With Diablo 2: Resurrected, Blizzard has revived one of its absolute top titles. The catchy gameplay of the hit from yesteryear is still convincing today. Diablo 2 is visually better than ever before, but the ravages of time are relentlessly gnawing at the 20 year old gameplay framework. What was great back then is still good today - but no longer the masterpiece of yore.
Diablo 2 brings back memories: of a terrific game, of the first serious multiplayer experiences over the Internet via a 56k modem with lost connections every half hour, telephone lines that were occupied for hours and of “Battle.net”, which was a small revolution at the time. And today? Today Diablo 2 is still around - or now again. More beautiful, louder, smoother, on large screens in 4K - the modernized frame of the remake Diablo 2: Resurrected is terrific. The title is no longer the masterpiece of yore. This is mainly due to the fact that Blizzard has lent a hand everywhere for the revived edition, only hardly with the gameplay.
Diablo 2: I know what you did in the summer of 2000 ...
About 20 years ago Diablo 2 was a stunner. At some point between high school and military service, I spent hours in hell, not alone, but with friends - online. Playing comparatively smoothly on the Internet was all the rage back then. In retrospect, it was torture, harder than any battle against the lord of hell personally. Nevertheless, it was entertaining and somehow revolutionary. Click, click, click - Diablo 2 has worn mice, like Michael Schumacher in the millennium year rubber tires at Ferrari. In the end he became world champion, we triumphed over the ruler of hell. The feeling must have been similar in both cases.
And today? People are still clicking. The ruler of hell is still getting his fat off. But it feels very different. Tougher, drier, somehow also desolate. The hypnotic charm of a Diablo 2 in the year 2000 is gone. The ravages of time are gnawing heavily at the classic. The great look and the many sensible adjustments do not change anything. This is not due to the basic gameplay, because it is timeless: You start out as an impoverished, incompetent hero and start your adventure. Collect gold, beat equipment out of the monsters, defeat bosses, hope for good "drops" - developers still present all of this in different guises even today. Why not? It works after all. What has changed dramatically over the past 20 years is the flow of the game. Modern action role-playing games are smooth, require quick reactions, and sometimes cause stress when the screen gets too busy. Diablo 2: Resurrected is the exact opposite - it ripples along, is wobbly, repeatedly calls for breaks, something to rummage through menus or to return to base camp for the hundredth time.
But: It's still fun, and how. Hack'n'Slay as a pleasure is no longer Blizzard's reissued work. Blizzard has changed a lot and improved a lot in the process. Diablo 2: Resurrected fails in the end because of itself and its own story. Associated with the game are many good memories that you can bring back, but will never live again. Diablo 2 used to be unique, today it's one of the hack'n'slayers - albeit still one of the best in the genre. Nevertheless, the classic can no longer stand up to the comparison with the modern Diablo 3 - or its competitors Grim Dawn or Path of Exile. In 20 years it has been suppressed how laboriously characters steered themselves back then. As a gamer, you don't want that anymore - but Diablo 2: Resurrected makes it clear to you. The start is therefore initially sobering. You plow your way through the first hordes of opponents, collect skill points and equipment - and get annoyed again and again about the rapidly decreasing stamina bar. Just run across the map? Only possible to a limited extent. It feels awful at times.
The fighting? Hooked. Objects obscure opponents. Many a mass struggle turns into a cramp when the hero, instead of thrashing at it, does nothing or walks in some direction. Typical Diablo 2, but that could have been improved. Had. But you don't have. And then the myth of the complex skill system: How great did you imagine the skill trees of Diablo 2 compared to Diablo 3. Now it becomes clear: It offers more possibilities, but most of them fizzle out. So you just put countless points in useless skills because you want to dig deeper into the talent tree. The hero becomes gradually stronger, but so gently that the differences are hardly noticeable at first. Character progress? It does exist, but in a low dose. After all, the speed is rapid. You can always award a point that motivates. The differences in the builds are not as drastic as in Diablo 3 - the feeling is surprising, because that was exactly one of the big criticisms of the successor at the beginning.
And then the user interface: the key assignment often causes chaos. Here, too, Diablo 3 has the lead. The inventory overflows quickly. Not because you collect tons of great equipment, but because you have to hoard countless potions. Does Diablo 3 have the edge here too? Not even remotely. Path of Exile shows how to do it right.
And still it's good ...
Now you can complain like hell about Diablo 2: Resurrected. But complaints remain at a high level. It's fun to relive the story of yesteryear, to slice your way through the known types of opponents and to visit the beloved locations from back then. Everything is nicer, in 4K, and with great sound. The atmosphere in Diablo 2 has never been better. The game has never been more aesthetic. The music never came out of the speakers more eerily. Whoever loved Diablo 2 will also love Diablo 2: Resurrected, but it takes a lot to get used to the gameplay from hell ..., no, from the past, after almost 21 years.
Monsters are beaten up both online and offline, and you can still pass the time in the multiplayer mode. Blizzard is primarily focusing on improving the technical aspects of Diablo 2: Resurrected, which becomes clear from minute one. The light and shadow play is terrific, physics effects provide a plus in style. If you want, you can even repeat the “old look” at the push of a button - but we wouldn't recommend it. Diablo 2: Resurrected makes the classic arrive in the modern age. Players can work through five acts - after all, it also includes the Lords of Destruction expansion and its two new classes. There are seven heroes to choose from: Amazon, barbarian, paladin, necromancer and sorceress as well as the assassin and the druid. Every class plays differently, even today - it's the greatest strength of the modern classic. No matter how old the basic gameplay framework you are, the variety of classes scores.
The outdated features are a nuisance, but Diablo 2: Resurrected is even more convincing on the story level. The optics support the narrative art, feeds players with maximally pretty cave systems, cellar vaults and hell environments. The scraping music with hard guitar riffs makes your blood run cold. Somehow, in a strange way, Diablo 2: Resurrected still manages to tie the player to the screen even after more than 20 years. Despite obvious weaknesses. Hell has apparently lost none of its attraction.
Number of players: single player, multiplayer
Age: from 16 years
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: Action RPG
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Platforms (Test system): PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X| S, Nintendo Switch
Costs: from 39,99 euros
Diablo 2: Resurrected looks great at first: chic lighting effects, lots of details, beautiful dungeons - but everything is recognizable and typical Diablo 2. Technically, Blizzard has done everything right, even the controls are convincing - even on consoles. However, you have to develop the motivation to continue playing. As a gamer you will have to find sobering that Diablo 2 has aged, noticeably even. You knock monsters, experience frustration - and then, at some point, the moment comes when at least something of the feeling from back then can be felt. Then it grabs you.
This is much more true for the multiplayer game than for the solo game - both are good, multiplayer is better. The seven heroes offer enough variety for many hours of fun. The storytelling of yore is still terrific over 20 years later. And then another moment comes: It brings you back to the present. Then Diablo 2: Resurrected is again the repetitive slaughter of 2000, the allure evaporates. Fumbling around in the inventory is suddenly annoying, the potions system disrupts, the many uselessly distributed skill points are noticeable. Then, however, countless hours of play have already passed.
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Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API