This is a post I’ve been wanting to make for a little while. But, I decided to spend quite a bit of time with the game before sharing my thoughts. I’ll start by saying that Diablo is one of my favorite gaming franchises. So when I learned that a remaster of the classic Diablo II was being developed – I was beyond excited. That excitement only increased the more I learned about the project. For starters, Diablo II: Resurrected is a TRUE remaster. This means that the underlying game is virtually untouched. Everything in this updated version still works exactly as it did twenty plus year ago. There’s been no adjustments to balance or content. What we have here are audio and visual updates, improved net-code, and minor quality of life improvements. It should also go without saying, but this remaster bundles both the original Diablo II and its expansion into one definitive package.
The first thing most players will notice about Diablo II Resurrected are the modern 3D visuals. With support for resolutions up to 4K, this game is absolutely stunning. In fact, it looks just as good as Diablo III (at least in my opinion). Interestingly enough, this visual update actually sits on top of the original 2D sprites and can be toggled on and off at will. So players who want the original retro experience, are also in luck.
Almost every aspect of the classic D2 gameplay is unchanged. However, there are a couple notable exceptions. The biggest is the introduction of the “shared stash”. In the original Diablo II, players had a special treasure chest where they could stash excess loot. But this stash was restricted to each individual character. Taking a cue from Diablo III, the remaster adds a few extra tabs to the stash. These extra tabs can contain items that are accessible to multiple characters. Personally, I find this to be a very welcome change. Players were always able to get around this restriction by using mule characters to hold and drop items in online games. But the process to do so was tedious. Now, there’s no need for such measures.
Other quality of life updates pale in comparison to the shared stash, but they are still welcome additions. For example, gold can now be picked up by simply walking over the pile – saving players from having to mouseover and click. There’s also a few updated tool tips and reminders that only serve to enhance the experience without making any real changes to the gameplay itself.
I’m actually glad that Blizzard didn’t get it into their head to make a lot of wild changes with this remaster. Additional content in re-releases can sometimes feel shoe-horned in or even upset the balance of the original game. What we have here is an actual “enhancement” without rethinking the wheel. I’m sure some players will feel slighted by this, but just as many of us cheer the decision. This update really is Diablo II through-and-through. Don’t believe me? How about this… you can even import your original savegame files. That’s right! That twenty-year old Necromancer file you’ve had sitting on a CD-R can finally see the light of day again. This is something that’s almost unheard of in modern gaming.
This is a re-release done right. I recommend Diablo II: Resurrected to anyone interested in experiencing this classic game. This is now the definitive version of Diablo II, no question about it. And for the first time it’s also available on almost every major console.