We are fully aware that, for some fans, saying that we prefer to play Diablo (or most ARPGs) with a controller, is heresy, but it's the truth. This is not the first time that Diablo has been playable with a controller, but it was with the launch of Diablo III on consoles that Blizzard fully realised the potential of Diablo being played with a controller. Blizzard didn't just change the mouse and keyboard controls to work with a controller, they changed behaviors, mechanics, and even added new movements to make the game play as a great controller-based action game.
While Diablo II: Resurrected is not quite at that level, it supports gameplay with a controller, not only on the consoles, but also on the PC, and it's works great. Playing with a controller was the highlight of our experience with this alpha version of Diablo II: Resurrected, but it wasn't the only thing we enjoyed. Although dated in many ways, Diablo II is still a special game, and we're sure it will be addictive, even if the nostalgia factor also plays a part.
This Diablo II: Resurrected is a remaster, not a remake. Underneath all this is still the 2000 game, following the same limited animation frame times, the same enemy behavior, and the same game systems, including inventory management, character progression, and of course, tons of loot. The changes, in addition to the controller support, mainly involve graphic and sound improvements, plus the introduction of some quality of life options.
This new version supports resolutions up to 4K, and this is possible thanks to new 3D models of the characters, high resolution textures, and much superior effects for spells and abilities. The animations have been reworked, although, as mentioned above, they remain stuck to the same frame times, preventing the game from presenting itself in a more fluid manner. Still, it is visually a game much closer to current standards, and if you have any doubt of that, just press the Legacy mode button to change it back to the original graphics - it's scary how bad it looks now-a-days.
The game interface has also been changed and refined, getting closer to the layout of modern games. It will be easier to arrange the inventory, change pieces of gear, and explore the various skills and attributes you will unlock for you character. Better yet, the game interface is different depending on whether you're playing with mouse and keyboard or a controller, and it works wonderfully in both ways.
In this alpha version, only three characters were available - Sorceress, Amazon, and Barbarian - and it was only possible to play two of the campaigns acts. But that was enough to understand the current state of the game and Blizzard's goal for this remaster. This is truly Diablo II "resurrected," the original experience adapted to modern platforms, not a new game, and most importantly, it's not a modern game. For better or worse, this is still the Diablo II we knew.
It's true that over the past 21 years the ARPG genre has evolved immensely, but we don't think it's fair to ask Diablo II: Resurrected to present itself at the same level of those games. If you're looking for that, you'll be disappointed. Still, it holds up as a great game, with a phenomenal Gothic atmosphere, and a memorable soundtrack. It's a true classic, and like all great classics, it manages to remain relevant in a timeless manner. Although the nostalgia factor plays an undeniable role in this equation, we look forward to getting our hands on the final version of Diablo II: Resurrected.
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