Diablo has always been about killing hordes of demons and collecting loot. The latest in the franchise takes that spirit, adds freemium economics, and shoves it into a smartphone. The result is surprisingly good
Developer and Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: PC, iOS, Android
When Diablo first came out in 1997, it was an anomaly. Until then, most RPG games concentrated heavily on character building, elaborate stories and even more elaborate dungeons. The objective was to mimic the gameplay of Dungeons of dragons. On the other hand, Diablo bought forward the combat aspect of Dungeons and Dragons. It lets users experience all the exciting parts. Real-time action, exploring dungeons and collecting loot defined Diablo. It has worked for them, and it does so even with Diablo Immortal.
Diablo Immortal is available on Android, iOS and PC, free of cost. It is the first in the franchise to take this approach. While it isn’t overtly greedy and in your face with the pay to win strategy, it isn’t exactly subtle.
You will, from time to time, be asked about things you might want to pay for. Like PUBG and other free to play games, there is a push for limited edition gear, timed events and paid wealth. That said, you can grind in the game and build your character from scratch. It will just take very long. Unlike other games where it is an advantage in the core game, it isn’t so crucial in Diablo Immortal.
Most of the gameplay in Immortal concentrates on killing demons. Instead, the game incentivises the forming of teams by increasing the drop rate for groups. It’s an excellent way to force players to make connections. For player versus player, you will need to head to PVP Battleground, where you can form a team of six and start a match.
The main gameplay, of course, involves dungeon exploring. Each dungeon has a recommended level, and it is best to form a team and enter. The bosses of these dungeons are usually large and powerful, but patterns in the boss monster’s movements will help you combat them. Diablo is crazy addictive; you will not be able to put down the game once you start. The game is fun, and considering it is essentially limitless, it would be interesting to see how they keep the players engaged after a year.
Immortals also make it easy to follow and switch quests. The menu on the left houses all the current quests. The player merely has to click on the quest to follow. Diablo has an auto navigate feature if you don’t want to manually navigate to the next part of the quest. I found it very useful because it gave you time to take a break and avoid the more mundane bits of the game.
I also never thought Diablo would lend itself well to a phone’s touch control system. It does so beautifully. The controls are intuitive and simplified, making it easier for players to move around and fight. The left on-screen directional joypad was used only for navigation. While the powerups on the right had their own directional system that made combat very intuitive. Switching gear during battle is simple. The interface automatically tells you which is the best gear amongst your inventory. You can quickly choose the best and get back into action quickly.
The game is still in its infancy, and the program hung a couple of times on me. I also got disconnected a bunch of times from the server. Fortunately, Diablo puts you right back into the action even if you get disconnected. Another aspect of Immortal I wasn’t too happy with its drain on the battery. Diablo is a heavy game; your phone will get hot and drain out quickly. It may not run as well, on a cheaper phone.
Diablo Immortal is fantastic mobile game that just so happens to be free to play. If you can resist the urge to pay, the game can be a gratifying experience. Since you don’t have to pay anything, I highly recommend you play the game before dismissing it.