Diablo II is considered by many game lovers as one of the best games ever. A true masterpiece of the time and founder of the genre from which many other good games have appeared. When the release of Diablo II Resurrected was announced, my heart skipped a few beats. After the failure of Diablo Immortal and the long wait for Diablo IV, this is a pleasant surprise. But what do I actually expect from a Diablo II remaster and can Diablo II Resurrected meet that?
Diablo II has been around for twenty years, so I won’t tell you in detail what it is and what it’s all about. It’s Diablo’s successor and starts where the origin story left off. The story and gameplay of Diablo II are not tampered with in Diablo II Resurrected. Blizzard and Vicarious Visions wanted to keep this as authentic as possible. They definitely succeeded in this and I have to respect them for that. What has been modified a lot is the appearance of the game. Immediately after starting the game, you will get a cinematic scene where Marius tells the masked man about his confrontation with the Dark Wanderer. Here you can immediately see that the game has been greatly refined. One of the most famous scenes in gaming history has never looked so good and it takes you straight into the story, into the world of Sanctuary.
Besides nearly half an hour of scenes, the graphics within the game have also been improved. I was skeptical about this at first, as Warcraft 3 remaster didn’t have the best graphics. So I was afraid Blizzard would choose the same Warcraft cartoon with Diablo II Resurrected and I wouldn’t really like it. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. The game still has the same dull color palette and the graphics aren’t super sharp. In fact, the game looks like I thought the game looked like it did. With the new graphics placed directly on top of the old ones, you can also instantly switch between new graphics and old graphics from the original with the touch of a button. When you do this, you really see how big a difference it is with the original. Despite this, the graphics look like a modern rendering of the game, without losing the original look and feel. A little side note here is that if you’re playing on an ultra-high-resolution screen, like me, you can’t use the full 21:9 aspect ratio. Due to technical issues, it was decided to use the 19:9 aspect ratio as the highest aspect ratio. Fortunately, the black bezels on the sides of the screen aren’t that great.
Roses and sunsets, or doom and gloom?
Fortunately, nothing has changed in terms of gameplay. The original Diablo II experience has been preserved and that’s exactly what I’d expect from a remaster. The strange quirks of the game we took for granted twenty years ago still exist. There’s also absolutely no balance between the different classes, and loot grinding is still a hell of a job. There is still no tutorial available and the game definitely does not hold your hand at all, as we see more and more in modern games. So Diablo II Resurrected seems to focus mainly on old hands that have been playing the game for twenty years and I personally don’t mind that. Some improvements have been made to quality of life. For example, you can collect money directly by walking over it and there is a shared storage available, in which you can share items between your different characters, without having to use so-called Mule accounts. Also, the game on PC finally supports the use of the console, and Diablo II was also released on consoles for the first time. I must say that despite the fact that keyboard and mouse is the original way to play, Diablo II Resurrected plays very nicely with a console. You just have so many buttons to work with that you can use all of your spells, instead of the two mouse buttons and function keys. Certainly not a bad development.
However, is it all roses and sunsets in the sanctuary? Unfortunately, I must disappoint you. Diablo II Resurrected has a number of flaws that I absolutely have to mention. For example, Blizzard has chosen to remove the TCP/IP connection option entirely from the game, despite wanting to keep the original Diablo II experience. If you want to play with your friends, you must do so at all times via Battle.net and Blizzard servers. In the modern game scene, this is of course more than usual, were it not for the fact that the charm and longevity of Diablo II also lies in the fact that great mods have been released that further expand the game and increase the replayability even further. . It was only natural to use these mods when playing over a local connection, because you wouldn’t disturb other players in co-op or PvP with your mod content. Playing through Battle.net has the advantage that you can easily play with others from all over the world, although the game had server issues upon release. This also ensures that cross progression is possible. When you own Diablo II Resurrected on multiple platforms, you can transfer your characters to other platforms via your Battle.net account. However, while cross progression through Battle.net is possible, cross-platform is not implemented in Diablo II Resurrected. A bit strange option, if you ask me. Also, the seasonal ladder is not yet operational. The Seasonal Ladder is basically a Diablo II endgame content where you have to play through the game’s five actions with a new character each season and grind to get the best loot and the highest place in the leaderboard. This competitive mode is what many Old Guard fans love, as you can earn special items by placing yourself at the top of the ladder. According to Blizzard, Seasonal Ladder won’t activate immediately at launch, to give people a chance to get familiar with the game and not overload the servers. Knowing that the Ladder rated in Warcraft 3 Reforged, Blizzard’s other enhancer, has yet to be implemented nearly two years after release, I’m still skeptical about this feature.
Diablo II Resurrected is basically a good remaster. What I expect from a remaster is to improve the graphics and gameplay to modern standards, without changing the core of the game. As far as the graphics and gameplay are concerned, this definitely worked well, keeping the original Diablo II experience as close as possible. The quality of life improvements made to alleviate some of the quirks of the original are very welcome and don’t affect the core gameplay. However, the lack of some core features that were originally something that longtime fans who played the original 20 years ago will miss. Since Diablo II Resurrected seems to be primarily targeting that target group, that’s a bad thing.
- Especially for old fans
- Great improved graphics
- Old graphics at the touch of a button
- Keep the essence of the game
- Quality of life improvements
- controller support
- By progressing…
- …but no cross-play
- There is no seasonal scale
- No TCP/IP connection
- No real broadband support
- Especially for old fans