Diablo Immortal: Boom, Boom, Splash | Diablo Is Back, Now On Mobile

After selling more than 24 million copies, this video game returns for free.

Diablo is one of the best-known sagas in the world of video games, an action role-playing game with an isometric view that came to the PC in 1997 and has since had three installments, several expansions and the occasional reissue.

Now, 25 years later and with more than 24 million copies sold between all its titles, Blizzard has decided to give it another new life. This time, moreover, it has been done in the form of a free game that is compatible with mobile platforms.

From today Diablo Immortal can be downloaded on both Android and iOS. There is also a beta version for Windows and the game will be officially coming to PCs shortly. He is a Devil in his own right. All the classic elements that have made this saga a success are here, from the gothic and dark aesthetics of its dungeons to the different classes of the players or that satisfaction that comes from defeating an enemy and discovering that his body leaves behind a valuable treasure.

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The story takes place chronologically between Diablo II and Diablo III and allows you to review some of the best known scenarios of these games. He drinks more than the third installment, yes, and the character classes that can be chosen are almost the same: barbarian, monk, magician, demon hunter, crusader and necromancer. The mechanics are also the same but the controls have obviously been adapted to touch screens.

But, although it maintains the essence of its predecessors, Diablo Immortal has acquired some of the worst vices of mobile games along the way. Yes, it's free in theory, but it comes packed with micropayments to speed up character progress. Part of the appeal of Diablo games is rampaging through the different dungeons and stages to find better gear. It's an art that the developers have honed to such an extent in Diablo II and III that both games still have a lot of active players despite having many years behind them.

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In Diablo Immortal, getting good gear requires very, very luck or paying to improve your chances of getting advanced gear in rifts, a type of special dungeon. At a certain level, paying almost seems like the only way to get a better weapon or armor. The system becomes so brazen and insidious that the game has been unable to be distributed in the Netherlands and Belgium, two countries that have more restrictive legislation around controversial loot boxes.

Diablo Immortal can be played perfectly without spending a penny, of course, but you have to be prepared not to fully develop your character and ignore the different warnings on the screen. They are notices that take anyone out of an atmosphere that, otherwise, is perfectly brought to the screen of mobile and tablet. And it makes me very angry because this would have been an excellent game to buy for a reasonable amount of money in exchange for not having to put up with constant windows telling you that for only 0.99 euros you can get all these virtual objects that would normally cost eight times more. The game can be downloaded for free from the iOS and Android app store and in beta version for Windows on the Blizzard website.

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Fans were excited for the new "Diablo". Then the manufacturer said the game should only come for mobile phones – a shitstorm followed. Now there is the game. What can it do? Imagine Apple inviting you to the next iPhone presentation - and the new phone looks like a Nokia 3310: small, knobbly, without a touchscreen.

That's pretty much how it was when Activision Blizzard introduced its new game in the Diablo series in 2018, one of the most well-known game series in the gaming scene. At that time, the game manufacturer hadn't announced anything new about Diablo for a while, the last game, Diablo III, was from 2012. After six long years of waiting, the time had come at the company's Blizzcon trade fair. Game designer Wyatt Cheng took to the stage and goaded the crowd: "Blizzcon! We! Love! Diablo !" Big applause.

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The euphoria didn't last long. Weng spoke about the increasingly connected world, the importance of mobile devices. And announced that Blizzard had therefore developed the new Diablo for these devices, i.e. for smartphones and tablets. Great news - at least that's what Blizzard thought. First the applause weakened, then it stopped, in the following question panel the mood changed completely: A man asked whether a PC version was also planned? No, there are no plans for that. Boos from the audience, the developers grimaced and shouted irritably, "Don't you guys have phones?"

The Blizzard employees seemed surprised at the fans' rejection, their dramaturgically placed applause breaks in the keynote were filled with seconds of uncomfortable silence. A PR disaster that even pushed the share value of the parent company Activision Blizzard down. Three and a half years later, Diablo Immortal is out now. The gaming scene - not exactly known for being quick to forgive - agreed even before it was released that this couldn't be a good game. But is that true?

Don't you guys have phones?

Diablo is a game that has always been closely associated with the PC. Blizzard released the console version of Diablo III - still the most recent main part of the series in 2022 - more than a year after the release of the PC version. This is because the mechanics of the game work particularly well with a mouse and keyboard: 

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Players choose a character such as a sorceress, barbarian or necromancer, control them from a bird's eye view through a dark fantasy world and click their way through hordes of monsters and lots of loot who drop these. It's always about the fight between heaven and hell, in which the protagonist has to beat up the hellspawn and the eponymous devil himself.

This looks particularly good on the PC. Despite all the innovations, mobile devices do not have nearly the capabilities of a real computer, and the computing power of a smartphone does not enable the same graphics as a high-end PC. Because Blizzard also emphasized that they wanted to reach as many people as possible with Diablo Immortal, many gamers feared a graphically and playfully undercooked Diablo – nothing for its hardcore fan base. Deciding against the PC and in favor of mobile devices was a clear break with the series tradition for them.

So after 2018, Blizzard initially had to focus on damage control, it also announced a new, non-mobile main part of the series, Diablo IV, in the meantime . It will be a while before that appears, however, until then the fans only have Diablo Immortal. That doesn't have to be bad.

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