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I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t become a Diablo fan until Diablo III as I had never played the first game or its sequel. Now that I had the chance to finally play the famous sequel and it’s expansion, Lord of Destruction that’s been remastered by Vicarious Visions as Diablo II: Resurrected, I see why this used to be the ultimate action RPG, though it’s not without its quirks both old and new.
Like most dungeon crawlers, you’ll select a hero such as the Amazon, Barbarian, Necromancer, Druid, Paladin and such and fight your way through a story-driven campaign that’s told over different acts that each feature its own map. The gist of the plot follows our heroes trying to take down the various lords of hell before they overrun the world and bring it to an end, with one of the toughest lords being the big bad himself that the game series is named after, Diablo, the lord of terror.
Thankfully as you slay monsters and gain experience to level up, you’ll also gain access to new abilities, spells, and skills to help make things easier. But don’t get too confident as you grow more powerful, as this game will put all of your skills to the test and then some. Being used to titles such as Diablo III and the Torchlight series, it took some getting used to the difficulty here as it doesn’t hold your hand at all and couldn’t care less about it.
It almost comes off as feeling like an action RPG version of the Dark Souls titles, as you’re often sent on quests by NPCs with no idea or direction as to where they are, and if you die, you’ll have to hike back to where you perished with no armor or loot and can easily be killed during this period. This combined with the “old school” feel and controls of the game and other issues can easily turn the gameplay into a frustrating experience at times.
Though once you get past these humps and get into the groove, things become a little more manageable. The main thing you’ll notice as soon as you start playing are the sweet looking remastered graphics. I loved seeing all the different lighting and shadow effects as well as reflections off the water puddles and such. For those who want to compare the differences between the original version and this new one, Vicarious Visions has you covered as you can switch the old and new looks with the press of a button.
What would Diablo II be without friends? So naturally there’s online multiplayer which is always a blast with your buddies, though there are some issues with this as well. The servers have been a bit iffy and make playing with friends difficult thanks to lag, dropouts, and sadly even having your characters deleted or losing some of your loot and skills. I also find it strange that you have to make separate characters for both online and offline play instead of how in Diablo III where you can choose to have your game accessible online or not on any character you play. Here’s hoping some patches in the near future will iron these issues out.
There’s problems to be sure, but if you can push through and manage to get past them, you’ll see why the Diablo series is so beloved in Diablo II: Resurrected. Fans of the original will love the hellish action and old school gameplay as we all wait for what darkness looms behind Diablo IV which hopefully will continue the game’s legacy.