Diablo II + Lord of Destruction – Retro Review

Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PC
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: June 29, 2000
MSRP: $9.99 (Php. 460.69)

The Diablo franchise has always been something close to a lot of people’s hearts. From the grimly dark setting of the first Diablo to the fast-paced action offered on the latest game. However, for this review, I’m going to focus on the second game, with its expansion Lord of Destruction, which a lot of people would agree to be the best in the franchise.

First off, let’s talk about the story. Just like most Blizzard games, the Diablo franchise delivers a story that’s far from disappointing. In Diablo II, you set off to follow the footsteps of a mysterious wanderer who leaves a trail of destruction and terror in his wake.

The gameplay for Diablo II serves the story justice and basically offers an average of ten hours of playthrough. Upon choosing a character, you find yourself looking at a circle of heroes around a campfire – five with the original game and seven after you install the expansion pack. There is no character customization except for the part where you give it a name, but with how the characters are designed, one can’t complain. After making your choice, you set off. Stats and skills are not something a first time player would find perplexing, unless going for a specific build they are straight forward in nature. Facing monsters doesn’t feel like a chore, with unique monsters of a specific type popping up every now and then who are slightly stronger than regular mobs and drop better loot, adding a lot of excitement. Bosses look intimidating and fighting them pose a challenge that would keep your heart pumping, testing how well you’ve worked on your character. Dying in this game can become a heavy penalty especially is higher levels given the fact that everything you’re equipped with drops on the spot where you died, thus making retrieval a test of skill – you died against that thing, even with your gear on, now you have to fetch your stuff with that thing lurking around your body, good luck.

diablo ii screenshot

The graphics is basically a mix of 2D and 3D with the camera fixed on a certain angle, a limitation for its time but it’s not entirely a bad thing. How the camera is set adds a certain “what kind of surprise is waiting for me in the next corner?” kind of feel especially in certain stages, and the game has lots of surprises. The environment is in 2D but the shadow effect make up for the lack of luster and compliments the whole grim and dark setting. Your character and the enemies you encounter are rendered in 3D. Changing your armor and weapons change the look of your character and the detail is more than adequate given when the game was published. The properties that your equipment posses, the element and enhancements it has, affect the entire look of that specific equipment on your body; a sword imbued with poison has a shade of green and a weapon imbued with fire has a shade of red. The enemies like most RPGs, even during this era, tend to be repetitive, some with simple color modifications with few of the monsters unique to a certain level. As a whole the graphics are good with slight pixilation here and there but the details, especially on how the environment is setup, make up for it.

Sound on this game is… err… pretty sounds. The background music, though complementary to a specific area of the game, tend to be very repetitive especially when doing multiple playthrough. Sound effect varies very slightly, but is nothing less than adequate.

diablo ii screenshot 2

Now, here is where this game stands out, replayability. With a plethora of equipment and other special items, it would be impossible to get all of them in one go and with nightmare and hell mode waiting for you after you finish the game the first time, can guarantee a lot more hours of game time.

All in all, the game doesn’t offer that much eye candy and it doesn’t necessarily send you to another plane of existence with its soundtrack. However, it does have what most games lack, the ability to give players an entirely different experience if they choose to give the game another run, which in my opinion, makes it worth anyone’s time.

This review is based on a retail copy purchased by the author.