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Action RPG games stretch through multiple genres and span multiple varieties of games. But when it comes to dungeon crawling for loot, Diablo is the undisputed king of the genre.
But while Diablo is the most celebrated dungeon-crawling action RPG, it isn’t the only competitor for the best game of the genre, with many new properties taking a shot at the Diablo formula. But what are the best action-RPG games that rival Diablo? Let’s find out.
1. Minecraft Dungeons
While one of the most recognizable properties in gaming, and at first glance as far away from Diablo as possible, Minecraft has a spin-off title based on the Diablo formula. And Minecraft Dungeons, even with its deceiving appearance, nails the genre.
Minecraft Dungeons follows a thin plot that takes you on a quest to defeat the Arch-Illager. But Minecraft Dungeon truly shines in how accessible and fun its action-RPG elements play throughout the game.
Whether you’re taking out a mini-boss inspired by the Mobs from Minecraft or a unique dungeon, Minecraft Dungeons feels like Diablo. But Minecraft Dungeon differs from its action-RPG inspirations because of how deep its gameplay and mechanics are in comparison.
While Diablo III sets the standard for accessible action-RPG dungeon crawling, Minecraft Dungeon purposefully simplifies key features in favor of accessibility.
This makes Minecraft Dungeons a perfect starting point for people unfamiliar with action RPGs but a potentially shallow experience for veterans of the genre. That aside, Minecraft Dungeons is a highly enjoyable action RPG that can be enjoyed as an alternative to Diablo regardless of skill level.
2. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
While Lovecraftian environments and cosmic science are staple elements of many action RPGs, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing provides a Diablo alternative that fully embraces the gothic elements of the genre.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing places you in the shoes of the monster hunter, Van Helsing, and pairs you with a ghostly companion, immediately establishing its gothic tone, a theme that only grows throughout the game.
While very similar to the gameplay of Diablo, The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing thrives in its character customizations and perks system, allowing you to individually assign statistic points and modify the abilities affecting your character.
While these are expected elements of action RPGs, it’s arguable that The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing is more successful than the streamlined skills and statistics system of Diablo III. After all, controlling your individual stat values is a welcome return to systems similar to those within Diablo II.
3. Pillars of Eternity
While not exactly a direct Diablo-inspired action RPG, Pillars of Eternity does represent one of the best single-player RPG experiences you can play and is highly similar in gameplay, art style, and feel to games like Diablo.
Created by Obsidian, Pillars of Eternity is a Dungeons & Dragons-style action RPG that rivals games like Diablo. But with Diablo-inspired action RPGs prioritizing loot-based dungeon crawling, Pillars of Eternity differs by focusing on branching paths, depth of character, and an intertwined narrative.
That is not to say that Pillars of Eternity isn’t an extension of Diablo-like games. Most experiences like Diablo, have a deep and fantastical story that runs secondary to gameplay. Pillars of Eternity provides gameplay akin to Diablo but places story, narrative pathways, and its world as its priorities.
So if you’re a fan of the depth of gameplay from games like Diablo, but want a narrative-fueled experience, Pillars of Eternity is the next logical step.
4. Grim Dawn
Another excellent example of an action RPG that offers a great alternative to Diablo, is Grim Dawn, a game that provides sprawling dark fantasy with a complex and engaging itemization system to rival any action RPG.
Grim Dawn, akin to some of the best rogue-like games available on Xbox Series X|S, expands key elements of action RPGs and takes itemization to the next level by incorporating hundreds of items that modify your gameplay experience.
And with an improved itemization system, Grim Dawn features countless builds for each of the classes and dual classes available, of which there are numerous variations and expansions of essential action-RPG player roles.
By fine-tuning elements of successful action RPGs like Diablo, Grim Dawn expands and improves features you expect from the genre. So if you’re looking for an action RPG to replace Diablo, Grim Dawn hones essential features of action RPGs while cementing itself within the genre.
5. Lost Ark
Unlike other alternatives to Diablo, if you’re looking for an action-RPG title that follows the trends of Diablo but adds unique elements from other genres, Lost Ark could be the MMO action RPG for you.
While nearly all of the best free-to-play MMORPG games focus on character building and class-based itemization, Lost Ark cohesively combines Massively Multiplayer Online experiences with the well-known and tried and tested formula of action RPGs.
By allowing you to play solo or with a community of online players, Lost Ark provides a solo action-RPG experience or a cohesive online experience where you and your guild can fight in Raids or engage in PvP.
By merging the recognizable formula of Diablo with free-to-play multiplayer experiences, Lost Ark is an intriguing alternative to more recognizable action-RPG games. So if you’re looking for a Diablo-like experience that embraces multiplayer, Lost Ark can suit all your action-RPG needs.
Download: Lost Ark on Steam.
6. Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem
Demons, cultists, and ravenous beats are no rare sight when it comes to action RPGs, and Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem may appear like your average Diablo copycat, but the game succeeds where some Diablo titles have failed.
When Diablo III launched, the cartoon-y change in graphics and drastically gutted itemization irked many. And while Diablo III may have had the best-feeling gameplay of any action RPG at the time, it certainly left much to be desired.
With Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem you don’t only get a more focused experience than Diablo III, with graphics that complement demonic enemies and gothic buildings, but an experience ripe with depth.
Features like a rotating Passive Skill Tree provide hundreds of hours of class customization, miles ahead of character skills and progression featured in some Diablo titles.
If you happen to be looking for an action-RPG experience that is reminiscent of Diablo, even down to art style, but fixes the fatal flaws Diablo is known for, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem could be the action RPG that solves your Diablo-shaped problems.
7. Path of Exile
Aside from Diablo, when it comes to popular action RPGs, Path of Exile has risen to the top of many people’s lists. Path of Exile is the culmination of the best elements of the action-RPG genre and a must-play when it comes to Diablo rivals, and it’s free to play.
While its story may be non-essential, the gameplay and build elements of Path of Exile are some of the best of the genre. Everything from the absurdly-vast paragon skill tree to the way gems socket into items to provide unique skills and modifiers feels like a natural evolution of action-RPG elements.
And even when you feel like you’ve had your fair share of the game, Path of Exile represents a free-to-play live service that has proved highly successful and rewarding for players, so there’s always new content around the corner.
All in all, Path of Exile represents a great action RPG that you should look to play if you’re a fan of the genre full stop, even if you’re not necessarily looking for a Diablo replacement.
Break the Action RPG Mold and Play Unsung Heroes of the Genre
Now you know some of the best alternatives to Diablo, you’re ready to break the mold with some of the best action RPGs you can play, whether it’s the multiplayer excellence of Lost Ark or the casual fun of Minecraft Dungeons.
And with your demon hunting, top-down, role-playing game desires met, you may want to further explore the entire RPG genre and get accustomed to other great RPGs, unsung and celebrated, and the experiences that come with them.