Diablo 2 is one of those monolithic games that stand as a pillar in the history of gaming. When it was released on PC in 2000, it changed the CRPG paradigm and set the standards for loot tiers and generation that many games still follow today. Diablo 2: Resurrected looks to preserve all the aspects that made the original so groundbreaking while updating the visuals for modern resolutions.
Diablo 2: Resurrected sits somewhere between a remaster and a remake. The graphics have been fully remade. The new engine is fully 3D, and the effects and lighting have been overhauled to give new life to the iconic environments and every creature has been lovingly rendered in more detail. However, aside from the work done to bring controller support, there’s very little mechanically that’s changed from the original. There is some quality of life improvements, but not as many as there should have been.
Visually, Diablo 2: Resurrected looks terrific. The move to a full 3D engine means that objects no longer have odd perspective issues. In addition, the fantastic lighting from the original has more depth and punch. The cutscenes, too, have been remade but are shot-for-shot the same as the original ones. However, despite the complete remake of every aspect of the graphics, there are only small deviations from the original designs. In essence, it looks like you probably remember it looking.
It’s easy to tell just how much of an improvement the visuals are too. Like with the Halo Anniversary games, you’re free to switch between the old and new graphics (and sound) at will with a keypress.
Unfortunately, Diablo 2: Resurrected doesn’t bring a feature I desperately hoped for, which is a variable zoom option for the camera. While there is a zoom button, it only has two settings: too far out and too far in. I’d love to be able to bring the camera to somewhere between the two extremes, especially since I’d like to play it on a TV instead of a monitor.
Stuck in the Past
Diablo 2: Resurrected doesn’t go far enough to bring the game up to modern standards despite the addition of quality of life improvements like a larger, shared stash. For example, controller players can assign up to 12 actions across two hotbars. In contrast, keyboard and mouse players are stuck only binding actions to the right and left-click buttons.
Controller players also have an advantage when it comes to looting. Both keyboard and mouse players and controller users can turn on auto-gold, which saves some clicking, but the latter can also auto-loot items on the ground.
Unfortunately, there have been no changes to the way loot drops work, so controller players can just vacuum up items before keyboard and mouse players have a chance to even see them. That’s not a big issue when playing with a friend. However, it can be incredibly frustrating in random matchmaking, especially if other players aren’t looking to split the loot fairly. A great solution would have been a system where players bid on loot on a “Need, Want, Pass” basis, but any improvement would have been welcomed.
Lack of Choice
There is one glaring fault with Diablo 2: Resurrected, and that is the removal of TCP/IP and LAN multiplayer. The only way to play with other people now is using Battle.net, which isn’t always a great solution. It forces a game that was previously completely functional without internet into an always-online title, which is a downgrade.
While Blizzard has stated that single-player modding would still be possible, you can’t play with mods through Battle.net. With that being the only method to play with others, you can no longer play mods co-operatively. There’s also no way to copy an online character to an offline slot.
Diablo 2 Resurrected Review: The Final Verdict
Diablo 2: Resurrected makes playing Diablo 2 more enjoyable than ever. The visual upgrades are immense, and I still enjoy the tight game design as much as I did 20 years ago.
I wish that more quality of life improvements were introduced with this remake/remaster. Just a few more small changes could have rectified some annoyances that stem from it being a 20-year-old game. As it stands, it’s almost too close to the original in all the wrong ways while missing multiplayer options that were removed for no reason.