author: Hubert Sosnowski
5 Reasons I Can't Wait for Diablo 4
I played Diablo 4, the upcoming hack'n'slash giant. Knowing Blizzard's recent actions, it could have turned out very differently, but fortunately it's shaping up to be a blockbuster. And there are at least a few reasons to look out for the new action RPG.
...and Diablo 4's story, too
The story doesn't get in the way of the atmosphere either. Something that you can most fear in hack'n'slash, if anyone cares. Diablo 3 veered towards cartoonishness, camp, and even potentially great bits and plot twists were put down by nervous movement in the atmosphere department (only Reaper of Souls recovered from that). Diablo 4 breaks this spell and returns to the roots, i.e. gothic darkness. It improves it with different types of horror, so the atmosphere is creepy, even though the story has much less ambivalence than parts one and two, where many things worked on a "just try and guess" basis. The sanctuary is a terrible place, where hope has long since died.
The first act, which I completed, heralds a very good story. Sure, some compromises of the hack'n'slash convention appear, but they don't spoil the full picture. Well, don't count on big choices nor non-linearity (on the other hand, Grim Dawn also offered some branches in side plots, so maybe someday...) – although in the full version, you will be able to decide on the order in which you complete the main quests, and I suspect that this may affect the reception and contextualization of particular tropes and events.
The tasks I faced were very neatly implemented in a world ruled by hack'n'slash mechanics. Both the main and side quests were very "human" – the most important part of them were the characters, their emotions, offenses and actions. As this dark fantasy is heavily influenced by horror – expect tragedy and depression rather than laughing matters. Sometimes, you will save someone, but the game will leave you wondering: "Was it enough...?" I really respect such an approach.
The action was also well conceived. Our heroes, as a result of a twist of fate, come across the effects of Lilith's actions, and they follow the demon's trail because they have to. On the one hand, they are not completely random adventurers, who just happened to be there (at least not after the prologue), they are important in this system and take an active part in the action, and on the other – it does not seem that they are the next chosen ones unlocking the potential of the Nephalems, nor some similar nonsense. I felt relieved when I experienced it.