We’re almost a month away before the release of Diablo II: Resurrected and given the iconic status of the series, the wait must be unbearable for some ‘old-timers’ who have spent countless hours of playing this game from back in the day. Thankfully, the recently concluded early access beta gave us a glimpse at what to expect before the game launches next month.
While there are quite a number of things that still need fixing up (it is still in Beta, so this is understandable), Diablo II: Resurrected looks to be taking a step in the right direction.
Welcome back to Sanctuary
The Diablo II: Resurrected Beta offers the first 2 Acts of the game for you to play through. In case you’re wondering, you can fully play through the first 2 acts, which take about 5 hours to complete, more or less, which you can work on with other players from the beta.
Five of the seven classes are made available – Paladin, Amazon, Sorceress, Druid, and Barbarian – at your disposal. Sorry Assassin and Necromancer fans, you’ll need to wait a bit longer. The classes basically plays similar to before, each with distinct playstyles and skill trees.
As for the experience itself, the first few hours of booting into the game is nothing but hard-hitting nostalgia – from the classic Blizzard logo to the loading screen that appears before you start Act I.
Immediately you’ll notice the graphical upgrade, which modernizes the game while still keeping the charm of the original intact. From the characters to the backgrounds, and even the little details like the dust particles in Act II, clearly there was much care put into remastering the game.
There are numerous quality of life upgrades made in the game, a personal favorite was that of the auto-gold pick-up and auto-sorting features, both of which are hugely welcome especially for a “looter” game such as Diablo.
Hotkeys have always been an essential tool for Diablo players and following the Diablo III lead, controls are translated well for console use. You’re free to bind commands to your Square, Triangle, Circle, X, R1, and R2 buttons and when holding down L2, you’ll have another set of open slots, effectively giving you around 12 slots to choose how to decimate your enemies.
Overburdened with bugs and old age
As expected from a beta, a number of bugs still plague the land of Tristram. While we have no idea how the PC version performed, our console experience was not the smoothest one out there.
The biggest setback here is that of lag. From the time you press a button, the action on the screen would translate fairly accurately, with almost no delay. However, it would take about a second or two before the attack actually registers damage, making it seem like you were playing on a high-ping server. For players who are familiar with how Diablo plays, this is certainly a huge worry.
Loading is also a big problem as well, with crops of land turning all white at times, with transitions between Acts making the map invisible until you restart the game.
Across our playthrough, we recorded three crashes, with one crash happening during a critical boss fight that I had to repeat again, which was very frustrating.
Apart from the bugs, the biggest thing about Diablo II: Resurrected is how “old” it feels despite the fresh coat of paint. One may chalk it up to Blizzard wanting to keep the feel faithful to the original, and in that case, they’ve succeeded. It would be hard to imagine how the game will hook new players, given that the overall feel of the game is as clunky as you remember it to be, but old-timers who are looking forward to a somewhat authentic experience can rest easy.
A step in the right direction
Diablo II: Resurrected feels like a product that aims to please the long-time fans of the game. The game modernizes some important aspects like visuals and quality of life upgrades, but at the same time keeping the charm (and hiccups) of the original.
Newcomers might be hard-pressed to dive into the game after having tried out some other similar titles with more modern features but for fans looking for another reason to head back to Tristram, Diablo II: Resurrected can surely scratch the itch.
Diablo II: Resurrected releases on September 23, 2021 for the PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. An open beta is scheduled for August 20-23.