Lilith the daughter of Hatred, mother of sanctuary and villain of Diablo 4, in a backdrop of red and black.

Diablo 4 Review – PC and Xbox Series X – Heavenly Good

Not for you if:

  • You want a slow tactical gameplay loop
  • Hot demon ladies are not allowed in your religion
  • You want to play Diablo 4 offline
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After the hellish thing called Diablo Immortal, I am happy to share this glowing Diablo 4 review with you. Not only for PC but also for the Xbox Series X and Steam Deck. Our scepticism surrounding Diablo 4 slowly vanished as we dove into the early Beta tests and server slam. The more we played the more we felt like Diablo 4 was going to deliver.

This Diablo 4 review will mainly focus on reviewing the story and world. The end-game and monetization deserve a separate review and can only be done after the first season releases in mid-July; so stay tuned till then.

The first introduction to Lilith, as she descends from her prison in a huge meat cape, the dark wanderer bowing before her.

TL;DR

Diablo 4 is a stunning, beautiful Action RPG with an OK story and lacklustre sidequests. The story is brought in amazing CGI trailers or in-engine cutscenes for more immersion. The world is gigantic with over one hundred dungeons, uncountable loot to collect and an insane range of build diversity for your character.

While Diablo 4 is intended to be a live-service game for Blizzard. And as for now, it is unclear how exactly their seasons will work and how heavily they will monetize them. What you get in the base game is such a big package that it really is worth it.

CGI trailer at the start of the game. blood and sweat coats the priests face, fear in his eyes as we see the reflection of Lilith in it.

Diablo 4 Review – Guaranteed Mommy Issues

As aforementioned in the intro, this Diablo 4 review will mainly focus on the fundamentals. The things you as a player will engage in throughout the story and your first two world tiers. We are still grinding out our perfect gear setup and materials needed for our builds to take a deep dive and do a proper review of the Diablo 4 endgame.

In engine cutscene where Inarius floats over the player, his wings touching the floor and surrounding space.

Bedtime Story from Mother Lilith – Story (spoiler free)

Our villain for the main story of Diablo 4 is the mother of Sanctuary, Lilith. She is the daughter of Prime Evil Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred. Thus she will often be referred to as the Daughter of Hatred in the game. A dark wanderer has summoned her into Sanctuary setting in motion a prophecy foretold by Rathma.

We will not go into the minute details of Diablo lore, there is a lot of lore to cover as Diablo 4 has some of the most iconic characters in that lore. Diablo 4 brings a huge cast of iconic characters to its story. A joy for lore buffs and a good entry for completely new players.

Our player character featured in a cutscene celebrating a succesful quest with the local totally innocent villagers.

Demonic and Heavenly Intentions, Sanctuary for Angels and Demons

Not only are Lilith and Inarius the creators of Sanctuary, Rathma is also their son and one of the firstborn Nephalem. Lilith and Inarius had grown tired of the Eternal Conflict between Heaven and Hell. They fled together and created Sanctuary, a place where they were free from the Eternal Conflict and able to love each other. From their love came a son Linarian, also more commonly known as Rathma. He was the first of the Nephalem; a mixed breed of demon and angel and as soon turned out, stronger than both. 

While Lilith sought to protect the Nephalem and harness their power to end the Eternal Conflict, the other angels and demons in Sanctuary feared the Nephalem’s strength. Lilith killed everyone who dared oppose her and Nephalem. Inarius, torn between logic and love, did not agree with her and banished her; to suppress the power of the Nephalem he altered the World Stone of Sanctuary so that each generation of Nephalem would grow weaker. Resulting in the creation of Humanity, weak mortal beings that Angels and Demons no longer had to fear.

These are the bare basics you need to know in order to grasp the story of Diablo 4. While most of it is explained in-game at a certain point. There is a lot more value to knowing some of the lore beforehand. Lilith might be our villain for Diablo 4, but is she really that evil? Maybe she is in the right and we should be helping her.

Strange old man talking about deckard cain in a dusty opium den.
Diablo 4 has some nice callbacks to older games. Be it music or references like this.

The Gray Area Between Good and Evil

The beauty of the story Diablo 4 presents is that you keep thinking, should we really be after Lilith? All she wants to achieve in Diablo 4 is to strengthen humanity in order to ward off the prime evils and angels coming to take Sanctuary for their own. She wants to protect humanity and Sanctuary. While her means are questionable, what else can you do when you would be facing Angels and Demons? All Lilith wants is to break the Eternal Conflict and have Sanctuary be left alone as the Sanctuary she intended it to be.

The way you are introduced into the grand scheme of the Daughter of Hatred is fairly simple. During a nightly ride, your horse gets spooked and eaten by a wolf. You stumble to a cave in search of shelter from a harsh snowstorm. In your dreams, a wounded wolf comes into your cave. You wake up, surviving the cold night and wander off towards the nearest village. After helping these poor villagers cleanse a dungeon of demons. They celebrate your success and spike your drink like Jeffrey Dahmer at a club looking for his next victim.

While you are passed out they feed you the blood petals of Lilith and prepare you to butcher you like a helpless cow. Another prisoner comes to the rescue and you slaughter the whole village. The blood petals are a leftover from when Lilith liberated the villagers from their old beliefs and restraints. These empowered the villagers, giving visions and instructions from the Mother. They are now your connection to Lilith and enhanced your strength immensely. You set out with the fellow prisoner to report your findings to the church, gather an ally and chase Lilith across Sanctuary and stop her.

In engine cutscene with a chapel in the dessert. Lorath telling the story.

Chasing Tail

Each Act works in a similar way that you are chasing behind the facts. Lilith is two or three steps ahead and you are fighting to catch up. The situation keeps getting more and more dire as the story progresses making you as the protagonist feel like sometimes all your efforts are in vain.

While Lilith is the main villain she remains absent for most of the story. She appears in cutscenes and you find fragments of her in the form of her blood petals. Most of these cutscenes are scenes from the past and events that you can no longer change. They just happened as you were out and about investigating some strange tree or why the druids were acting up. Thinking you’ll be thwarting Lilith’s plans during the Diablo 4 campaign is wrong.

You will be collecting evidence to convince the church of Light, recruiting old and new Horadrim and making dubious alliances. Forming a crew to try and save Sanctuary. This quest will take you all over Sanctuary, exploring each region and getting to know the distinct culture and cities. Each completed act builds up towards the grand finale. The side quests are mostly run-of-the-mill MMO-style kill-or-collect quests. Some pop out as unique but overall most of them are uninteresting. The most interesting ones were a series of exorcisms you have to complete. And one prisoner that had his eyes stolen by a cult leader, but was still able to see through them.

A skinned man hanging from chain, his wife calling out his name in confusion as he begs for more pain.
One of the more interesting side quests with a somewhat unique story.

Glorious Slaughter and Beautiful Sights – Gameplay

Veteran Diablo 3 players will feel right at home. Diablo 4 takes a lot of skills from Diablo 3 and adds in a few new ones. So if you are a barbarian main and want to spin to win, the option is still there. The biggest change in Diablo 4 is making the world semi-MMO-like. This means that towns will be populated with other players. In the open world, you will meet other players and will be able to do events with them. You could even invite them to a party and play together.

Diablo 4 takes aspects from the MMO genre and applies them fairly well to the action RPG genre. You will never meet too many players or have to compete for mobs, other players don’t feel intrusive into your story but are a nice addition when trying to do some events. The balance is just right and is a positive addition.

More Skills to Pay the Bills

A complete revamp of the skill and paragon tree will have you scratching your head at the start. While the new system is pretty self-explanatory and offers more options and diversity. You will need some time to dive into it and read all the new keywords and passives.

A rogue will always carry two weapons and switch to the corresponding weapon a skill needs, the same for a barbarian that carries four types of weapons. While the Druid will shapeshift fluently between forms to use their skills. An in-depth look at the paragon tree will be a part of our endgame review.

Each skill has nodes connected to it that enhance it, some splitting up and forcing you to choose. Passives are smaller nodes that boost certain aspects like poison damage, fire damage, minion health and damage etc. I had a blast figuring something out that worked perfectly for me.

Take Over the World

The Sanctuary is huge, so huge that Blizzard decided that we needed mounts to get around. And hell yeah I was so happy when I got my mount. After walking around for three acts from zone to zone it got really tiring. Unlocking the mount once does so for all characters, even new ones you create in the future. And after you finished the campaign once you can opt out of any other character you create.

The five regions of Sanctuary all feel distinct. Each region has its own aesthetic and pool of monsters you will fight. The cities and inhabitants all look different and give off a totally different vibe. Even if you complete only the main story there will be a lot left to explore.

Furthermore, there are hidden statues of Lilith scattered across the map. These give permanent stat buffs to any character you create in that realm. With realm being the difference between a hardcore, eternal and probably seasonal character. Doing this once is a hassle and I hope to never do it again, I’ll be honest and say Mapgenie helped a lot in tracking these down. Have a look here for the Diablo 4 Mapgenie interactive map.

Smoothest Demon-Slaying to Date – Performance

Performance wise I have splendid news. Not only did Diablo 4 run well on both pc and the Xbox Series X, but after some searching you can get it running perfectly on the Steam Deck! So Deck enthusiasts rejoice. The big surprise was that Diablo 4 ran best on the Xbox Series X at the time of this Diablo 4 review.

A dungeon where the walls are made of living flesh or worms, like intestines crawling over the floor and walls.

PC

The bread and butter platform for action RPG games. Overall, the PC was the platform where the game was the most beautiful. I was able to crank everything up to the max and enjoy the beauty of the world, enemies and world. I did encounter three crashes doing mundane stuff, like watching a cutscene or selling an item at a vendor.

The biggest issue was in towns. Loading into a town and running around was nothing until I opened my inventory or a vendor. After that the town had constant stutters, rubberbanding and lag. GPU and CPU were running constantly without any spikes or drops in their performance so I have no clue what causes these drops.

This Diablo 4 review was done on an i5 10600K, RTX3080 and 32GB of ram. Without the in-town stutters, I didn’t reach 144FPS but had a constant 119-122FPS throughout the game.

Steam Deck

To do a Diablo 4 review on the Steam Deck I simply followed this guide. I even did the whole guide without attaching a keyboard or mouse. That’s how simple it is to get it running. But does it run well? Yes, it does, depending on what proton version you set to run it on. Some people report that it runs well on experimental, while others swear by Proton 7.

With some setting tweaking it really runs like a slightly worse-looking version than the pc version. It runs well capped at 40fps. The biggest downside to Diablo 4 on the Steam Deck is that it always requires an internet connection. Even if you plan on playing Diablo 4 fully solo. You will need to be connected to a stable internet connection.

Xbox Series X

So usually when I have to pick a platform that I prefer for certain games, especially ARPGs, 9/10 it is the PC. But for Diablo 4 I wholeheartedly love it more on the Xbox Series X.  It just runs that bit more consistently even though it’s graphically not as good as the PC. There is a perfect balance between beauty and performance for Diablo 4 on the Xbox Series X that I simply love. While the Xbox Series X version also had its crashes it didn’t particularly stand out compared to the PC version in that regard.

Playing Diablo 4 with a controller is also the best way to play it in our opinion. Add in couch co-op into a well-performing version of Diablo 4 for the Xbox Series and it’s an instant hit for us. Up to two players can play together and progress together from start to finish. We noticed zero drops in performance and progressing together is simply amazing.

Villagers running from a pack of cannibals, calling for help as they try to escape their camp littered with corpses of horses and humans

Diablo 4 Review Conclusion – No Phones Needed

Diablo 4 is a beast of a game with a ton of content. It will keep you entertained for hours. As long as your internet connection doesn’t fail you. Diablo 4 is also a good game, it performs well, there is diversity in build crafting and the gameplay loop is simply enjoyable.

Will Diablo 4 hold up in its endgame content? Will the first season show the first fangs of greedy monetization? Find out more here on BGeek.eu and keep an eye on my profile for the next article in this Diablo 4 review series. Up next: Diablo 4 endgame.

Thank you AVE Greece and Blizzard EU for sponsoring us with keys.

Stijn Ginneberge

Posts published: 123

Gaming for me is about experiencing their stories, overcoming challenges, living in fantasy worlds and exploring alien planets. You can also find me in the local game store or on an airsoft field.