After 21 years, Diablo II returns and does it with Diablo II Resurrected, a technical / graphic reinterpretation of the king of Action-RPG hack n’slash, which has been able to steal millions of hours from players all over the world. To take care of this important work is Vicarious Visions, already authors of several remastering works such as Crash Bandicoot and CTR, always managing to create high-level products.
Over the past few days we played it on PC and also did some small tests on consoles, being able to offer you a general overview of what we felt in returning to Sanctuary: joy, pain and a hint of nostalgia, of a work that has proven better than Warcraft III Reforged across the board.
We reviewed the game with the following PC setup:
Diablo walks the earth
While Diablo III is the best-selling title in the series, the great collective love of enthusiasts remains the second chapter: more punishing and satisfying in role and find mechanics. Diablo II has never been a simple game, on the contrary, it has always been a divisive product and strongly focused on trade and the search for objects in the same places and for this reason its audience was certainly more niche than the third episode, reason that leads us to give a small opening on what is the story of Diablo II.
The story is set immediately after the first chapter, the legendary warrior who defeated the terrifying Diablo has become corrupt, becoming the Lord of Terror himself, also thanks to the help of the other Prime Evils: Baal and Mephisto. It is up to us, like any self-respecting hero, to eliminate evil and be able to free Sanctuary from the demonic threat, traveling from gloomy deserts to frozen plateaus, to fiery rivers.
From a lore point of view, the story of Diablo II is the best built and thought out, enough to be taken up by Diablo Immortal and destined to become an important reference point for Diablo IV. Dialogues and cutscenes still surprise today, immersing the player in a well-thought-out dark fantasy world of extremely surprising quality.
The King of Action-RPGs
The original play system has remained almost the same, but improved in terms of quality of life. Many tedious mechanics have been eliminated, such as collecting gold, the inability to see the general bonuses of our items and above all the reduced space of our chest, now enlarged to accommodate shared reserves between our characters (say goodbye to good old mules).
The characters remained the same: Negromante, Druid, Barbaro, Enchantress, Assassin, Amazon e Paladino, each with three skill branches to exploit and four different attributes to assign (strength, dexterity, life and energy). Even the objects have not undergone changes, if not some change of name due to the localization, consequently we have no new content, even Vicarious Visions has hinted at the possibility of introducing something new in the course of the next ladders.
You are probably wondering: is the game still enjoyable after 21 years? Absolutely yes, but an important distinction must be made between PC and console. The game was born and meant to be a PC-Like title, consequently on Xbox, Switch and PlayStation you might find it a bit cumbersome compared to what we saw with Diablo III, a game that lent itself very well to be played with the controller, also due to a series of possibilities that the game offered, including which personal loot, which is not present (rightly) on Diablo II Resurrected and which, given the presence of cross-play, could put console players in difficulty in collecting items.
For the rest playing Diablo II Resurrected is like finding an old friend, you immediately feel at home and it is easy to find yourself in the gameplay structure that we loved years ago, but even for those who are new, they will almost immediately find themselves at ease, with the awareness, however, that they are faced with a more hardcore compared to the third installment of the series.
If you are new to the game, we recommend that you take a look at our constantly updated Complete Guide. However, we must be clear: the title is old-fashioned and could be a bit difficult at first: be patient and know that it will give you a lot of satisfaction.
However, it should be emphasized that the team wanted to keep the game in the same way as in the past, this means that it is possible to find yourself in front of some bugs of the past, which have not been completely fixed. Nothing serious, mind you, but it seemed appropriate to warn you if you find something “strange” during your trip.
If from the point of view of the gameplay the game did not need major changes, from the graphic point of view the work was particularly impressive. Vicarious Visions, on the other hand, has practically turned the original game upside down, giving life to a completely new title: revised animations, unlocked framerates and resolutions, new textures and particle effects, and even the inclusion of the global illumination.
The plant was built entirely on top of the original from 2000, this means that it is possible, at any time and with the single press of a button, to switch from the old to the new graphics, being able to immediately realize the amazing differences between the new version and the older one, as well as previously hidden details that now finally come to light.
All the acts maintain a rather high general quality, leaving us some doubts only and solely for some particles related to the skills of Druid and Enchantress, but which on the whole satisfy and do not negatively affect the final judgment.
Too bad for the lack of a complete remastering of the audio, which is proposed in the exact same version of 2000 (for the OST), but in stereo mode; a non-problem that leaves a bad taste in our mouths for the impossibility of not listening to a re-orchestration of the old soundtrack, which remains wonderful and unforgettable even today.
Good dubbing redone, but in some parts slightly inferior to the original: some voices seemed decontextualized with respect to the characters, a shame that we could also see with Warcraft III Reforged and on which we were not fully convinced.