Thursday, October 14, 2021

Mulliga's Monstrous Halloween - Diablo II Resurrected review

Not even the pandemic can stop spooky spirits and ghastly ghouls forever! Halloween is back, and I'm celebrating with a set of monstrous posts. In this one, I'm reviewing Diablo II: Resurrected, the 3D remaster of Blizzard Entertainment's classic Diablo II.

The original Diablo II is easily my all-time most anticipated game - not my favorite game, mind you, but the one I wanted to play the most before it was released.  It was delayed again and again (typical for Blizzard in the '90s), so getting a Diablo II beta key was like finding a Wonka Golden Ticket. My friends and I even played the prerelease multiplayer "Stress Test" for an inordinate amount of time, considering that it was restricted to just one class (Barbarian) and one small area (the first half hour of Act I).

When Diablo II finally came out, I played my fair share, but after many dozens of hours, I honestly thought I shook the demon-slaying bug forever.  Little did I know that 20 years later, developer Vicarious Visions would bring it back in glorious high-resolution 3D:

Diablo II: Resurrected pulls off the neat trick of appearing like how you remembered the game appearing back in 2001, when in reality the original graphics are a pixelated mess (there's a toggle button that lets you instantly switch between the old and new, which should generate some gasps). The sheer amount of added detail really makes the game come alive for a 2021 audience, while still being respectful of the original artwork.  

Underneath the snazzy new coat of paint, the game engine is exactly the same, which is both good and bad. It's good in that developer Vicarious Visions absolutely nailed the look and feel of playing Diablo II. This is still the same addictive monster-killing experience you remember. It's bad in that the game lacks the complexity and action-oriented fun of modern ARPGs like Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, or yes, Diablo III It's also apparently using mostly the same netcode from 2001, which is causing...problems.

Rating: 80/100


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