Diablo IV review (Steam Deck) – revival of the classic Action RPG genre

Diablo IV, one of the biggest games to be released this year, has become the talk of all gamers and, I bet, everywhere in the world when it finally released. Virtual offices opened up gaming channels on their respective chat groups; friends get to share their experiences on their playthroughs. While others have installed it on their beefy computers and consoles, I decided to install it on my Steam Deck to make this Diablo IV review. (I keep my laptop strictly for work only).

Installing it on the Steam Deck is relatively straightforward; there are a lot of tutorials out there to make it work. My only problem is that you’ll have to use a Launcher to run Diablo IV, which adds just a hint of complexity towards playing it. It took me hours to get it working, mostly waiting for its download to finish. I opted out of the high-resolution assets since I only plan to play it on a small screen. Once done, I’m ready for my next adventure in the Sanctuary!

in-game screenshot on Steam Deck

Upon opening the game, I am met with a great opening sequence. That distinct CGI of Blizzard takes me back to their most excellent games. Watching through it was a hell of a ride as we all saw how the game’s next antagonist would become. Chilling, goosebumps, and excitement await us all!

I wanted to keep my experience vanilla, how I wanted to experience it. I decided to take on World Tier II, with a sorcerer as my protagonist.

The first thing I noticed when I was playing it for the first time was how well it runs on the steam deck. Other games (even remastered ones… I’m looking at you, Naughty Dog) immediately had problems on the deck. I expected to get in the game and quickly change all the settings before hell broke loose from my deck.

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t even need to do that right away! I was too immersed in the game to optimise it for the deck. Eventually, I needed to jump to my settings and customise it for my experience. The game runs well, even on the medium settings. I couldn’t ask for more. With an optimised setting, I am now ready for the campaign. 

One thing is sure when you’re playing Diablo IV. That is survivability. It doesn’t matter what build you make; what matters is that you race through dungeons flawlessly and swiftly. Sorcerer may not be the best class to do it, though.

The best classes to clear dungeons are what you enjoy the most. Making another character in a hardcore mode made it clear that Necromancer was the most comfortable class to work with, at least for me. However, that suddenly fell short when I met The Butcher at an earlier level. Damn, that was a short-lived moment. I beat The Butcher at level 30 hardcore with the help of the conduit blessing shrine, which made the battle heavily favourable on my side.

Upon days of playing, just like other games, we slowly see the flaws of this game as we do this Diablo IV review. 

This lies more on the technical side of things; Even though it runs well on Steam Deck, it’s not pure joy playing it. Getting it installed on the deck takes a little effort, and it’s not always 60fps when journeying around the sanctuary. Running the game in the first 5 mins heavily drops the framerate when you try to move around or get out of town.

Multiplayer play isn’t that fun, either. When playing Gathering of Legions, or World Boss, Diablo IV seems to have higher latency. This could be because of my internet, or multiplayer isn’t that optimised in the deck, some server issues or all of them mixed.

Speaking of server issues, not within weeks, the server experienced an outage during one weekend, making players doubt the business strategy of Diablo IV since the game is built on a live-service model, which makes it impossible to play this thing without being connected to the internet.

Makes you think, though, that a 70-100$ game can’t be played remotely. Unless you’re playing through stream or Steam deck with wireless connectivity, I thought that at that price point, surely you would like games to be played whenever and wherever you want to.

In this Diablo IV review can we say it is a good game? Sure, if you disregard the whole always-connected-game-experience kind of thing. Who wouldn’t love the aspects of a role-playing adventure game with the adrenaline rush of getting good items and customising your play? It even comes with a roguelike experience. If you’re up to it, sure, I would. 

It’s still too early to say that the whole experience is terrible since it’s just been a while since it was released. But please, Blizzard, let me play it offline too!

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