Diablo II

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Diablo II is an action role-playing hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and published by Blizzard Entertainment in 2000 for Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS, and Mac OS X. The game, with its dark fantasy and horror themes, was conceptualized and designed by David Brevik and Erich Schaefer, who with Max Schaefer acted as project leads on the game.

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Blizzard North
Blizzard Entertainment
Age rating
Not rated
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Diablo II reviews and comments

«Can’t stop playing»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Can’t stop playing»
A hand me down from my brothers that introduced me to the world of ARPGs. A great singleplayer game at the time, the fascinating 4-player co op online mode really made the title stand out. Years later Blizzard is still attempting to recapture the special spark of this title.
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
Why Diablo 2 is Not A Good Game (and never was)

 I know how that title sounds. It’s both a bold and a wildly unpopular opinion. But hear me out. One day in Hell difficulty, I thought "Why?" What was the point? There was no content I hadn't unlocked yet, no story left to experience, no setpieces remaining. Not even gameplay. The only thing I had to look forward to was killing things slightly faster, doing the same thing I was but more efficiently. I decided that once I defeated the final boss on the hardest difficulty, I wouldn’t play the game any further. If it weren’t for my small party of friends playing together, I would have instead dropped it after Nightmare difficulty, because the gameplay only gets worse from there.

 You know what else released in 2000? Deus Ex, Counter Strike, Majora’s Mask, Tony Hawk 2, The Sims, FFIX, Paper Mario, Mario Tennis, Mario Party 3, Kirby 64, Banjo Tooie, Thief 2, Spyro, Jet Set Radio, Perfect Dark, and Baldur’s Gate II. This is a seemingly insane line-up of genre defining titles and cult classics. Go back and look at the visual design, gameplay, and clarity present in some of these games. Mario Tennis had fast-paced smooth gameplay, Kirby 64 had adorable animations and great visual clarity, Mario Party 3 had a brilliant control scheme that supported 4 players at once, Banjo-Tooie and Spyro featured satisfying platforming, Jet Set Radio had fast-paced arcade-like action. Hitman, Thief, and Deus Ex featured branching gameplay systems as well as impressive visual design.

 And then there’s Diablo 2. It ran in a glorious 480p, but somehow looked worse than just about every other game that was released alongside it. Poor visual clarity is largely due to the attempt to make it “realistic”, but the shortcomings of Diablo 2’s visuals don’t stop there. Animation quality is awful with no impact and very little meaningful information communicated. Text is often unreadable. It is impossible to discern what is going on in busy encounters. UI design is extremely claustrophobic. Brightness ranges from eye-strainingly dark to blindingly bright. Some zone transitions get completely missed because they blend in with the drab color pallet.

 Part of this is attributed to Blizzard chasing the success of Diablo 1. D2 came out only 2 years after the original, so there wasn’t a lot of dev time to innovate and make something meaningfully better than Diablo 1. Part of it is also attributed to the genre lacking any real conventions and best practices. The thing is, Diablo 2 didn’t establish any best practices. Rather, it was a case study in what to do differently in RPG’s moving forward. For example, potion economy, the wording of gear, attack rating and defense rating, control scheme, 2-skill limit, movement, item drops, skill trees and synergies, difficulty levels, damage immunities, procedural generation, life recovery, mana burn, keys, item rarity, trading/economy, UI, inventory management, and charms are all things that Diablo 2 got wrong, and that every ARPG has done differently since. For the things Diablo 2 got right, it did VERY right. Gear was impactful, runewords were really cool, and named enemies and unique bosses required careful attention. It’s a wonder that runewords have never found their way into a more modern title.

 Some people say Diablo 2 has merit for its atmosphere and story. As far as atmosphere is concerned, Diablo 2 destroys any hope it had of maintaining its bleak atmosphere by making pretty much everything a nondescript blur. The remaster does wonders for this, restoring the grounded feeling the original was meant to have had. Storywise, the game is full of exposition dumps. Each act has a pretty cutscene that helps connect things together, but the story largely relies on Diablo 1 as a base, and suffers for it. At the very least, it did help hype up the act bosses and make them more meaningful encounters.

 Diablo 2 is a cult-classic. It appeals to a very select group of people for a very specific reason. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe there’s some appeal to the clunky systems, or maybe the loot grind is just cathartic and mindless and that’s all that matters. In any case, there are better alternatives to Diablo 2, especially for those new to the genre. Torchlight, Path of Exile, Diablo 3, Grim Dawn, Van Helsing, Warhammer 40k Inquisitor, and Titan Quest all offer more refined experiences than D2.
If you thought the first Diablo was fun, this takes it to a whole new level.
I love all the classes, but my faves were the Necromancer and Druid.
I regret I never was able to play this game with friends all the way through. But it was still a great time. If I had a PC, I'd play it again today!
«Better with friends»
This is the game that redefined RPGs in general and spawned lots of clones. All these clones made playing the original game kinda weird, coz you played it many times, so the original game feels secondary, but it’s vice versa actually! So keep this in mind if you want to play Diablo II now, but you played lots of other action RPGs already. Otherwise you’ll just get your typical hack-n-slash fantasy game.

Diablo II has many classes with large progress trees, lots of weapons and armor, and let’s be honest the game was meant to play online with all these trading opportunities. And my only gripes are also connected with that, coz there’s very little support from Blizzard against cheaters and bots.
«Can’t stop playing»
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