Who doesn’t love that nostalgic feeling of turning on their favorite video games from the past? In an age of remakes and remasters, gamers are given the opportunity to experience their old favorites in a new light. And the classic RPG Diablo II is next in line for the modern treatment. Does Diablo II: Resurrected bring the genre-defining classic into the modern era or is it better left to the ages? Find out in my Diablo II: Resurrected Xbox review!
Story – Does Anyone Play Diablo For The Story?
The story is told through a series of remastered cinematics with film-level quality and scrolling dialogue while in-game. Diablo II: Resurrected is a classic tale of angels versus demons and the ultimate fight of good versus evil:
Ascend the Forgotten Tower, blaze a trail through the jungles of Kurast, and storm the gates of Hell to defeat Diablo himself. Then, scale the peak of Mount Arreat to face Baal, the Lord of Destruction, in Worldstone Keep.”
Diablo II: Resurrected on Xbox Series doesn’t tell a mind-blowing story, but it doesn’t need to. For players eager to get into the fight, it is enough to quickly scroll through NPC chatter to get to the next fight. But, for those who want all the story and lore, there’s more to explore through dialogue and quests. The story is what the player wants from it, and it is done well. Just as the story can fit the player style, so can the combat mechanics.
The player creates a character from one of seven classes: Amazon, Assassin, Necromancer, Barbarian, Druid, Paladin, and Sorceress. There’s a character to match any play style. For those who like to be in the heat of battle, the Barbarian and Assassin are easy choices. For those who prefer to do damage from the side, Sorceress and Necromancer are personal favorites. And this cast can fill any niche in between. Every character brings another way to play, and it is fun to see how differently things can roll out.
Gameplay – Compulsive But Troubled
Fortunately, Diablo II: Resurrected feels very much like your traditional quick-paced, compulsive Diablo. Fans new and old will appreciate how easy it is to pick up and play. It’s the perfect game for killing time on your lunch hour or for staying up way too late to grind that next level. More than once I found myself saying “one more objective” or “just one more horde” before shutting it down. The developers for Diablo II: Resurrected knew what kind of gameplay their fans wanted, and the team delivered.
While the hack-and-slash gameplay is classically done, other mechanics make the game feel as old as it is. To start, Diablo II: Resurrected has no sort of tutorials, helpful map systems, or even townspeople that at least give you tips to get started. As in the RPGs of old, it throws players into the mix without any sort of guiding hand. While tried-and-true players may appreciate this, fans who are new to the franchise may find this difficult to workaround. Even then, while combat was easy enough to pick up, there were things like skill trees and upgrade branches that I didn’t even know existed until I was messing around in the menus.
This lost feeling caused by the mechanics is only multiplied by vague objectives and relentless gameplay. Diablo II: Resurrected is not an easy game, and it starts with some difficult fights. It just seems like too much when you’re still trying to get a feel for how to even play and mini-bosses are just destroying your characters. This learning curve even applies to your inventory. Learning that you must identify items or that only certain characters can use certain weapons may be helpful to someone coming to Diablo for the first time. Even an optional tutorial would have been really helpful while learning the ropes.
Last but not least, Diablo II: Resurrected has suffered from severe server issues. This wouldn’t be a huge problem if characters could be played online or offline, but that’s not the case. Here, you either make an “offline” character or an “online” character. Once chosen, these characters can’t be played outside of this or switched out. If all you have is an online character and the servers go down, your only choice is to start all over again. Out of everything, this felt the most archaic to me, and I wish it has been more adaptable.
Graphics and Audio – Why Isn’t This A Movie?
In true Blizzard and Vicarious Vision fashion, the cinematics for Diablo II: Resurrected are stunning. The graphics are crisp and clean, the colors pop with extraordinary detail. Side-by-side comparisons of the Diablo II intro are a testament to the team’s amazing attention to detail and hard work. Unfortunately, I had some compression issues in some of the cutscenes, but it didn’t take away from the absolute beauty of the work. If nothing else, please check out the cinematics because they’re worth seeing if you’re a Diablo fan or not.
The audio is another portion where Diablo II: Resurrected felt aged. During the cinematics, the voice acting and music help to set the scene, but, in-game, it doesn’t feel like anything special. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t do anything to enhance the in-game moments. It would’ve seriously benefitted with some modern upgrades, making fights potentially that much more powerful.
In short, Diablo II: Resurrected on Xbox Series is a true representation of the original RPG, and a representation I enjoyed in my review. However, it feels like there were some missed opportunities in making it feel more modern or welcoming. While this is a remaster and not a remake, I still feel like Diablo II: Resurrected would have benefitted from some quality of life changes to ease new players (and even returning players) into this relentless battle for good and evil. That being said, it’s still a blast to take out hordes of demons with friends, and the cutscenes are stunning!
- Compulsive, fun gameplay
- Beautiful cinematics
- Diverse characters for different play styles
- No tutorials or directions
- Archaic mechanics
- Severe server issues