Diablo Immortal's Alpha Has Been a Blast… But Isn’t Without Its Problems

Diablo Immortal's Alpha Has Been a Blast… But Isn’t Without Its Problems

Diablo Immortal’s closed alpha has been running for more than six weeks now, and has given us an extensive look at what Blizzard and NetEase’s mobile interpretation of Diablo is all about. The good news is that Diablo has transitioned across to mobile seamlessly in many areas – the touch screen controls are intuitive to use, the combat feels meaty and the presentation is suitably moody. On the other hand, once I hit the closed alpha’s level cap and began working my way through the game’s Paragon system, some aspects of Immortal – as it currently stands – started to worry me.These concerns are: whether the itemisation system has enough staying power, the role real money may play and how being free-to-play has impacted Immortal’s design, and how wide the appeal of the endgame content will be. It’s a work-in-progress, of course, and so many things will almost certainly change, but even so, this is a big chunk of the game so it’s worth analysing how things currently work.Before we dig into the points above a bit more, a quick overview of what’s in the closed alpha. The classes represented are Barbarian, Wizard, Demon Hunter, Monk and – new for this hands-on – Crusader, which was my class of choice. Where the final game will have a level cap of 60, the alpha goes up to 55, but as mentioned also includes Immortal’s take on Diablo III’s Paragon system, which allows players to continue sculpting their character beyond the max level. The journey to hit that level cap saw me roam far and wide across Sanctuary, venturing into countless dungeons and otherworldly rifts, taking on bounties, partnering up with other players to fight bosses, and enjoying the ever-escalating power afforded by steadily improving my gear and skills.[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/04/21/diablo-immortal-closed-alpha-developer-update”]As I said in my last hands-on impressions, the moment to moment action is excellent – Immortal already looks, sounds and feels like an authentic, modern Diablo game, even on touch screen. All the controls are within easy reach, monitoring cool-downs is simple and while I’m not a fan of virtual analogue sticks and buttons in general, there’s clear upside here. Immortal has something of a twin stick shooter vibe to it at times, as you’re moving your character with one hand and aiming skills with the other. It’s a clear point of differentiation from playing Diablo on PC and opens up options…
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