Diablo Retrospective: Pt. II - Rely on Horror

Diablo Retrospective: Pt. II

Diablo was a resounding success and added itself to the untouchable arsenal in Blizzard Entertainment’s vault.  A sequel was inevitable (and implied by the ending of the first) due to the servers still booming with activity and obvious public demand.  In the summer of 2000 Blizzard released its magnificent sequel that promised to be everything we loved about the first game and more – and they delivered ten-fold.  Focusing almost entirely on a multiplayer experience, Diablo II gave us a story-driven masterpiece that put difficulty first and demanded teamwork.

What path do you choose?

The basics are the same – it is an action RPG, it’s still fast-paced and has loads of HnS action, but this time they didn’t hold back on the demon-to-player ratio.  You and your teammates will often-times go into a battle with the upper hand and, in seconds, with a flood of off-screen enemies charging to help their buddies, the tides will turn.  If there’s one thing I have to complain about Diablo II, it is that the overwhelming difficulty has you respawning miles away from your dead body and then requires you to either run all the way back or teleport back into the fray, only to die once more due to lag.  For many of us, quitting the multiplayer game session and rejoining seemed to be the best way to recover simply because it would bring our dead body back to town, losing only our precious gold on hand. As annoying as this is, we keep coming back for more because of just how fun the questing and gameplay is.

Act 5 in Lord of Destruction expansion

Aside from the added difficulty is the expansion on every other aspect of the first game.  Instead of just three hero classes to choose from, we have seven: the Paladin, Barbarian, Necromancer, Sorceress, Amazon, Druid, and Assassin – the last two are added with the Lord of Destruction expansion pack.  The skills for each class level up the same as in the original game -fighting monsters to gain experience and distributing those points how you see fit for certain attributes such as dexterity, strength, vitality, etc., but Blizzard now adds unique and complex skill trees to each class to bring even more customization (and replay value) to the table.

If Blizzard added just a few items to their already long list of collectibles from the first game, we would have been satisfied, but they added a tome-full of items with familiar categories and many new ones.  For the collectors in us they have quite a few “sets” to complete, for example: Griswold’s Legacy is a set of armor and a weapon that requires you to find Griswold’s “Heart,” “Honor,” “Redemption,” and “Valor,” each with their own abilities to help you on your way.  Oh yeah, and if you complete any set you get an added bonus when each piece is worn together, different bonuses per set.

Of course they couldn’t have all of this extra stuff and forget to let fans reminisce a little.  Early on in the first act of the game, we are given orders to unlock the gateway to Tristram, where the infestation began, and save our beloved Decard Cain.  This quest gave us fans a trip down memory lane as we entered the portal and stepped into the dark town we all knew so well, only to see it laid to waste by demonic forces.  Other easter eggs awaited us as well; there was a rumor circling when the original Diablo was released of a secret “Cow Level,” and there were specific instructions on how to get there…of course there was no cow level, but Blizzard couldn’t resist this time around.  In Diablo II, should you follow the correct instructions from your buddies, you will find this long sought-after “Cow Level,” which incidentally has some of the best items to find and offers great amounts of experience…that is…if you can survive the bardiche-wielding bovine.

In the words of Jock Jams, “Yall ready for dis?”

As you can see, Diablo II takes its predecessor seriously and aims to please and exceed all expectations by adding countless loot, a long and intriguing story, amazing gameplay and a true challenge for even the most battle-hardened warriors out there, and it is mind-blowing to think just how much potential Diablo III has in terms of substance.   Until it’s released in a month, what do you hope to see?  What would make Diablo III an even better game than its predecessors?  Leave us some comments!  We always love to hear your opinions!

The saga continues…

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