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Diablo Immortal rocks on the powerful Galaxy S22 Ultra

Diablo Immortal is the latest in a venerable and much-loved franchise from Blizzard Entertainment, and the first to be made for mobile platforms. It delivers fast-paced hack-and-slash action with several highly varied classes of customizable characters to play as, and an interesting storyline set in a dark fantasy universe.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra represents the most powerful mobile smartphone gaming hardware currently available, so how does it handle the latest, and arguably currently greatest, big-name game? We found out.

Performance

The first thing to note about Diablo Immortal is that it’s a big download and takes up a lot of space. Once you’ve installed all the updates, the game will gobble up around 10GB of your phone’s storage. That won’t be a problem if you have the 512GB or 1TB versions of the S22 Ultra, as well as a fast internet connection, but if you opted for the base 128GB model, that 10GB is going to sting. Also, if you have a slow DSL connection as I do, be prepared to wait half the day for the game to be fully installed. It is possible to play with only 2.4GB downloaded, but that’s a much more limited experience.

Diablo Immortal gameplay on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

I tested Diablo Immortal on the 512GB version of the S22 Ultra, which means I have a whopping 12GB of RAM to work with. If you have the 128GB model of the S22 Ultra, you’ll have only 8GB of RAM, so the higher storage capacity versions of the phone offer a real advantage for gaming beyond just the capacity to store games. However, while I was unable to test the 128GB model, it should deliver a very similar experience to the 512GB model, as Diablo Immortal only requires a minimum of 2GB of RAM.

The S22 Ultra comes equipped with an Exynos 2200 processor and Xclipse 920 if you live in Europe, or a Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and Adreno 730 GPU in the rest of the world. The screen is a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel that supports 120Hz, HDR10+, and 1750 nits at peak brightness. All this is a recipe for a great mobile gaming experience, and I found that these impressive specs translated to real-world gaming performance in Diablo Immortal.

While playing at maximum settings, the battery level dropped at a rate of approximately 22.5% per hour. That gives a total of roughly a little over four hours of gameplay out of a 100% charge. Playing at reduced brightness and implementing battery saver options can greatly increase battery life. While playing for an hour or two at a time with maximum settings and screen brightness, the phone certainly gets warm, but not dangerously or unpleasantly so, even in a protective case.

Optimization

The game is limited to 60fps, so it can’t take full advantage of the S22 Ultra’s 120Hz refresh rate, but the 60fps maximum refresh rate of the game still looks great. Also, the game can’t be set to maximum resolution on the S22 Ultra. However, all other graphical settings can be comfortably maximized without any fear of framerate drops. Also, the touchscreen is very responsive and there are no delay or control issues.

For the best gameplay experience, I recommend setting the phone’s brightness to max, and turning off battery saver. I’d also suggest using Samsung’s Game Booster app to launch the game in priority mode, which blocks notifications and closes other apps so that more processing power and network bandwidth are dedicated to running the game. In addition, you might want to go to the Game Booster Labs settings menu and turn on Alternate Game Performance Management, which can improve game performance. Samsung warns that this may cause overheating, but I didn’t notice a difference in temperature with it turned on.

I also tried playing with the built-in S-Pen, which the S22 Ultra is equipped with. Unfortunately, the directional pad that is used to move your character is inoperable while using the S-Pen, so it’s no good during combat. However, it’s perfect for navigating menus, changing your character’s skills and equipment, and chatting with other players.

Diablo Immortal gameplay with stylus on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

Conclusion:

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra might be the best way to experience Diablo Immortal on a smartphone. The phone has more than enough power to handle the game at maximum settings, and doesn’t suffer from extreme overheating or egregious battery consumption. It’s a bit disappointing that the game can’t be boosted to 120fps, but this is a limitation of the game rather than the phone. Being able to use the S-Pen to control certain fiddly aspects of the game is a major advantage.

As something of a skeptic of mobile gaming in general, I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed playing Diablo Immortal on the S22 Ultra. The game is hardly without its faults, largely centered around its irritating free-to-play economy, but it’s engaging and fun to play nonetheless.

If you’ve got a Galaxy S22 Ultra, grab the game from Google Play and give it a try, but don’t forget the game is cross-platform, so you can play and enjoy it on other devices, too.

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Andy Zahn
Andy Zahn is a freelance writer and photographer living on a small farm in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens. He currently writes…
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