Ever since the first Diablo launched on 3rd January 1997, we’ve been obsessed with venturing into hell, maiming its denizens, and making our way out with our packs full of loot.
Games have come a long way since 1997, and the Diablo series with it. Three sequels have been released, each changing up the formula while expanding the series’ world. Numerous of them have received expansions, too, and nearly all have received meaningful post-launch updates. There’s even a Diablo game available on mobile now. But what is the best Diablo game? And which is the worst? To find out, we’ve put together a list of all the Diablo games, as well as expansions, and ranked them from worst to best.
It’s not an easy task, because the truth is that all Diablo games are great. But some are, or have been, better than others. So, read on to find out which Diablo game we think is the lord of hell, and which one is just a lowly demon.
7. Diablo 3
Arriving more than 10 years after the launch of Diablo 2, it’s safe to say we were excited for the launch of Diablo 3. Unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to our expectations.
Amongst other issues, the visuals had lost their gloominess, character development had been dumbed down and the loot system was disappointing to say the least. And at launch, just playing the game was problematic due to server issues.
It was the introduction of a real-money auction house that really ruined Diablo 3 though. Combined with the game’s loot system, it felt necessary to use it to plough through the game’s harder difficulties. It was just so hard to otherwise get the items you needed to overcome the challenge. It’s for all these reasons that we’ve ranked this the worst Diablo game.
Still, Diablo fans like us poured hours into Diablo 3 despite its issues. And eventually it would turn into a much better game.
The game that started it all. Installing it on our PCs all those years ago, we could have never anticipated the effect it would have on us.
There had been action RPGs before Diablo, but none had been darker or more engrossing. Choosing our character before delving under the town of Tristram, we were wowed and disgusted by the grim visuals. And a brilliantly atmospheric soundtrack further cranked up the tension. But it was the loot of Diablo that kept us going back for more.
To reach the deepest depths of hell and put and end to the titular Diablo, it was necessary to have the best gear. And then meant killing all enemies that stood in path, completing quests and looting any chests we encountered along the way.
You can still play Diablo thanks to GOG.com, but it is rather dated now. It comes with Hellfire, its third party expansion, too.
5. Diablo 2
We consider Diablo 2 to be one of the best games of all time. It really is that good.
Arriving just a few years after the original Diablo, Diablo 2 featured vastly improved visuals and game mechanics. It also had a totally reworked loot system and deeper character development than ever before. Add on the fact that it replaces the original game’s claustrophobic dungeons with a much more varied range of locations while still being atmospheric, and you’re onto a winner.
You could quite literally spend hundreds of hours playing Diablo 2 and still find things to do. It had a fantastic range of character classes, including the Barbarian, Paladin and Amazon, and they could be dramatically different depending on the skills you invested your points into. And with numerous difficulty levels to conquer, there was always a challenge.
We had no real complaints with Diablo 2, but just a year later, with the launch of its expansion, Lord of Destruction, we could never imagine playing the standard version of it again.
4. Diablo Immortal
Thanks to Diablo Immortal, you can now slay demons and collect loot wherever you are.
The announcement of Diablo Immortal was controversial. Fans were expecting the announcement of a brand new, mainline entry in the series. And rumours had also been flying around about a Diablo 2 remake or remaster. Instead, they got a mobile game that didn’t look all that great.
Needless to say, there was a backlash. It was unnecessary though, because eventually both Diablo 4 and Diablo 2: Resurrected were also announced. And when Diablo Immortal launched in 2022, it actually turned out to be rather good.
Set between the events of Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, Diablo Immortal has everything that makes the Diablo series great. You explore, slay demons, level up, and collect loot that allows you to grow in power, but now you can do it anywhere. The only real compromise is that not everything you can equip changes your appearance.
Playable on PC and mobile devices, only Diablo Immortal’s focus on microtransactions brings it down. Still, it’s very much worth playing if you’re a series fan.
3. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
By the time the Reaper of Souls expansion arrived for Diablo 3, it had already been improved in numerous ways.
The real money auction house had been removed, for one. Additional difficulty levels had been added too, and Paragon Levels had been introduced, enhancing character development options. But Reaper of Souls added yet more content and features that totally turned Diablo 3 around.
A new act was added, taking players to Westmarch, which was much darker than other areas of the game. There was also a new Adventure Mode, giving players another way to dive into the action. Other new features included a new character class in the form of the Crusader, Kunai’s Cube, the mystic artisan, and additional endgame content such as Nephalim Rifts.
More game-enhancing updates have been delivered since, too. Yet more new areas have been added, and seasons offer unique gameplay mechanics and tweaks to keep things interesting. All in all, the Reaper of Souls expansion was the rebirth of Diablo 3, and even now, some eight years later, it remains one of the best action RPGs currently available.
2. Diablo 4
Diablo 4 was very close to hitting the number one spot on our list of Diablo games, ranked. And it still might in the future.
This latest entry in the series boasts the most impressive visuals, a more engaging story, and absolutely loads of content. There’s just so much to see and do. A number of issues have reared their heads since launch that bring the experience down just a bit, though.
Things such as problematic class balancing and a lack of stash space have plagued the game since day one. And tweaks to things such as experience gain post-launch have made it a bit more of a slog. The content provided in the game’s first season has also proven to be a bit disappointing.
With more updates, seasons and at least one expansion to come, chances are this will claim the top spot at some point, though. It’s early days for Diablo 4, after all, and this is one hell of a base to build from. We’ve already spent hundreds of hours in this game’s open world, and we’re looking forward to spending hundreds more in it.
1. Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction/Resurrected
How you you improve on perfection? Add in more content and features, of course! Of all the Diablo games ranked, Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction certainly deserves the number one spot.
Diablo 2 was already brilliant, but with the arrival of the Lord of Destruction expansion, it got a whole it better. Two new character classes were introduced – the druid and the assassin – as well as a whole new act. On top of that, runes were added as well as jewels, allowing players to further customise their equipment.
This was on top of other new content and features such as additional Horadric Cube recipes, an improved stash, the introduction of charms, and the option to play at a higher resolution. It all added up to make Diablo 2 even more addictive and enjoyable to play.
Diablo 2, along with its Lord of Destruction expansion, are so fondly remembered that they were remastered in 2021. Diablo 2: Resurrected keeps the core gameplay and features of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction intact while dramatically improving its visuals. And work is now being done to improve the gameplay. It says a lot about this classic, which is undoubtedly the best Diablo game released so far.