Review: Diablo II

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Four years after the original Diablo was unleashed upon the world, a sequel was produced. By this time, I was already living with my future wife and I appropriately warned her “You will not see me for about a week, once this game comes out.”

Diablo II is a worthy sequel to the original game. Everything that was right about the original Diablo is here, and just about everything that was wrong with it has been addressed. The game is familiar to anyone playing the original, but contains a slew of new features. Players are able to customize weapons using the new “gem” system and combine various pieces of gear in a magical “Horadric Cube”, there’s a community lockbox for players to place items so they will be accessible across various characters. The character classes are a bit different this time around, now featuring the following options: Amazon, Barbarian, Necromancer, Sorceress and Paladin.

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Gameplay was very similar is many respects. However, instead of being confined to a dungeon players find themselves battling in rocky highlands, vast deserts, and strange exotic jungles. Instead of constantly saving your progress like the original game, this game is separated by chapters. Quitting the game and resuming resets all of the monsters are explored areas. However, a new ability is available to warp to various checkpoints. This prevents a great deal or backtracking.

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In this game, you find yourself in pursuit of the “Dark Wander”, the hero of the last game, who has become possessed by the spirit of Diablo. Eventually, your ultimate goal of defeating the Lord of Terror is once again made clear. Despite being a huge success, many players found themselves feeling a bit unfulfilled. Luckily, not long after it’s initial release the add-on: Lord of Destruction was released.

In the opinion of many, LoD really completes the original game. It integrates itself into Diablo II as a whole, adding two new character classes, the Druid and the Assassin, new items, as well adding a whole new final chapter to the game. I am one of the many that tend to look at Diablo II: Lord of Destruction as inseparable from the basic game itself.

In this expansion, the lead character pursues Diablo’s stronger brother, Baal and thus defeating him for what they hope if eternal peace.

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As I mentioned before, Diablo II takes all of what was great with the original and expands on it in a masterful way.

Difficulty: Varies –  Like the original, there are various difficulty settings for the game, ranging from normal to insanely difficult.

Story: Diablo II feature a much richer story than the original. Cutscenes exist between each chapter. Also, banter with NPCs if more frequent, and if often more story driven.

Originality: If you are familiar with the original Diablo, you will feel right at home here. However, Blizzard added enough new and original features to keep the game fresh.

Soundtrack: Very similar to the the original Diablo. Great songs that seem to fit in very well with the environments throughout the game.

Fun: Even better than the original! The scenery changes enough so as not to be repetitive. However, I did find myself wishing that the seemingly endless jungle levels would just hurry up and be over. My favorite part of these games is seeking out new shiny weapons and armor. There no disappointment for treasure hunters.

Graphics: Released at the dawn of 3d acceleration, this title boasted Glide and Direct3d acceleration. These days, no one has a Voodoo card so, you’re stuck with D3d. In my opinion, on a modern system, the 3d graphics are a bit muddy. In some respects, I feel the the original Diablo is a bit more polished.

Playcontrol: Excellent play control via mouse and keyboard. No real issues worthy of mention

Overall rating (out of four stars):  4 Stars – This is the essential Diablo experience. A classic game brought to perfection with the Lord of Destruction pack. You can’t go wrong with this title.

Available today through Blizzard’s online store.

Other Reviews In This Series:

Diablo –  Diablo IIDiablo III :: Reaper of Souls

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