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Vampire Survivors has ruined every ARPG for me, including Diablo 4

Let me do less!

Diablo 4's Lilith, Mother of Sanctuary, looks on in anger.
Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Having fallen in love with Vampire Survivors, a game you can play with one hand in a packet of jelly snakes, I can't help but think it's ruined Diablo 4 for me. I want nothing more than to play it with an auto-attack feature popped on, where all of the blood novas and axe spins are handled for me by a satisfying toggle in a menu. In a game about as engaging as mowing the lawn, I feel like it makes sense to embrace the tedium and let me play as if I'm barely present.

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I'm no Diablo aficionado, having played Diablo 3's campaign through to completion and several hours of Diablo 4. To put it simply, both see you play as a blender that walks into enemies and spits out blobs of mince, where the aim is to optimise your grinder so no matter how enormous the challenge, you're still able to plop out the same neat packages of tenderised meat.

What's annoying about Diablo 4 is that it expects you to press buttons to conjure lightning or cleave skeletons with your scythe, when almost all of these baddies are about as menacing as a swarm of flies on a motorway. Endlessly, you press the same buttons, 1234, 1423, 1231, and the result remains the same. Maybe once you've beaten the campaign or popped the game into Nightmare difficulty mode, the challenge grows and then you have to start thinking about the order in which you press these buttons. I want less thought, no matter the difficulty.

There's a special kind of satisfaction to be had in the Vampire Survivors/Brotato auto-attackers, where you get to react to the powerups you plug into your machine and see how their interactions zap the baddies unfortunate enough to get in their way. What I want is less control in Diablo, so it can feed even further into the power fantasy of compiling a set of abilities into an all-powerful automaton. Right now, I have to think about my skills and their extra boxes with little percentage boosts and my fingers as they press the keys.

I know balancing your cooldowns and knowing when to use your abilities is a key part of what makes Diablo Diablo. I just think I've been ruined by the quick wins of auto-attackers, which let me become a vehicle of destruction in double quick time and without the monotonous commitment to pushing buttons. They've made me realise that when I'm met with swarms of flies on a motorway, I like to be in cruise control.

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