Diablo IV Review

One of this year's hottest releases is almost here, and our verdict is in. You won't want to miss this Diablo IV review!

Published: May 30, 2023 12:00 PM /

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It's been over a decade since Diablo III was released to the masses. It was met with significant anticipation, but it soon became an extremely divisive title among the fanbase. Over time, Diablo III improved and added new features, including a strong endgame and the iconic seasons. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on Blizzard's part to fix Diablo III, but they managed to avert disaster and salvage one of their most iconic titles. If you're wondering if the same fate awaits Diablo IV, you'll be very happy to know this is the most comprehensive and impressive product Blizzard has released in a very long time.

Although Diablo IV is the fourth installment in the longtime, signature ARPG franchise, this feels like a fresh start for the series. Blizzard is all gas, no breaks on delivering a product that has substantial content in both the leveling experience as well as endgame. With a newfound focus on live service content, the life of Diablo IV is sure to be a long life with such a strong showing.

diablo iv environments
So much detail is packed into every area in Diablo IV.

Hell is Hot, but Diablo IV is Hotter

After playing through the various Diablo IV beta tests, I knew coming into this review the overall production quality was exceptional. As time went on, however, I became more and more impressed. Diablo IV excels in so many different ways with its crisp and richly detailed environments and lighting, outstanding soundtrack and audio design, and gameplay smooth as butter.

Most of us are playing Diablo IV for multiple reasons, one of the main being we love to mindlessly slay demons and monsters. Diablo IV delivers by offering a diverse set of classes out of the gate. For the purposes of this review, I focused on one class -- the barbarian -- in order to simulate the idea that I have a "main" and that I'm taking him all the way to endgame. The barbarian is a powerhouse with physical-based attacks, shouts that buff (or debuff enemies), and more.

Melee isn't the easiest choice in Diablo IV because enemies hit like trucks. I chose the highest of two difficulties available to me and played through the entire campaign on this level, and it offered an extremely satisfying challenge. Enemy density, even in the endgame, is less packed than the chaotic masses of enemies in Diablo III, yet combat feels much more challenging in Diablo IV. You're given the tools to succeed with a handy dodge button -- which should be used liberally -- and a limited number of potions. The limited nature of these potions makes management of this precious resource a priority, incentivizing the use of the dodge and proper use of skills.

diablo iv barbarian
Every class even has its own priority questline to expand your power.

Diablo IV takes a special emphasis on class fantasy, so when allocating skill points, you'll likely have all your abilities revolve around a central theme. If I were to play sorcerer, I could use fire, ice, or even lightning magic. In my case as a barbarian, I went with a strong Hammer of the Ancients build as my core, and all other abilities would act as a way to regenerate my class resource so I could keep on slammin'. Although builds don't feel completely cohesive in the early game, I would encourage all players to look forward to their key passive at the end of each skill tree. Players didn't get a chance to feel these out during the Beta tests, but believe me -- these impact your power immensely and make everything come together.

Just like how my time as a barbarian grew on me over time, so too did the open world of Diablo IV. The approach to Diablo IV's open world differs from that of any other game in the series. With five different, distinct regions to explore, these are static environments that are not procedurally generated. The world is enormous and even after playing over 50 hours for my review, you're going to keep seeing new areas. It was a masterstroke by Blizzard to craft these environments by hand rather than rely on procedural generation, because it allows players to form a deeper connection to Sanctuary with a feeling of intense immersion -- and seriously, screenshots don't do it justice. From the bright deserts of Kehjistan to the murky swamps of Hawezar, I can confidently say this is the most stunning ARPG on the market.

diablo iv combat
There are plenty of foes to fight, including ghosts, beasts, and of course, demons.

The detail put into Diablo IV's overworld extends to the numerous procedurally generated dungeons to explore. With a staggering amount of dungeons in Diablo IV, many of them revolve around the theme of the zone they are located. For example, Scosglen, a dense, woodsy druid enclave, has a lot of dungeons that take place within dark and demon-infested forests. Although the level of procedural generation doesn't seem as substantive as I expected, the lighting and overall aesthetic of dungeons add much personality to these mini-adventures. Although I didn't attempt every single dungeon in Diablo IV (as this would take an incredible amount of time to do), each dungeon felt like a new surprise waiting beyond the entrance.

But truly, the combination of outstanding graphics and superior audio design brings Diablo IV's grim world to life. My barbarian's abilities all had so much weight behind them, with his Hammer of the Ancients slamming down on enemies and creating sickening squishing sounds or rattling bones, depending on the type of foes you'll face. During key moments in the story, Blizzard is quite literally flexing with how jaw-droppingly good the soundtrack is. There are plenty of nostalgic twangs on the guitar and dark atmospheric tunes playing as you explore the world and a hearty amount of new tracks to set the tone for what is an exceedingly dreary game.

diablo iv inarius
Inarius is quite radiant, no?

A Non-Spoiler Look at Diablo IV's Story

I was less than enthused about Diablo III's story, and years later I still couldn't care less about Leah or heck, even Deckard Cain who was so swiftly taken from us. Not to mention, the story didn't feel like it fit the series tonally. My complaints are not unique by any means. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Diablo IV, and even during the beta I avoided finishing the Act I story so as not to completely spoil myself. Thankfully, Diablo IV delivers Blizzard's strongest narrative in a very long time.

Rather than dive into specifics, I want to speak to the general vibe of the story. Diablo IV's story is character-focused and features a strong core cast of characters this time around. Players' own character feels as much a part of the story as the rest of the cast, often taking part in cutscenes and having plenty of dialogue. This is such a refreshing contrast to Diablo III, where the Nephalem felt more like a bystander to the action taking place with Tyreal, Deckard, and Leah pulling most of the weight in a narrative sense.

diablo iv lilith
Say hello to Lilith.

In truth, I became attached to the characters in Diablo IV. No doubt, returning character Lorath Nahr is an outstanding and complex individual brought to life by Ralph Ineson's gravelly, deep voice. Inarius and Lilith, two key figures in Diablo IV's narrative, are fascinating and I can't wait to see what players will have to say about these two characters. In general, getting to learn more about the Diablo world is a treat for lore junkies such as myself.

Although side quests aren't going to directly impact the story, I feel as though Blizzard had an opportunity to create compelling vignettes through the many side quests scattered throughout Sanctuary. While a handful of side quests feature more story than others, I was overall a bit disappointed by their offerings. A large number of side quests I found simply task players with collecting item drops from enemies or slaying a set number of monsters. Side quests have the opportunity to flesh out smaller stories and highlight the daily struggles of characters living in Sanctuary, but nothing captivated me nearly as much as the strong main questline.

diablo iv bat
Screw this bat in particular.

Cracking into the Endgame of Diablo IV

This is the first time in the Diablo series that we have a fully fleshed out endgame from the start, and thank goodness for that. I didn't want to stop playing the campaign, if anything because it gives me an excuse to bash more demons. Thankfully, the endgame of Diablo IV provides several activities to keep players engaged for an unhealthy amount of hours. As with any Diablo title, it's all about grinding to the top and getting as powerful as possible, and you'll likely have a blast doing it here.

There are multiple activities to choose from, so if you get bored with one, you can move to another. The first system players are introduced to is the mystical Tree of Whispers takes the place of Diablo III's bounty system. Various objectives are scattered throughout the map and players are free to choose any they wish, including slaying monsters and collecting their essence or taking on a specific dungeon. The reward at the end is a very handy cache of armor and materials. The Tree of Whispers is fairly limited in its nature and the objectives don't seem all that diverse. I'm not going to say Diablo III's bounty system was perfect, but it doesn't feel like Blizzard's design has evolved much beyond that. This activity can feel a bit old pretty quick, but the mundanity is broken up by the much more exciting Nightmare Dungeons.

diablo iv bounty
Another bounty for the Tree of Whispers.

Nightmare Dungeons are going to keep me hooked for so long in Diablo IV. These randomized dungeons have multiple parameters that alter the difficulty; to highlight a couple of examples, enemy attack types might be affected, or perhaps a portal full of exploding demons will spawn frequently in an attempt to disrupt your run. They do feel a bit like Rifts and Greater Rifts from Diablo III without the time limit attached. On top of all the random variables Nightmare Dungeons might have waiting to challenge players, there are multiple objectives you'll need to complete like killing certain powerful enemies or collecting items. There's enough variation that I won't get bored anytime soon, and I see myself getting hooked to these dungeons in the same way I did with Rifts.

I briefly mentioned difficulty in Diablo IV, which is the World Tier system. With four World Tiers in all, increasing in difficulty each time you bump it up, one of your main goals in Diablo IV is to reach Tier IV called Torment. The immediate change in rewards from Tier II to endgame's Tier III  is substantial and you are most certainly encouraged and incentivized to push it further into Tier IV. Nightmare Dungeons, with their own tier system on top of World Tiers, means Diablo IV can turn into quite a brutal time.

There are several other elements involved in Diablo IV's endgame including World Bosses, PVP, and more, but it's hard to gauge the impact they have on endgame due to the limiting nature of the review build. You see, I only encountered one other fellow journalist during my time with Diablo IV, but I know based on my experience with the beta, collaboration is fun and exciting. I've seen the potential of Diablo IV's endgame with Nightmare Dungeons, so I can't wait to see how throwing more players into the equation affects how I play. Players or not, it's easy to stick around with Diablo IV and it'll likely consume your life just as it will mine -- I've already accepted this inevitability.

diablo iv barbarian
There's a decent amount of customization this time around, so please appreciate my character who is, unfortunately, purged from the servers.

Diablo IV Review | Final Thoughts

Although I can praise Diablo IV for providing an outstanding experience at launch, there are a few issues to take into consideration going forward. Diablo IV is a massive game, so it's natural to expect bugs. It's not an overly buggy game, but there will be problems graphically, in gameplay, and perhaps even while interacting with players (though the latter remains to be seen). I can't speak to the server stability since there were only a handful of journalists playing at any given time, but it's not out of the realm of possibility there will be hiccups there. Nonetheless, Diablo IV runs near flawlessly on my machine, so a stable framerate and graphical options accommodating lower to high-end PCs are available at the start -- plus it has DLSS, a feature everyone with an RTX card should use to reach max performance.

The crazy thing is, we haven't even seen everything Diablo IV has to offer. Seasonal content and no doubt many events and improvements are on the way for Diablo IV, and it's already an outstanding game. As it stands, Diablo IV offers a comprehensive package filled to the brim with content for all types of players. Whether you're just looking for a strong story, enticing endgame, perilous PVP, or a mix of all three, Diablo IV has just that.

Diablo IV was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher over the course of over 50 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review.

Review Summary

Diablo IV might just go down as one of Blizzard's best games. It delivers exciting and accessible ARPG gameplay, a stunning world and engaging narrative to experience, and so many activities to keep you hooked for hours on end. (Review Policy)


  • Production Value, Including Graphics and Audio, are Outstanding
  • Substantive and Satisfying ARPG Gameplay
  • Blizzard's Best Narrative in Years
  • Substantial and Exciting Endgame


  • Many Side Quests are Mundane
  • Tree of Whispers Endgame Activity Could Use More Variety
  • Some Expected Bugs/Glitches

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

| Staff Writer

Austin cut his teeth writing various  fan-fiction stories on the RuneScape forums when he was in elementary school. Later on, he developed a deep love for… More about Austin

More Info About This Game
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Game Page Diablo IV
Release Date
June 6, 2023 (Calendar)
Action RPG
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