Guys, don’t you have cell phones? No problem! Because shortly before the release of Diablo Immortal, Blizzard seems to have remembered the roots of the series and its strong PC fan base and surprisingly announced an open beta for the PC. For our test, I played Diablo Immortal back-to-back on both the tablet and the computer to compare the gameplay of both variants.
In our test, switching between the PC and mobile versions went smoothly. You can always pick up your character again from where you last stopped. However, the PC version still crashes from the main menu from time to time. A restart usually helps here.
Colleague Nils tells you more about the technology and performance of Diablo Immortal below. But first, we’ll look at how the offshoot of the action role-playing game series, initially developed for mobile phones, actually plays with a mouse and keyboard.
For the first time in a Diablo game, I can control my character not only with the mouse but also with WASD. By default, our abilities and spells are on keys 1 through 4, healing on Q, and special attack on R. Overall, this plays quite well, and I think it’s a much better solution than the virtual joystick on the tablet or smartphone.
But as so often, the Diablo is in the details. Because after just a few minutes, it is noticeable that the PC control feels very unintuitive in places. For example, when aiming. I can’t rotate my necromancer with the mouse, and I also have to WASD it to launch my spells in the desired direction. Or I can first click on an enemy and fire a standard attack to target them.
My necromancer oscillates between running and fighting in practice because the two inputs are constantly in each other’s way. This becomes problematic when I try to run in one direction and shoot in the other. My feeling tells me that this should work since I can play with both mouse and keyboard.
By the way:
The key assignments can also be changed if you want to change your skills. Theoretically, this also enables the well-known “walk when you click.” But no matter how you assign the keys: You can tell Diablo Immortal that it is designed for direct character control.
According to Blizzard, Diablo Immortal’s interface and menus have been adjusted for the PC version. I don’t notice it when playing, though. All on-screen items such as the quest log, chat, or skill icons appear excessively large on the desktop. This is necessary on the small cell phone screen, but it’s annoying on my large monitor.
In addition, the image section is also zoomed in relatively far. It feels like looking through a small hole into a kaleidoscope that has too many individual parts in a small space. Fortunately, the quest log can be collapsed, and the chat can also be turned off in the settings. If it doesn’t go away immediately, restarting the game will help.
However, what cannot be changed is the position of the elements in the UI – and that would currently be my biggest wish for the PC version. The skills in the bottom right corner make sense on a mobile phone or tablet. Finally, I operate it there with my right hand. On the PC, on the other hand, I can’t activate them with a mouse click, only with the assigned keys.
Even during the most active REM sleep phase, my eyes don’t usually move that much.
However, I have to keep an eye on three different points: what is happening in the middle of the screen, the skills in the lower right corner, and my keyboard so that I don’t click wrong. If I want to keep an eye on my life indicator, my gaze has to wander to the upper left corner.
A classic display of lives, abilities, and bells and whistles at the bottom of the screen would be a lot nicer.
The menu: The equipment menu also gets used for PC gamers. On the one hand, items cannot simply be created using drag & drop. Second, I don’t immediately get details about my items when I hover over them with the mouse.
For example, if I want to put on fancy boots or know what stats they have, I first have to click on the item and then click on an additional button. Not an impossible task, but much more cumbersome than it should be on the PC. After all, Diablo Immortal uses a green arrow directly in the inventory to show which items have better stats than my current equipment.
Another relic of cell phone origins takes some getting used to: You can’t just exit all menus with the ESC key but sometimes have to click on a small cross on the edge of the screen. Seen in isolation, these may all be small things, but in their entirety, they make me feel again and again that I’m not dealing with a PC game but with the implementation of a mobile game.
Diablo Immortal in the technology check
The technology of the PC version of Diablo Immortal has left a solid impression on us so far. The game runs smoothly and smoothly even with older hardware such as the officially recommended Radeon RX 470 and a Core i5 in full detail and Full HD with almost 200 FPS. But there can also be problems.
On various test systems with a GTX 1050 Ti, which is only marginally slower than the Radeon RX 570, there were constantly annoying stutters despite FPS in the low three-digit range. Aspects such as the already mentioned sporadic crashes of the game client, no option to change the resolution in the game menu, and the lack of real 4K support make things even more difficult.
You can already tell: Diablo Immortal was primarily developed for mobile devices, and you can feel that on the PC at every corner. The controls and technology aren’t shabby, nor do they make the action RPG unplayable. Still, both have room for improvement – especially for those expecting a similar gaming experience to the classic PC predecessors. Yes, Blizzard emphasizes that the PC implementation is still a beta version. But there is still a lot to do before it feels like a full-fledged PC game.