Queue up the Blizzard Entertainment game remasters, with Diablo 2: Resurrected next in line. The title will be launching with its Lord of Destruction expansion for modern platforms at some point in the future, and had opened up a technical alpha for a bunch of us to try out. The million dollar question remains: how is the game?
The tl;dr is basically this: it’s gotten a facelift, with just about every single thing from the game rising from the dead for both singleplayer and multiplayer, and anything you remember from ye olde days will apply just fine here. For the more nitty gritty, read on.
HELL’S PLASTIC SURGERY
For starters, if you just wanna see the “good ol’ D2“, the keyboard shortcut is G. It’ll then switch to the true blue, vanilla Original look at 800 x 600 resolution, 4:3 ratio. Depending on how you feel about it, this is pretty good; after all, options and settings can do the funky dance and totally break how they look especially with modern ultrawide monitors and all that jazz. You have been warned.
Considering how the developers have done with regards to the graphics in matching the looks 1 to 1, it’s really there for nostalgia’s sake. Plus, this faithful re-rendering of the original game has been done alongside a much more reactive, modern take on dynamic lighting. These modern touches are more subtler than you might think. Any extra colours or tones are just highlights, allowing the original assets to stay the way they were.
There are some oddities in the technical alpha that would most likely get fixed, but will be mentioned for knowledge’s sake: the character’s shadow is based off a global light source, and will not change even if you move to a light source on the overworld, like a campfire. Along with it being an early build, there were points where the assets were still pixelated without being in the OG mode.
They’ve accordingly updated the various sound effects, making them more distinct and detailed, like footsteps on different terrain.
With regards to the minimap, the icons are larger when you have it opened in the middle.
RIDE TO HELL: RESURRECTED
Slap enemies to death with method of choice, gain (hopefully) shiny loot, be it gear to equip or consumables (potions). Chug potion when low on mana or HP, or find the one-use shrines to recover. Alternatively, the shrines will provide buffs. Hurray. Seriously though, if you’re getting this because you were a big nerd for the original Diablo 2, there’s barely, if any, difference in the controls, or even the key binding.
They did redesign the original character creation screen, which now looks closer to Diablo 3‘s, but with design elements of the original. The alpha only had Barbarian, Mage and Amazon to try out, with the Barbarian feeling like the beginner’s class where you can go unga bunga with close quarters combat. The Amazon will offer spears and bows, while the Sorceress will be for the elemental (Ice, Fire, Lightning) magics. There were only two acts available in the technical alpha as well, with a few other features – accessibility options like a colour blindness mode – not implemented yet.
You’ll have to do the same inventory shuffle, or just toss em in your chest at Rogue Encampment, or sell em all off. Same ol’ skill trees and upgrades to do, allocating the points to see the numbers go up for your Strength, Dexterity, Vitality or Energy. Drag a friend along when you hire them to help complete missions together… ah, familiarity.
The keyboard mouse controls haven’t been changed since the original. This includes any misclicks that occur when using a ranged weapon, as you watch your character stride over to the enemy instead of attacking. You can hold the Shift key to help with that, but it’ll be harder to kite. Conversely, using a controller allows for auto aim, but you can’t choose your target either.
TILL NEXT TIME
For now, using a controller offers a more convenient way to play thanks to its lock on. For Diablo 2 veterans, you would more than likely be comfortable with the PC controls, but it may feel more awkward for newcomers. The technical alpha for the most part is pretty good already, and doesn’t look like it’ll go the way of Warcraft 3: Reforged.
Older players can look forward to a game they loved spruced up for the current generation, while newer ones can find out for themselves just what made this game so good.
Diablo 2: Resurrected is estimated for a 2021 release. Check out our interview with Rob Gallerani (Principal Designer) and Maxine Virtue (Game Producer) here to learn more about the behind-the-scenes.