Reviews

Diablo 2: Resurrected Review

Diablo 2: Resurrected is an interesting undertake remastering classic titles. It stays very in keeping with the original discharge of the game in 2000, simply adding a brand new coat of paint, squashing some bugs, adding controller support and a few minor standard of living changes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though; Diablo 2 is a revered classic. Prior to the discharge of Diablo 3 in 2012, Diablo 2 had been regularly sold and played, with 11 million players playing Diablo 2 (& Starcraft) in 2010. But does the game still hold up 21 years later?

It is worth mentioning the ongoing lawsuits currently happening against Blizard Entertainment. Blizzard continues to be charged with providing toxic workplace environments, taking part in a “pervasive frat boy culture”, and interesting in misogynistic practices. Many long-time Blizzard employees, such as the former president of the company, J. Allen Brack, have remaining the company and faithful players are actively boycotting Blizzard titles. Diablo 2: Resurrected was co-developed by Blizzard, being the original developer and publisher of Diablo 2, and Vicarious Visions, who handled a lot of the remaster.

Visuals

Diablo 2: Resurrected’s visuals are a huge step-up in the original, as is expected with the 21-year gap. I found myself regularly switching between classic and modern visuals, in awe at how gargantuan the modification is together. What was once a blocky, smudged mess of green and red pixels has become a precise pile of bile and bloody ribs in the demon I had just slain. My character is reflected in streams of water, bolts of frost break apart when hitting enemies and burning ashes sporadically rise and twist above roaring fires.

The difference is incredible but doesn’t drift far from a dark tone of the original release. Still it successfully makes the player seem like they’re in a dark, gloomy cave surrounded by horrific demons or lost in a sweltering desert full of hidden treasures. The graphics may not be comparable to full-priced, AAA games released this year, however they definitely still look good, surpass the original’s presentation making the knowledge a lot more enjoyable to play within the modern-day.

Cinematics, on the other hand, are absolutely above industry standards. They're completely remade from scratch and are shot-by-shot recreations of Diablo 2’s original cutscenes, beautifully crafted to the point where it’s sometimes indistinguishable from the live-action blockbuster. The detail of each character presented in cutscenes is possibly the best I’ve seen from a remaster. The story isn’t just told through dialogue, however the facial expressions and mannerisms of characters, as well. Diablo 2‘s cutscenes were impressive at the time, but don’t hold a candle to Diablo 2: Resurrected’s astonishing cinematics that seems to truly tell the game’s story in the manner the developers imagined it in their heads 21 years back. It’s a prime example of what lengths technology has progressed within the last two decades and perhaps the best part of this remaster.

Gameplay

There are 7 unique classes: Paladin, Barbarian, Sorceress, Necromancer, Druid, Amazon and Assassin. Each class has three skill trees, that are able to be mix-and-matched to produce various interesting builds. Personally, i opted for the Necromancer for my main character and focused my build primarily on the ‘Summoner’ tree, but additionally selected spells that appealed to me using their company trees, such as curses that will increase the damage my skeletons would inflict along with a spell that allowed me to barrage demons with the teeth of the dragon.

There are certainly classes and trees that are much better than others, we’ve had a long time to figure everything out, after all, but each class is viable while offering fun variants the player can tailor to their personal playstyle. Gear based in the world can also mix things up and it’s always exciting to find new armour and weapons that can alter the playstyle and pace from the game. I received a zombie head after conquering a dungeon that granted me abilities I wouldn’t otherwise have had in line with the skills I'd chosen. Finding new equipment encouraged me look around the world more and boosted the already fantastic sense of progression because the game went on. Not only was my necrotic army growing when i levelled up, but my character also began to look fiercer and I was able to perform more interesting and powerful abilities as time continued.

‘Satisfying’ is really a word I'd use to describe Diablo 2: Resurrected well. Going from whacking tiny imps having a stay with barraging a diabolical Prime Evil in the depths of Hell having a barrage of spells while my army soaks up their attacks is satisfying. Equipping new armour and weapons is satisfying. Exploration is satisfying. There’s no wonder Diablo 2 has stood the test of time after all these years.

Being such a faithful remaster of a two-decade-old title, a number of Diablo 2: Resurrected‘s gameplay is, admittedly, dated, however. Movement can feel clunky, the pacing can, at times, feel slow there isn’t lots of variety with regards to the visuals of armour and weapons. There aren't any quest markers or large maps, players have to pay attention to the story and explore the planet. If the lack of updated gameplay features is really a positive or perhaps a negative thing is determined by your relationship with the original title, as well as with games in general. I quite enjoyed having to rely on what characters would tell me and going through the randomly generated maps, watching my minimap complete when i explored areas I would’ve liked walked straight past basically knew exactly where I had been going. This result in me finding treasures and fascinating areas and encouraged more exploration.

The only issue with the map being (mostly) randomly generated are the long regions of grass, sand or general terrain that have practically nothing there and serve no purpose apart from just to walk across. This, mixed with the stamina mechanic, can make some areas boring trudges from point A to B. Dying can also be extremely annoying. Your character is sent to a rest area with no of their items and you'll have to walk completely to your corpse before you retrieve your inventory. You will find Waypoints, ways of fast travel, which will make this a lesser burden, but at times I found myself slowly walking across the map to my corpse for 5-8 minutes at a time before I could continue what I was doing.

If you’re using mouse and keyboard, there's, unfortunately, no skill bar, unlike Diablo 3. Two skills are assigned to your left and right mouse click and pressing the bound button in your keyboard can change which skill happens to be selected. If you’re playing a console version or using a controller on a PC, the game does have a skill bar. This definitely makes the game more controller-friendly, however the lack of choices to enable this while using mouse and keyboard is disappointing. A skill bar would’ve made the sport more enjoyable to play, specially in the first couple of acts of the game when you’re attempting to remember which abilities will likely which key, but doesn’t detract too much in the experience when you’ve become used to it.

Inventory management is also an issue, your bag space is tiny and can’t be upgraded, other than by belts, which only hold potions. Changing this would possibly detract from the original gameplay, however, I feel an offline mode with more bag space being an option would’ve been an excellent addition. The Stash having more shared space between characters is really a welcome addition, however, and eliminates the need for alternate characters purely accustomed to stash items.

Audio

The audio stays mostly exactly the same in Diablo 2: Resurrected, other than added support for 7.1 Dolby Digital, and stands up well. The incredible soundtrack fits the atmosphere of whatever zone you’re currently traversing or battle you’re getting involved in and the sound clips fully trust what’s happening on the watch's screen. Some sound effects could be a little cheesy, such as the splatters, but it increases the charm and builds rich from the nostalgia of the original title, that is a big part of the game. The voice acting, at times, is notably poor but the main characters are carried out well, like the legendary Deckard Cain, voiced by Michael Jonathan Gough.

Accessibility and excellence of Life

Diablo 2: Resurrected comes with an impressive variety of accessibility changes. You will find choices to reduce the quantity of clicking needed, such as the ability to toggle having the ability to hover over items on the ground to view them, which both improves accessibility and reduces finger fatigue. A colorblind mode permits the player to change the visuals specifically for their type, whether it is Protanopia or Tritanopia. Audio may also be tailored to suit the player’s needs, lowering the sound of things deemed unnecessary and increasing the sound of important audio cues, as well as being in a position to let the option for subtitles or increased font size.

In terms of QoL updates, there aren’t many, but the few that are there are appreciated. Auto-pickup could be toggled off or on, which ties along with decreasing finger fatigue, considering the sheer quantity of constant clicking the initial title required. Loot could be spread further apart, so it’s simpler to click on or obtain for controller players. Multiplayer is also easier now, no dial-up internet required!. Just make a game and supply friends using the password, or invite them via Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. Controller support itself, I found a little clunky. Abilities were simpler to perform, however, you could still tell the game is built to be played on the mouse and keyboard and gameplay felt slower. With enough getting used to, it’s certainly a possible option, however, it’s not at all on par with Diablo 3’s console controls. Last, but not least, the key Cow Level can now be played infinitely. Praise be, praise be.

Technical Issues

Diablo 2: Resurrected launched having a plethora of technical issues that Blizzard are still trying to fix, much towards the outrage of Diablo fans on launch day; deleted characters, characters locked into games, players the inability to launch the game and crashes. I personally only encountered two bugs, which were the continual disconnect of my Xbox Series X controller when playing wirelessly along with a crash that caused me to have to start a dungeon again. These bugs will be fixed in time, but it’s something to consider before acquiring the game immediately. Using a character 50 hours in to the game being deleted is not fun.

The Verdict

Diablo 2: Resurrected both benefits and suffers from its faithfulness towards the original title, but overall offers an adventure full of satisfying gameplay and fun exploration. Its updated visuals, quality of life updates and overall feel makes Diablo 2: Resurrected the definitive method to play Diablo 2 and its expansion, Lords of Terror.
Courses are varied, unique and fun to experience, dungeons are a blast to understand more about and also the feeling of progression is ultimately rewarding. I would recommend Diablo 2: Resurrected to fans of the original title, classic ARPGS or from the franchise. However, the inconveniences and outdated gameplay may well be a little bit too much for contemporary gamers or people looking to enter the Diablo franchise for the first time.

Diablo 2: Resurrected can be obtained on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch.

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