Before I get to my review of Diablo 2: Resurrected, let’s first address the elephant in the room.
Numerous lawsuits came out over the summer that alleged Activision Blizzard fostered a toxic work environment, something you can read more extensively about here.
Diablo 2: Resurrected is the first high-profile game to release under the Activision Blizzard banner since the lawsuits, so there are a lot of eyes on it because of that.
This re-imagining of the early-2000s classic was handled by the team at Vicarious Visions who have been owned by Activision since 2005.
Here’s the review.
A review code of Diablo 2: Resurrected was provided by the publisher.
Hell Never Looked So Good
Fans of the Diablo franchise who got started with Diablo 1 and then progressed into the second one know just how brutally difficult the game can be.
Potions galore were popped and you always had to go back to town for more. Across three difficulty levels, each one way tougher than the one before, there was a surprising amount of strategy required to plow through.
Diablo 3 made the experience a bit more casual on that end, but it’s still a great game that I still really love, and that’s part of what would make it feel more accessible today versus this remaster.
With that said, Diablo 2: Resurrected may have a fresh coat of paint on it, but it is definitely a product of its time. The developers have added a variety of needed quality-of-life changes like a shared stash, the ability to auto-pickup gold, and even controller support.
This all sounds like stuff that is just commonplace in a game nowadays, and that’s because it is. You have to remember that this remake is made for purists who grew up loving D2, and the game delivers on that in a huge way. If you’re looking for more Diablo 2, you found it.
The graphical overhaul is downright incredible, and in my mind, I was thinking this was how Diablo 2 looked to me growing up, but hitting the toggle and going to the old graphics was a huge wake-up call. The team at Vicarious Visions clearly put a lot of effort into the game, and it has paid off.
This is easily the definitive way to play Diablo 2, so you can put your old Battle.net Battle Chest away and stick to the new and shiny version. If you were on the fence because of the debacle surrounding Warcraft 3: Reforged, rest easy knowing that everything is good in Hell.
Is It Newcomer Friendly?
This is a very easy game to recommend to anybody who is already a fan of Diablo 2, but if you’re a fan of dungeon crawlers and want to try it out for the first time, will you like it?
Obviously, I’m biased because Diablo 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, but I think there’s still a lot to like if you’re a newcomer. In a lot of ways, the game feels dated by things such as limited inventory space, grueling difficulty, no waypoints, but you get used to it pretty quick.
One major issue is that if you’re playing multiplayer, you’ll find out that you’re competing with the whole lobby for the same loot instead of having it instanced for you like Diablo 3. This means there’s a chance you can get the drop you’re waiting for, but someone can just come in and swoop it up. This is how Diablo 2 has always been, so it makes sense the developers left that “feature” in the game.
Something I did a lot while playing is liken it to Resident Evil 4, another classic game that is hampered by some of the same issues that plague Diablo 2, especially the inventory space. Just by playing for a couple of minutes, I found myself already used to the horrid tank controls, something that has thankfully been ditched in later installments. I was able to do the same thing with D2, but could just be the nostalgia goggles.
The bottom line is that Diablo 2 is a classic game and while it’s definitely showing its age, there’s still a game worth playing here, even if you just finish the campaign once. The cutscenes between each act look as beautiful as ever, so faces like Diablo, Baal and Mephisto have never looked better.
Unlike Diablo 3, Diablo 2 doesn’t have an endgame where you run through randomly generated rifts. Instead, you have to fight the same bosses over and over until you get the gear drop you want. This means that you’ll be farming Baal for hours at a time with up to eight total players (four if you’re on the Switch).
Running the same content over and over can get dull, but that’s what the ladder resets are for, which are essentially the same thing as seasons in Diablo 3.
I believe that this will definitely scratch the itch for players who are looking to revisit Diablo 2 for the first time in years, and I also think it’ll be able to draw in new players, at least for a playthough of the campaign.
However, you can really only do the same stuff for so long, and as someone who poured hundreds of hours into this game over a decade ago, it just leaves me wanting more.
This is where Diablo 4 comes in, and that’s something I’m greatly anticipating. I’m even excited for Diablo: Immortal. As you can tell, I’m a big fan of the franchise, and I’m always going to get excited for what the team cooks up next.
I don’t know how long I’ll last with Diablo 2: Resurrected, but after making it through the campaign with an Amazon, along with dipping my toes into the water with every other class, this game hit all of the right spots.
It’s easy to lose a whole afternoon to just leveling and getting cool gear, provided the servers are stable and don’t kick you out. However, it is a 20-year-old game, so I’m more excited to see what the future of the franchise holds. It’s been a blast revisiting this game, but I feel like this chapter is closed and I’m ready to see something new.
There’s nothing wrong with revisiting the classics, and I’m glad I did so here because I really wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. I think there are just enough quality-of-life changes that make it accessible to everyone, but it definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if Diablo 3 is the only game you know from the franchise.
This resurrection won’t convert you into being a fan if you didn’t like the original D2, but if you’re coming from that game, you’ll enjoy the ride.