts, the necromaNecromancerrs a zombie with a skeleton, the crusader chases him away with divine power, and the monk smacks him with the naked one punch those rotten teeth out of your jaw.
This is initially a bit unusual to control on a mobile phone, but anyone who has experience with controllers will quickly find their way around. And if in doubt, you can connect an actual controller anyway and even start hacking with a mouse and keyboard on the PC. How well the latter works, I can’t say yet.
At least on the smartphone, the fights are fun and develop an excellent flow thanks to practical explosions, but without the brutal hardness of a Diablo 3. The monsters react too little to our attacks for that.
Can I get through the story solo?
Diablo Immortal isn’t just the first Diablo designed primarily for smartphones. It is also the first Diablo that also sees itself as an MMO. Here you are not only in a co-op with friends, but you can also occasionally meet strangers in the ten open areas. You can join them, complete a few dungeons together, or even set up your clan, which will later be used in significant PvP battles.
If you’re like me, then you’re less interested in all this multiplayer hustle and bustle. But Diablo Immortal doesn’t force you to interact with other people. You can’t altogether avoid them, but you’re never dependent on other players to complete the story.
Immortal tells a Diablo-typically not the too complex story for about 25 hours, which is about the hunt for the fragments of the destroyed world stone, the destruction you may have made possible in Diablo 2 yourself.
Even if the story isn’t the most critical factor in Diablo, Immortal does a much worse job of emotionally chaining us to what’s happening. The story is somewhat unfavorably between parts two and three and is therefore hardly allowed to enjoy narrative freedom.
However, I find much worse is how much Immortal relies on ties to well-known characters and introduces very few new or interesting characters. Neither new antagonists nor companions are remembered for long. Instead, Immortal always pounces on the famous. Once again, the skeleton king Leoric is brought out of his grave, Deckard Cain is on hand with help and advice, and ways are even found to awaken evil or characters that shouldn’t be present at the time.
As a result, Immortal doesn’t feel like an independent part but rather like a best-of-Diablo, which is underlined by its heavy dependence on the classes from D3.
Whether this moderately interesting plot bothers you or whether the fan service falls on the fertile ground depends heavily on you. Regardless of your taste, the story campaign also has a structural problem. You can’t just play through the story from start to finish undisturbed.