Review aggregation sites are hardly the arbiter of a game’s quality, particularly when it comes to user reviews, and particularly in the era of review-bombing. Still, some data points are unignorable: As noted by VGC, Blizzard’s recent Diablo Immortal now holds claim to the lowest user score on Metacritic.
First released this month for PC and mobile devices, Diablo Immortal is a free-to-play iteration on Blizzard’s genre-defining series of fantasy loot games. Though I haven’t played, my colleagues say it’s actually pretty good, if you’re able to ignore all of the bullshit that tends to come with the earning model. The core gameplay loop is a blast, they say, and the production values are through the roof.
It seems that many players, however, are unable to look past that stuff. As of this writing, Diablo Immortal’s PC version is the 4,887th highest rated game, per user reviews, on Metacritic—putting it squarely at the bottom of the list. It’s directly behind Warcraft III: Reforged (0.6) and the infamously maligned Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition (0.6). Of the roughly 2,500 user reviews for Diablo Immortal on PC, around 2,475 are negative. (The iOS version sports a 0.5 rating. Metacritic does not appear to list any user reviews for the Android version.)
Screenshot: Metacritic / Kotaku
Most of the criticism is leveraged directly at Immortal’s microtransactions. “The microtransactions are so bad and make the game so trash I actually created an account to give it a zero,” one person wrote. “This game is just masked gambling machine for kids,” wrote another. Another likened it to “psychological warfare.”
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User reviews are often a scourge, with many games weathering unfair campaigns over bad-faith “issues,” but plenty of reports indicate Diablo Immortal’s microtransactions are indeed exploitative, even in comparison to other games guilty of similarly underhanded practices. One streamer spent $6,000 on microtransactions, ultimately failing to turn up any high-tiered gear. There’s also the well-publicized claim that it takes more than $100,000 to fully level up a character in the game (though that math seems…dubious). The game’s internal purchases are in part why it’s not available in countries with strict anti-loot-box laws, like Belgium and the Netherlands.
The point seems clear: Diablo fans want microtransactions far, far away from their Diablo. Good thing Blizzard recently clarified that next year’s Diablo IV will be a premium-priced game, therefore absent all the (extremely penny-pinching) bells and whistles that punted Diablo Immortal to the very bottom of Metacritic’s list.