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We now believe that Blizzard’s most recent trip to hell was 20 hours of Diablo 4 on the PlayStation 5

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We’ve spent about 20 hours with a Diablo 4 preview build on the PS5 over the past week or two, with nearly complete access to a sizable (and primarily snowy) portion of the game’s open world area. We have a good understanding of what the upcoming action RPG is about thanks to the main story missions and a variety of side tasks that it includes.

The gist of it is that Diablo 4 is more ambitious in scope than Diablo 3, while yet being more “grounded” than Diablo 3. There’s no denying that it still has that Diablo feel to it, but this is Diablo in the style of a more conventional role-playing game as you go from village to town to city, helping people with their issues and slaying various creatures in the process.

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Even if there are still hub places, the emphasis in this much anticipated sequel is clearly on exploration. In the build we played, Kyovashad served as our main port of call. Once more, Diablo 4 takes place in an open environment filled with wandering packs of monsters, randomly generated incidents, and despondent task givers. You are completely free to go and do whatever you like, while some areas require a higher player level than others to avoid being torn apart by much more powerful enemies.

From what we’ve experienced thus far, the game does a fantastic job of luring you off the usual road. Thanks to a map that’s dotted with dungeons and sites of interest, purposely luring you away from your current objective marker, it can occasionally feel like an isometric version of Skyrim. Without even mentioning the all-important loot that can be collected in treasure boxes and dropped by defeated adversaries, of course.

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Even though we were playing an incomplete and content-limited build, we couldn’t help but care about how our character developed. As the game keeps you hooked with equipment drops and a nearly continual influx of experience points, Diablo’s addictive tendencies are immediately clear. Even the skill tree’s branching structure entices you, making it necessary for you to select between various powers and then several variations of those abilities. It won’t take long for you to start considering progressively powerful character builds and to reset your skill point allocation for a little amount of gold before committing to a whole different and fascinating style of play.

Yes, there is a ton of room for experimentation here, especially since you are always free to stray into the open world and test your fighting skills in an unrestricted manner. Only the Barbarian, Rogue, and Sorcerer character classes were available to us, but each of them feels as distinctive as you’d imagine, and that only becomes more and more obvious as you go through the aforementioned skill trees.

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Level 25, though, was the upper limit in this test edition, so we could only catch a glimpse of what a super-strong protagonist may play like. However, we can agree that Diablo 4’s fighting clearly has a more tactical element. The fact that combat don’t only involve you comparing your stats to those of your adversary, at least not in the early going, is possibly the largest departure from Diablo 3. You’re still using your powers and making the most of your equipment, but since there is no automatic health regeneration, you must employ healing potions when the going gets tough.

Thus, efficiency is key in combat. The game’s new dodge system comes into play in this situation since it can make all the difference in how you position yourself before using a high-damage ability. Dodging must now be used sparingly because it has a five-second cooldown, such as when you have no choice but to avoid a boss’ special attack. The fights in Diablo 4 have a much more methodical flow as a result, and everything also seems heavier. Not to the point where responsiveness is hindered, but you’ll notice the extra crunchiness if you’re experienced with Diablo 3’s arcade-like style.

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The animations reflect this heaviness as well. Each hit packs a punch, and the visual effects may be absolutely satisfying. A prime example of this is the Barbarian’s “Upheaval” ability, which allows the fighter to rip through the ground with a two-handed weapon while tossing chunks of rock and dirt in the direction of the enemy. The entire animation, especially as the projectiles crush your enemies, is pleasingly cruel.

The fact that Diablo 4 feels fantastic to play, especially at this early level, is what matters most. There is a wonderful sense of rhythm when you are cleaving through hordes of foes once you have earned a suite of powers that you can mix and match.

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However, facing off against bosses hasn’t been as satisfying. Big monsters feature distinct attack patterns and substantial health bars in an obvious attempt to distinguish true boss battles from simple skirmishes. That’s not very novel for Diablo, but the bosses we faced in this preview build tended to focus on awkward bullet hell-style sequences. These portions were frequently difficult to read and had questionable hitboxes, which is not ideal if you only have a few health potions available.

Aside from these occasionally awkward encounters, Diablo 4 has been a blast during our brief time with it. Hopefully the boss fights are fixed prior to the release of the full game. While the transition to an open world structure seems to have given the experience a deeper respect of the scenery, its addictive treasure and character growth mechanisms still seem to be in place.

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This fourth installment of Blizzard’s enduring franchise resembles both Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 in several ways. It’s both the former’s love of fantastical terror and the latter’s attitude to brisk combat and possibly dizzying power trips. This is particularly true of the game’s primary story, about which we can’t disclose too much but which unquestionably leans toward the darkest aspects of the franchise. This is also supported by the art direction; although it is an unabashedly dismal journey, it is all the more captivating for it.

So, keep an eye out for Diablo 4 in 2023. Long-time players may not enjoy some aspects of the game right first, such as its MMO-like shared player hubs, but this feels like a logical step for the franchise, replete with assurances of long-term, live service support. As always, the proof will be in the eating, but based on everything we’ve seen and experienced in Diablo 4, we’re beyond excited.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

Gaming

The director of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is making a final plea to content creators regarding spoilers

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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is on the horizon, with our review already available. There’s just one week left until the game’s official release on February 29th, exclusively on PS5. This highly anticipated sequel to Remake, based on one of the most beloved video game stories, is best experienced without any spoilers, according to creative director Tetsuya Nomura.

On Twitter, Nomura made a final request for players and content creators to avoid spoiling the game for others, especially on social media and video-sharing platforms, where spoilers can spread rapidly. Naturally, there’s a specific moment that everyone is eagerly anticipating to see how it will compare to the 1997 original, and it’s bound to be quite chaotic on launch day. Nevertheless, Nomura still holds onto a glimmer of hope for humanity and has made a seemingly impossible request for content creators to exercise a degree of restraint.

It’s important to remember to include spoiler warnings when sharing content related to the game’s story on social media and video-sharing sites to avoid spoiling the experience for others. I would greatly appreciate it if you could avoid using scenes from important parts of the story in your video thumbnails.

https://x.com/finalfantasyvii/status/1760605439698591859?s=20

Nomura points out that the developers intentionally did not limit the recording and sharing features of the PS5 for any aspect of the game. They believe players should have the freedom to share and discuss their favorite gameplay moments. It remains to be seen if that trust was justified.

Do you think players and content creators will follow Nomura’s request and minimize spoilers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Xbox may want to become more acquainted with the Platinum Trophies on PS5 and PS4

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Obsidian’s first Xbox game, Pentiment, a historical adventure, is now available on the PS5 and PS4. From what we’ve seen, this port of a highly popular game seems to be solid, and we aim to provide you with a review soon. Meanwhile, one aspect caught our attention regarding the conversion that Microsoft may need to address in the future.

Pentiment’s list of Trophies perfectly mirrors its Xbox Achievements, featuring identical descriptions, titles, and icons. There is a slight variation between the two versions: PlayStation offers 42 trophies to unlock, whereas Xbox provides 41 achievements to earn. The distinction lies in the Platinum Trophy, which is awarded once you have collected all the other trinkets in the set.

Since it’s not included in the original game, the developer has not named the trophy, so it appears as ‘PlatinumTrophy’ in the list. This has already generated amusement among Trophy enthusiast communities. “They chose such a basic name for the Platinum Trophy and somehow still messed it up,” a fan expressed.

This issue is quite insignificant in the bigger picture and could likely be fixed with a quick update or patch. As Microsoft gains more experience with PlayStation development, we hope their command of the Trophy system will improve. After all, those platinums are difficult to earn and deserve a more memorable name.

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Gaming

Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon have been excluded from the final roster of WWE 22K24

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2K Sports unveiled the complete roster for the upcoming WWE 2K24, featuring more than 204 playable superstars, including 70 Legends who are no longer part of the main rosters, along with eight managers. However, fans were quick to point out the absence of some notable names from the list: 7-time WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and former WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Lesnar was previously excluded from the Forty Years of WrestleMania edition.

Following accusations of sex trafficking against McMahon by a former WWE employee, a report from the Wall Street Journal brought the issue to light. Although Lesnar’s name was not directly mentioned in the proceedings, insiders informed the WSJ that he was the unidentified WWE champion in question. McMahon refuted the allegations but stepped down as WWE CEO the day following the federal lawsuit.

Nonetheless, Lesnar and McMahon will still be present in the game. GameSpot has reported that the Lesnar vs. Undertaker match from WrestleMania 30 may be included in Showcase mode. It is speculated that another match already confirmed for Showcase mode (Stone Cold vs. The Rock, WrestleMania 17) will probably include an appearance from McMahon as well.

WWE 2K24 will be available for purchase on March 8th for PS5 and PS4, or March 5th for those interested in the Deluxe or WrestleMania editions.

 

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