Written by Otaku Apologist

The launch of Diablo 2 Resurrected was perhaps the worst game launch Blizzard Entertainment has done in living memory, and that’s saying something after the brand-raping launch of Diablo 3, with its forced online shenanigans and Jay Wilson’s “modern” game design. But despite the wailing hype around this botched franchise, I remain a die-hard Diablo fan. Before purchasing the game, I read online about people complaining about various problems with it. Even knowing the problems I was in for, I bought it at full price soon as it was out.

And it was a shit fest. My God, it was a shit fest. Let’s talk about the fuck that’s going on.

Diablo 2 was a groundbreaking piece of software when it first came out in the year 2000. It’s an action RPG with a dark gothic atmosphere and storyline, with a Dungeons and Dragons feel with the character building, taken to the next level with imaginative item design. There’s a small selection of classes that each play uniquely, a classic skill-tree system with three trees for each class. It’s a fun and smooth game, and I was excited to play this supposedly enhanced re-release.

The story is fairly simple. The hero that killed Diablo in the first game is now a tormented villain. He travels the world seeking out and releasing his imprisoned demonic brothers, to take over the world together. In essence, there is only enough story to provide context to the brainless hack and slash action.

The experience was something else, to put it mildly, starting from the ludicrous download process. 30 giga-fucking-bytes of data, how the hell they did they even did that, I thought to myself in utter disbelief. Then came the laggy trailer that visibly stuttered, the choppy musical score, the login issues that lasted for weeks, it was like jumping over pot holes in the road, tumbling to kiss concrete.

It took me weeks before the game was playable at all, in offline mode. To this day, I have not been able to get past the authentication process to play online with my friends.

The game has been patched frequently, and the numerous issues I faced have been lessening with each patch, thank God. After the initial struggles, I was able to play satisfying sessions without regular crashes. On my worst night, I sent literally ten crash reports.

The game is the same it was years ago when I first played it, they changed practically nothing for this re-release. It’s a very satisfying action RPG with a unique aesthetic. The visuals have received a massive face-lift, and they are beautiful. They kept the original look and feel of the game and translated it into 3D, with fluid animations.

The audio and voice acting are unchanged. They were great back in the day, they are great today.

The first character I rolled was a summoner necromancer, my favorite. It played as I remembered, with the same strengths and weaknesses. At the time of writing, I am stuck in Act 2 of Hell, unable to progress through the maggot cavern due to the layout of the cavern creating impassable chokepoints for my skeleton army. When I can muster the patience, I will plow through this frustrating part, as I did years ago.

I also started a barbarian, to take advantage of the loot I had accumulated in the much improved storage system. In this iteration of the game, you do not need mules, you can transfer items between your characters by yourself. My barbarian was decked out from the get-go with three pieces of the Cleglaw set, making for a smooth leveling experience. And as my barbarian leveled up, I could give him amazing upgrades by just grabbing them from the storage.

There is so much storage space, multiple tabs, you got more than plenty to store all your hot loot, and you can simply place the items in one of multiple universal tabs that are accessible to all your characters. It’s the only real improvement the game ever needed in my opinion.

While Diablo 2 is almost two decades old, this re-release rarely feels like an old game. The design choices are sensible, well thought-out, creating a cohesive and meaningful framework for play. I especially enjoy that there are no disruptions to the gameplay in the form of cinematics or scripted events, it’s all so seamless! The only time you get a cutscene is at the end of an act the first time you beat it with a character. The cinematics lagged and crashed the game multiple times, but thankfully I was able to press ESC sometimes to end them before a crash.

The gameplay is very self-explanatory. You can play through the first act with just a mouse basically. You can pick up this classic without any experience in gaming. Everything about the interface and the gameplay is intuitive, and the action starts out quick. There are no lengthy tutorials, no hand-holding, no force-fed dialog before you’re allowed to venture out of the camp where monsters and treasures await.

It’s such a breath of fresh air to once again play a game that just lets you play without a forced tutorial. You just pick a class, name it, start playing, assuming you can play at all!

If only the game didn’t take ages to load up, it’d be the perfect pickup-and-play experience. At the time of writing, booting up the software is more like a commitment you make, to stay through the ups and downs for a greater cause of social significance. Granted, my laptop is five years old, so perhaps that affected things… but still, one would’ve expected that downscaling the graphics settings, which I did, would solve this problem. I guess the technology just isn’t there yet.

CONCLUDING WORDS

Diablo 2: Resurrected is an amazing game which had a terrible launch, but the steadily popping patches are fixing its problems. The option of offline-play was a great idea, that makes the issues with online play less prevalent than was the case with Diablo 3. However, as I logged in just this morning to grab a few more screenshots for this review, the game threw me a message that I need to log in online mode, to click some EULA that never appears. I was not able to play even in offline mode. I’m out of words.

You can purchase this game in Blizzard’s Battle.net client, but may want to wait for more patches to fix the clusterfuck.

Overall
3.7
  • Graphics
  • Gameplay
  • Story
  • Music
  • SFX