3 Up 3 Down: Diablo 2: Resurrected Beta
Diablo 2: Resurrected crashes through the gates of hell on September 23 and last weekend was the most recent opportunity to check out the state of the upcoming remaster. I had a lot of fun scratching that nostalgic itch and the game is looking pretty damn sweet, but I couldn’t help but be annoyed by a few lingering mechanical issues. To be fair, annoyance is my baseline state so you can take these complaints with a grain of salt.
What I Loved
1. It’s Like Going Into a Time Machine
When you play Diablo 2: Resurrected you swear that this is exactly the way you remember it looking and playing in 2020. Toggle the G key and you will be shocked at the difference. The new version is sharper, much more detailed, and full of lighting and reflection effects that Blizzard could only dream about twenty years ago. The talented folks at Vicarious Visions pulled off a magic trick in somehow making us live in the past and present simultaneously.
2. Diablo 2 is Still a Gothic, Heavy Metal Masterpiece
From the newly polished cutscenes to the story that drives the gameplay to the dark and enveloping dungeons, Diablo 2: Resurrected reminds us that it forged the template for diabolical storytelling and it remains one of the best and most influential ARPGs ever made. Play any fantasy dungeon crawler that followed and you’ll see the mark of Diablo 2. With lighting that only highlights a small area around the character, the idea of an enveloping and evil darkness is both a thematic element and mechanical feature.
3. The Music Effing Rocks
Let’s give a standing ovation to the Diablo 2 musical score by Matt Uelmen, because it was amazing in 2020 and remains so in the remaster. In addition to mixing acoustic instruments and ambient electronics, Diablo 2’s score blends heavy metal guitar riffs with classical technique and the subtle use of themes and variations for each area of the game.
Click on through to PAGE 2 for the things I didn’t like…