Diablo 2 is a delightful 20-year-old hack and slash game that received its first and sadly only expansion set, Lord of Destruction, in 2001. It added a whole new game area, two new character classes, and a lot of new items and upgraded the resolution to a whopping 800×600!
After the events of Diablo 1, a dark wanderer has appeared in the world of Sanctuary, leaving destruction behind. Soon enough, it is up to you to slay everything on your way until you rid the world of Baal, the Lord of Destruction himself. You can choose your hero from seven different classes: amazon, assassin, barbarian, paladin, druid, necromancer, and sorceress. Each character has unique skills providing variety for gameplay and character building. Some are better fit for physical fighting and some for summoning and spell casting, but many are versatile.
The gameplay is simple: point the cursor on the monster, click until it is dead, loot the corpse and repeat ad infinitum. This game speaks directly to the hunter-gatherer in me. As you progress, the game becomes more difficult, and that means you need better gear to survive.
Diablo 2 has three difficulty levels: normal, nightmare, and hell. The two latter ones are unlocked only after beating the game in the previous difficulty. Each difficulty has stronger enemies, the player’s resistances lowered, and the loot better.
Another way to add challenge and excitement is playing the game in the hardcore mode, which means that once you die, you die for good. While some classes can survive through hell solely by relying on their skill, the game is very gear dependent, especially on hardcore mode.
I have always played this game in the standard mode where you can die indefinitely with little to no penalty, so for this round, I chose to play it in the hardcore mode. After investing tens of hours into the game, dying will bring heartache as all those precious pieces of gear and items will be gone forever. While the gameplay is riskier, it is more interesting. Because I did not want to die, I progressed very, very slowly. The possibility of being killed by a fast monster lurking in the shadows still made that trudge thrilling.
Diablo 2 is essentially about collecting things and becoming more efficient in that. Most items are junk, but some of them can be useful in crafting. Equipment can be crafted and upgraded or socketed with gems, runes, and jewels that give different properties. The downside is that the space to store these lovely items and crafting materials is very limited. You have to learn what is worth keeping quickly. Inventory managing becomes arduous when you start finding a lot of great loot, yet it is oddly satisfying. How am I supposed to choose between treasure when they all spark joy?
All screenshots taken by the author.
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard North
Platform: PC/ Macintosh
Release Date: 30.6.2000/ 29.6.2001
Genre: Action role-playing, Hack and Slash,