Versus series: Diablo Immortal PC VS Phone

This topic completely slipped my mind for several weeks, and I really could have used it last week. But between juggling Path of Exile, two Fallout games, and playing the new Blood Knight class on Diablo Immortal, I’d completely forgotten that I’d been planning to pit the phone version with the perpetually Beta PC version.

This time around the winner is easy to declare, with lots of reasons why I prefer it. But that doesn’t mean I shun the other option. The winner, PC version, has so many benefits going for it that I place it with a comfortable lead over the phone version. But having said that, I still frequently play the phone version, quite often as a diversion for when I’m in the bathroom. (I’m old, so even peeing takes longer now.)

Plus the phone has another good thing going for it: the size of updates to download are much smaller than the PC version. Obviously, all the graphics are down-scaled for the little screen, so if I fire up the game on the can and see it needs an update, odds are good that the game’s download will be done before my download is done, metaphorically speaking.

But yeah, aside from that, there’s quite a few reasons why the PC version is superior, and right at the top are those gorgeous up-scaled graphics. The game looks great on the phone, but on a big monitor, it’s a joy to see all the detailed work that went into every town, every dungeon, and every character and enemy. I even love following other players just to take in all the details in their equipment.

But what I really love is how much easier the controls are. I can use my controller for fighting and looting, but when it comes to fiddling with menus, I can just sit up to grab my mouse, and the game is like, “Sure, whatever works for you.”

I need to stress this point because for instance, Path of Exile will only let me use the mouse and keyboard or the controller.  Oh, it leaves the mouse cursor on, implying that I should be able to use it. But no, it’s as useless as a defense attorney for Jason Voorhees. Same goes for any 3D Fallout game. I either use the keyboard to get access to console commands, or I give that up in exchange for the joy of lounging back in my super comfy gaming chair. (Which is mostly fantastic, except it’s too comfy, and I have frequently fallen asleep on it when I was supposed to be working.)

Beyond that, there’s more precision to the combat using a controller. A lot of abilities require aiming a cone in the area where you want that ability to be cast. On the phone, that means holding the on-screen button and sliding your thumb to aim. But at least for me, quite often the aim would slide off of my target when I lift my thumb from the screen. On the controller, I can still keep aiming at my target with the right stick and release the shoulder or trigger button mapped to the ability. I’m not saying I haven’t missed a few smaller targets due to last second moves of the right stick, but my miss-to-hit ratio is WAY higher on the phone version.

Before I conclude, I want to mention three places where both versions are good, and one where they both suck. First, the sound quality with headphones on both versions are exquisite. The music is lovely, the spells and weapon sound effects are punchy and crunchy in all the right ways, and almost every enemy has distinct sounds letting you know what’s coming even before they’re bum rushing you. (There are a few silent bastards lying in wait for ambushes. We’ll call them the smart ones.)

Second, the online components for both versions work quite well, with very little lag except in the busiest places like Westmarch. At any time, I can choose to find a party for a dungeon or rift or raid, and whether I’m playing with a team of four or eight, the experience is smooth as butter. Yes, I’ve seen lag on some occasions, but only for a few seconds at a time before everything goes back to normal. Whether I choose to go solo or bring some random strangers along, the connection is rock solid. Considering how many other online games that I have to close down and wait through high traffic hours to play, this is pretty close to a technological miracle.

Third, both versions always keep the current time on screen. That’s great because all the side questing and “one more thing” has a huge risk of making me forget to take out the trash or make dinner, or do my real work. So it’s nice to think, Is it okay to do this quest? look down, and confirm that no, it is not.

But, there is one thing that sucks in both versions, and that’s the near constant push toward the storefront. Every time you beat a boss or open a new area, the game pops up a little flashing beacon, and opening it reveals the annoying message “A one-time bundle is available in the shop.” Now as I mentioned in my review, I don’t have free cash, so it’s easy for me to click the little X without even looking at what’s in the bundle. But setting that aside, it’s still annoying that every ten minutes of gaming leads to another freaking pop-up ad for those bundles.

And it also bugs me, the use of “one-time.” Like, people who genuinely suffer from FOMO have to keep taking time out of playing the game to check the shop and debate whether or not they need the crap they’re being sold. But they don’t need it to enjoy the main game, and even a good bit of the end game content. No one needs it, but to make sure they catch them some whales, the developers felt it was essential to constantly shove that store in our faces like an unrequested dick pic from a geriatric politician.

Anyway, that’s the verdict and the reasons given, plus a bit of TMI. I’m not sure what the next contest will be for the versus series, so for now, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.