The bar for remakes and remasters have been set by the Resident Evil franchise in recent years. Due to this, anyone looking to bring an older game into the modern scene needs to make sure it's a mix of authentic and modern.
Does Diablo II: Resurrected achieve this or does it seem like more of a cash-grab re-release?
Diablo II: Resurrected First Impressions
Diablo II: Resurrected may be a solid remake but it's not on the scale of the aforementioned Resident Evil games. The original game is still considered a landmark release and the kind of game many people would consider their favorite of all time.
Due to its status within gaming, and its age, Resurrected just feels like too little has been done to help bring this game in line with other 2021 releases. The charm of Diablo II isn't lost in Resurrected but it essentially boils down to the same game with a fresh coat of paint. This is a problem because revisiting Diablo II two decades later isn't as much of an adrenaline rush as it once was.
I'm not for one moment convinced that Blizzard didn't have plans to change more of the game to make it more accessible for a modern audience. The problem is that they may have felt like they were doing the original a disservice by doing so. This raises a much bigger question of 'are there games that should not be remade or rebooted?'.
I think the answer is yes and Diablo II may be top of that list. When the original is still available in its natural form and with a healthy modding community on hand to keep it alive, why invest in a project that does so little to help the game. At least, I thought this until I plugged a controller in to see how it handled.
The First Hours
I still remember my first time playing the original Diablo II and how much of a marvel it was back in the early 2000s. It was the game that opened my eyes to ARPG's and I still say Diablo 3 is my favorite game of all time.
Having followed that journey, I can still go back and play the original and enjoy it for what it is, even by today's standards. When I play Diablo II I'm not thinking how well the game holds up from a gameplay perspective but instead remember how much it did for gaming at the time.
To see a shiny new version released in the form of Resurrection, I did expect more to be done but am by no means disappointed with the outcome. There are little things, however, that would make it more appealing to an audience who have never experienced the game before or are unaware of how games used to play.
It's difficult to point out individual issues without seeming petty but even the way the map system works needed a desperate update. You bring up the minimap and unveil the fog of war as you go. There are no objective markers or indications on where you should go beyond character dialogue. Something standard in the early 2000s is anything but now.
I can see so many players excited to see what all the fuss is about, giving up on Resurrected within an hour. Not due to the quality of the game but perhaps the lack of guidance in the experience.
A Halo: MCC-like experience is in play here. You can switch between modern and classic graphics very easily. What's strange about Resurrected is that it may actually be a better experience when played with a controller. In fact, playing with a controller transformed the overall experience for me, for the better, in a huge way. The skill bar being the biggest improvement which is crazily not available on PC.
I hope that the release of Diablo II: Resurrected isn't a one-shot deal and that feedback will be taken on board and implemented. I would recommend Resurrected to anyone whether they're familiar with Diablo II or not just so they can experience the game and see how far the industry overall has come.
Despite not blowing me away, there's something comforting about being able to play Diablo II again. Of course, it was always there on Battle.Net if I felt like the nostalgia trip, but now it feels like more than that.
We hope to post a full review of Resurrected in the coming week as we only received our review code on release day.