Diablo II, Blizzard’s role-playing hack & slash adventure, has left a mark on a whole generation of gamers. It still warms our spirits whenever its name is mentioned.
But how come newer hack & slash titles, and Diablo III in particular, are not able to reproduce the addictive gameplay of this 2000 release? In this article, we’ve outlined a few major reasons that seperate Diablo II from the rest of the crowd.
1. Complex Simplicity
Diablo II is a very simple game to get into. The character classes, the gear, the talent tree and the fighting itself is pretty straightforward. The storyline leads you through each act with unique quests. But beyond that first layer of gaming, the player is also able to completely take control of his character in a way that most other games do not allow.
There are endless combinations of skills within the talent tree that you can develop, and use with various combinations of gear. But you’re not forced to take a complex route to experience the full value of the gameplay.
While other games, most notably Path Of Exile give you seemingly thousands of skill development paths to choose from, Diablo provides far more impactful gameplay changes with way less fuss. This is why Diablo II is equally interesting for 10 year old kids as it is to veteran gamers.
2. The Atmosphere
There is much discussion as to why Diablo III didn’t live up to the hype. The most obvious reason is due to the fact that it was compared from the start with its highly successful predecessor, and it’s hard to beat a game that has emotional strings attached to it. But there is another reason.
Diablo III lacked the gory, gothic atmosphere of Diablo II. Instead, the developers opted for cartoonish visuals with a lot of sparkley colors flashing on the screen. Diablo II had us enter a hellish nightmare, but its atmosphere was so captivating that we didn’t want to leave it.
3. Leveling Up
With a clear and simple talent tree interface and a balanced leveling system, Diablo II made us enjoy battling swarms of mobs. It made grinding actually fun and worthwhile.
Instead of avoiding low level mobs, in Diablo II we wanted to fight the mobs to get a level up. Why? Because it would allow us to unlock a cool summoning skill like “iron golem” or the powerful “bone spear”.
4. Unique Visuals
Although it was made in 2000, Diablo doesn’t look old. Sure, it doesn’t have next-gen graphics, but it’s unique style makes it seem like it was done on purpose. The fact that all the Acts are so creatively designed and are different from one another, more than makes up for the rough edges.
5. The Cut-Scenes
Blizzard has always had a knack for creating impressive animated scenes that push the storyline further. Warcraft 3 and Diablo II are the prime examples of this. The scenes that would start and end each Act were masterfully done, even by today’s standards.
It’s safe so say that Diablo II has left an eternal mark on the gaming industry. All the titles that have been released in the hack & slash genre since then, draw their inspiration from it. Some worthy examples are Titan Quest and Path Of Exile. However, Diablo II managed to combine all the crucial gameplay aspects in one gory, action-packed adventure.