Diablo 2 Resurrected Technical Alpha Impressions – A veritable time machine
Before I get to my impressions of Diablo 2 Resurrected, a (very) short story.
I was around 19 years old when the original Diablo 2 was released. The stories of my cousins and uncles about the first Diablo game inspired me to save up to buy the sequel. It was one of the first PC games that I purchased with my hard earned cash, and was the game that made me fall in love with the genre. My relationship with Diablo (the franchise, heh) goes way back, so you can imagine that getting a remastered version this year is quite special for me.
23 seasons of Diablo 3 later, we were given the opportunity to play the first Technical Alpha of Diablo 2 Resurrected – a full remaster of the game from 20 years ago. I was excited, but I didn’t expect such a faithful remaster that takes me back in time to the days of Internet cafes and non-optical mice, highlighting the timeless design that made the classic such a good game.
The first technical alpha has enough content to give you an idea of how the game will turn out when it releases later this year, barring any delays. If anything, it has convinced me enough that this version of the game will be one that myself and the millions of fans of the game deserve.
It features 3 classes (Barbarian, Amazon, and Sorceress) and let’s you play the first 2 acts of the game. I’ve clocked in over 6 hours of gameplay on just the first act alone, simply because of all the screenshots I took while playing. The game looks fantastic considering it is still in alpha, and while I don’t expect a drastic improvement from now until launch, players will surely appreciate the visual upgrade done by Vicarious Visions and Blizzard.
Press G to go back in time
If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, a simple keybind instantly shifts the game to “Classic” mode, letting you experience the original game in all its pixel-y glory. It is easy to dismiss this as a nostalgia-fueled gimmick, but it really does showcase all of the work done for the game. From the new textures and vfx to all of the added animation frames of the characters and monsters, it actually feels and looks like a whole new game with all of the charm and soul of the original.
One way to appreciate the details further is when you press F. This gives you a better view of the specific details of your character and his/her vicinity. Personally, I would do this during technical alpha to see how the developers changed a specific area from the classic version; or just to just simply appreciate how they worked hard for the art and details.
Obviously, the game is far from complete, so there are still rough patches. Nevertheless, I appreciate how Blizzard has invested so much time and effort to bring this classic back to this generation. Blizzard explicitly mentioned the absence of new cinematics, having the old cinematics as placeholders for now. If you’ve seen the recent Diablo IV trailers, you can only imagine how good they’re going to be in the final product.
It is expected that Diablo 2 Resurrected will have plenty of neat modern features like online multiplayer, console support and cross-progression. These were not yet available during the technical alpha stage, but is very likely that Blizzard will slowly introduce these features per every Alpha and Beta wave from now until launch. To be quite honest, this feels like a perfect game for the Nintendo Switch due to its portability.
Diablo 2 Resurrected is a breath of fresh air for returning players, while fans of the genre but who are new to the series will definitely want to sink their teeth and time into this classic, which has been remastered and modernized to tickle their appeal. The rich story and detailed remastered graphics are its strongest points, and based on the alpha alone, is looking to be a day one purchase.
Diablo 2 Resurrected is scheduled to release later this year for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, and PC.