The year is 2000-ish. I’m probably nine or ten years old, and visiting a friend’s house just a few blocks away. His dad is glued to a PC screen like it was a matter of life and death, furiously clicking away. I get closer to see a swarm of demons and skeletons overwhelm his character, followed by a line of read text that read: YOU HAVE DIED.
That game, I’d find out after running upstairs to ask my friend what I’d just witnessed, was Diablo II, and I was absolutely terrified to go anywhere near it. Plus, I still had dial-up (and it stayed that way until like 2005, which at that point World of Warcraft had its hooks completely in me), so the action-RPG classic completely passed me by the first time around.
Fast forward about two decades, and Diablo II: Resurrected is on the horizon.
Resurrected is Blizzard’s latest foray into reviving one of their timeless classics from the studio’s heyday. The prior attempt, Warcraft III: Reforged, released to widespread critical disaster from fans and reviewers alike, but Diablo II’s resurrection already seems like its off to a significantly better start.
Old Rituals, New Visuals
Diablo II: Resurrected, right out of the gate, seems like one of the more faithful remasters that I’ve played in a very long time from a technical perspective. The gameplay is definitely “retro” in all senses of the word, to the point where I actually didn’t really “get it” during my first hour or two of playtime. It wasn’t until I realized that controller support was added that I really grasped what made Diablo so addicting, and I found myself consumed for the next two days.
For those who just want to play Diablo II again with a fresh (and I do mean fresh) coat of paint, this is exactly what Blizzard is giving you. The remastered cinematics, menus, and in-game visuals alike are all absolutely gorgeous, and it seems like Blizzard has taken the job of
reviving resurrecting what’s widely held as one of the greatest roleplaying games ever very seriously.
One of the biggest new additions to Diablo II is the cross-progression between all platforms. Players will be able to access their characters and keep their progress wherever they play the game, with loot, skills, quest progress, and everything else in tow. All they need to do is link their Battle.net account, and you’re good to go. As a Nintendo Switch owner, this is especially enticing.
Through Hell and Back
I made it through the majority of Diablo II: Resurrected’s first act during the beta (it’s still going on right now, but today – the time of posting this blog anyway – is the final day of beta access). It’s delightful. You’ve probably already read reviews about how good Diablo II is, or you’ve even more likely to have experienced it yourself, so I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the game is fun.
Resurrected will include all of the content from both the original Diablo II and its expansion Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, which spans five acts in total. Across the first act, I did encounter a few extremely minor bugs. Namely, my character occasionally clipped an inch or two backwards when I was moving, but I can count on one hand how many times that occurred. Otherwise, Diablo II: Resurrected is shaping up to be a super clean experience, and already seems to have the majority of technical issues hammered out.
Dance with the Devil
Obviously the elephant in the room amidst the beta weekend is everything that’s been happening over at Activision/Blizzard, and I’m sure there are folks who are conflicted in giving this game a shot – or maybe feeling guilty about looking forward to it – considering the headlines of the day. I’d like to quickly reiterate a few points from my last blog on the matter, in that there are far more blameless people than bad ones who deserve to get back to doing what they do for a living without having to apologize for it. Keep that in mind over the next few weeks as Resurrected nears its release date, and as Diablo IV nears completion.
All-in-all, Diablo II: Resurrected is absolutely worthy of your time. It’s a faithful upgrade to a modern classic, and has all the sharp visual updates you want, without any of the technical meddling that you don’t.
Diablo II: Resurrected releases on September 23rd for PC/Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
P.S. – Holy shit is it a breath of fresh air to download and play a game that I know doesn’t have microtransactions, battle passes, or seasonal content attached to it. It’s just really nice to play something that you know has a start, middle, and end. Maybe I’m just old though.