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Diablo IV Makes Couch Co-op Even Better Than Ever

Diablo 4 character stats

Come June, Diablo IV is going to be a major problem for us.

Between us, myself and fellow GameSpew editor Rich have sank hundreds of hours into Diablo. Thousands, most likely, if you count all the time he sank into the original Diablo and Diablo II long before we met. Diablo III launched not long after we started dating, and so much of our early life as a couple was spent spinning around Sanctuary as a pair of whirlwind-focused Barbarians. Indeed, over the last decade we’ve revisited it numerous times across numerous platforms, casting spells as Wizards, commanding an animal army as a Witch Doctor and generally flattening anything that crossed our path as a Crusader.

Of course, a fair bit of time was lost to Diablo II Resurrected, but that’s not going to be a patch on how much time we’re going to sink into Diablo IV when it launches on 6th June. Based on our time with the closed beta this weekend, GameSpew is going to be a temporary Diablo IV fan site for a while this summer, and we apologise in advance. Because this might just be the best Diablo has ever been – especially if you like to play in couch co-op.

We’ll gush about the game in detail in a separate article, but it’s impossible not to briefly mention just how fantastic Diablo IV looks. Blizzard has returned the game to its dark, dark roots, and its newly open world has terror and despair waiting for you around every corner. The openness of the map takes some getting used to but it eventually makes playing feel much more fluid: you’ll come across side quests or small dungeons to explore, which may take you off in a completely different direction, before returning to the main quest at hand. It doesn’t matter. As long as there are enemies to be killed and loot to find along the way, we’ll gladly trek in any direction.

Diablo IV couch co-op

We’d hoped that Blizzard would take the best things of Diablo II and Diablo III and merge them and, based on our first exploits with Diablo IV, that’s exactly what it feels like. As someone who has logged most time with IIIDiablo IV feels welcoming and familiar. But a new character skill tree and more variation between character classes (not to mention new customisation options) gives us the impression there’ll be more scope than ever for building unique and powerful characters.

Related: Diablo Games and Expansions Ranked From Worst to Best

We had a couple of network hiccups playing Diablo IV in local co-op, as you still have to be online to play. But that’s to be expected in an early beta experience. They were far and few between, though, and the experience still remained smoother than any Diablo wannabe game we’ve played in recent years. Exploring this world together, much more detailed than any other Diablo world that came before it, feels truly joyous: we’ve only scraped the surface of the campaign, getting up to level 20 with our characters – a Sorceress and a Rogue – but we’ve already signed away our summer to this new and improved world of Sanctuary.

As always, you’ll explore the world together, on a shared screen if you’re playing in local co-op. You’ll want to work together, taking out the same enemies and offering each other back-up where possible – it’s rarely necessary when taking out regular grunts, but Diablo IV‘s bosses put up a surprisingly tough fight, and so you might benefit from a bit of team strategy, particularly if you’re playing with classes that complement each other. For us, a mixture of ranged and melee attacks worked well: the Sorceress was able to deal damage from afar, and the Rogue could opt for ranged or toe-to-toe combat based on the situation.

So far so good, then, but the one thing that truly made us whoop for joy while playing Diablo IV in co-op was jumping into the inventory screen. Many an hour has been lost in Diablo III, watching the other person play around with their gear and stats. No longer is that a problem: the character screen has been tweaked to fit neatly and perfectly on one half of the screen. You can both sort out your inventory and skills at the same time. Or one player can continue wandering around while the other does their Diablo admin. Be careful, though: since you’re unable to stray too far from each other, the player fiddling in their inventory will continually warp to the other player’s location, which could potentially put them in danger.

Diablo IV couch co-op

It’s such a small change, but one that makes Diablo IV in couch co-op more appealing than ever. Taking it in turns to sell or salvage items is a thing of the past, too, as merchant menus have also been condensed to fit perfectly on one half of the screen. It streamlines the experience, and you can forget about twiddling your thumbs while your partner faffs  around. A huge win if, like us, one player is way more into stats and optimisation than the other.

You’ll have a chance to take Diablo IV for a spin yourself later this week, with its open beta running from 24-26 March. And whether you’re going solo or co-op, it’s well worth jumping into. Our time with the game so far has exceeded our expectations and left us absolutely hungry for more. June cannot come fast enough.

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Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.