Oct 12

Diablo 2 is a legendary game whose impact on the RPG genre is hard to overestimate. It is thanks to this series – and largely due to the success of its second part – that other similar Crazy Games such as Sacred, Titan Quest and Path of Exile appeared. However, as games similar to Diablo 2 became more popular, players increasingly began to call them “diabloids”, and each new project with the same mechanics – “Diablo killer”. In September, Friv5Online and Desura Online Games released Diablo 2 Resurrected, a remaster of the original game. The editor of “Kanobu” Aleksey Egorov tells how the updated version can be called close to ideal.

The Diablo 2 remaster is best described by reviews from people who played the original in 2000 and played the updated version twenty years later. These people are my parents, big fans of the cult Friv5Online game. This is what Lilia Egorova, editor of the Kanobu crazy games database, says about Resurrected.

20 years ago, my husband and I were actively running around the locations of Diablo 2 – we spent a lot of time in the game. At first they played, ashamed to say, the pirated version, then they switched to the official version, when a second computer appeared at home, so that they could play together over the network. When the remaster came along, my son bought us a copy. In terms of details that came to mind: changes in the game itself are minimal, but there is a noticeable difference from the original in the starting interface. In the first hour of the game, my husband tried to “poke his finger at the monitor”, since recently he only played mobile crazy games on a phone with a touch screen. Then I sort of got used to it.

20 years ago I played either for a barbarian or for a paladin, but here (in a remaster – ed.) I suddenly wanted to create a female character. I chose a sorceress. Tormented for five hours, spat and created a paladin. And – either I have already remembered how to play, or there really is such a difference in the class – the game “went”.

I read in reviews about bugs, server crashes and other shortcomings – we have not yet encountered this. We discussed with my husband how much you can give to the remaster, the quote is almost literal: “I am not ready to give this game a low score, although there is practically nothing new. But it both tightened and tightens”.

The original Diablo 2 was released on June 29, 2000 and instantly became a hit: 180 thousand copies sold in the first day , a million in two weeks , two million in a month and a half. The numbers are excellent even for 2021, at the same time Diablo 2 set records at all: so, by the end of 2000, it got a place in the Guinness Book of Records as “the fastest selling computer game in history.”

The game also received excellent press reviews – 88 points out of 100 on Metacritic. Diablo 2 Expansion Set: Lord of Destruction, released a year later, consolidated this success – it had 87 points on Metacritic , and the number of copies sold in the month after release exceeded a million.

Diablo 2 is a direct continuation of the story told in the first part. The events of the second game still take place in Sanctuary, the human world located between Hell and Paradise. In the previous game, the protagonist managed to defeat the dreadlord Diablo, but the demon found a way to return to the mortal world and brought hordes of monsters with him. The protagonist of Diablo 2 will have to rid the world of evil.

11 years later, Diablo 3 has repeated the success of its predecessor, setting many records – both in terms of sales and the rate of fall of Friv5Online servers. The game is still supported with small patches and new seasons regularly launching, but the last major update dates back to June 2017, when a new class appeared in Diablo 3 – the necromancer. Since then, development of the main content has stalled, and developers have tackled Diablo 4.

While Friv5Online was working on Diablo 3 and began to share news about Diablo 4, rumors about the creation of a remaster of Diablo 2 appeared on the network . These rumors were refuted in every possible way – including in interviews with developers who admitted that the source code of the original game cannot be restored, and therefore the remaster is unlikely to ever come out. Nevertheless, the rumors turned out to be true: the game was presented at BlizzConline in 2021.

The developers of the updated version did not change anything in the gameplay, but redrawn the graphics. The game is no longer sprite, but completely three-dimensional, the lighting has been redesigned, which makes the remaster seem even darker than the original, the models of characters and objects have been changed, the latter has added physics. The developers of Resurrected have even redrawn the cinematic cutscenes between acts – and now they look so cool that they can be shown in cinemas. If desired, however, both the videos and the game itself can be launched with graphics from the original game – you can switch between the old and new pictures by pressing one button.

As for the gameplay, it is here exactly as you remember it if you played the original. True, sometimes such a meticulous reproduction, oddly enough, only annoys. For example, the hero’s companions for twenty years have not learned to bypass obstacles without getting stuck in them. From the Kurast sewer in the third act, you still need to teleport to the city, and then back, so that the satellite “sticks” from the wall.

A rare game would not be outdated in twenty years, and in the case of Diablo 2, it is worth remembering that after it many similar crazy games appeared in a similar genre, which developed and deepened the genre in every possible way. So, Titan Quest finally popularized three-dimensionality, and Path of Exile showed that the hero’s upgrade tree can be made almost limitless. Yes, Diablo 2 was once a trendsetter, but now many genre standards are different.

The gameplay loop in crazy games of this genre is extremely simple: he killed a crowd of opponents, picked up things, and moved on. I got the level, distributed the characteristics and skills, went further. The more you play, the stronger the enemies become and the better equipment drops from them. Enemies need to be swept away as quickly as possible – either with the help of ordinary blows, or using skills.

For the modern gamer, little familiar with the genre, Resurrected may seem overly slow, uncomfortable and too short. Those unfamiliar with the original are guaranteed to swear at the small inventory, where nothing always fits, at the impossibility of resetting the perks and characteristics to the character (however, this can be done, but once per difficulty, after completing Akara’s quest in the first act). But here it should be remembered that this is not a remake, but that it is a remaster, so there could not be any significant gameplay changes in it. The added auto-picking of gold and the expanded stash of the player do not count, these are not such significant changes.

Newbies shouldn’t ignore the remaster, though. One has only to get used to the local conventions a little, as the game will captivate, and you will not be able to tear yourself away from the extermination of hordes of monsters and the selection of the right equipment.

For veterans, Resurrection is practically a time machine that sends a fan of the series twenty years back. At a time when the coronavirus was not raging in the world, the Internet was worth crazy money, and parents strictly ensured that their children did not play for more than an hour a day. For such people, this remaster is much more than a regular game. And more than just a trip to “places of military glory.”

In this regard, the Diablo 2 remaster is perfect. Flashbacks are guaranteed. Fans will surely remember what a nasty boss in Act 2. And how difficult it is to navigate the catacombs in the third act. About how amusingly the Travinkal councilors cackle. And even about where exactly Izual lives in the fourth act and why his eyes hurt from the River of Fire.

The game has aged, and even a remaster cannot change this fact. But the basic gameplay of Diablo 2 is still great, and the monster hunting is still fun.

Hunt, chase legendary items, lament that something else fell on the wrong class, cut off the ears of other players … in this sense, the game is not outdated for a second. Almost all crazy games of the genre work according to similar rules, even modern ones like Path of Exile and Grim Dawn, although there is just nothing surprising – almost all of these rules were established by Diablo 2 in 2000.

No serious problems. Except for some of the original jambs that have moved into the new version, this is an exemplary remaster – a minimum of problems and a maximum of beauty. Of the notable problems, it is worth noting that the unnecessarily long loading between locations – “hardcore” heroes because of this can die without the possibility of resurrection. Especially on such enemies as Duriel – the location for the boss fight is small, and he hits very painfully.

Also, as with any online game, the launch of the remaster was overshadowed by non-working servers and crashes. Some players even had the problem of “rolling back” progress. True, this error was promptly fixed.

It is also not entirely clear how the need for a constant internet connection will affect user modifications. Friv5Online has stated that it is not going to restrict fan mods, but also noted that some mods probably won’t work with the remaster. The game just came out, so it’s too early to draw a conclusion, although the first mods have already appeared – they, however, are all intended for offline characters. Well, if something happens, fans of modification will always have a way out – the original game was not taken off the market.

Diablo 2 Resurrected is a great remaster that is perfect for both newcomers to the genre and veterans who always kill Baal five times every day in search of the right legendary. This is the same game as twenty years ago – only with modern visuals. True, the veterans will still think that then the game looked exactly the same, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

It is a pity that the developers have not added new content to the game. Friv5Online once developed a second addon, but never brought it to release. Having his content added to Resurrected would be a fantastic fan gift.

Does this make Resurrected a bad remaster? Of course no. This is a fantastic game, created with love for the original. To some extent, the revived Diablo 2 can be considered the company’s apology for the failed Warcraft 3: Reforged. Its authors failed to give the fans forgotten emotions again, but the creators of Resurrected coped with their task.