Where are you at separating art from artist? Maybe you thought about it when you wondered whether to watch a Roman Polanski movie or listen to a Michael Jackson album – and God knows art history would indeed be impoverished if we stripped it off. of all his monsters. There is never an easy answer. In the wake of recent appalling revelations about the studio’s “frat boy” culture, this is now a question we must ask ourselves about Blizzard games as well.
In some ways, this beautifully produced Diablo 2 remaster is unlucky to be Blizzard’s first release since the State of California filed a lawsuit against the studio. Much of the work was done by Vicarious Visions, a flawless outfit only incorporated into Blizzard earlier this year. (Indeed, its former studio boss Jen Oneal was recently named co-lead of Blizzard, a new broomstick presumably intended to lead the reform there.) Additionally, the original 2000 game was directed by Blizzard North, a stand-alone studio quite distinct from SoCal. mothership. Diablo 2 is an adopted child from Blizzard culture at best. But Diablo also helped set the tone for Blizzard, with its no-more metal aesthetic, kitchen sink lore, cutting-edge online multiplayer, and endgame of abysmal depth and complexity.
It seems important to present all of this, but it is not for me, as a reviewer, to tell you what you think of Blizzard games in 2021. It can only be a personal choice. Personally, as someone who enjoys the studio’s games, I am conflicted and still undecided. But I left it untouched for the rest of my review.
That’s not to say that I don’t have complicated feelings about Diablo 2: Resurrected for different reasons. Diablo 2 is a game beast that, 21 years later, still casts a long shadow – over the tortured development of its successor (a fate Diablo 4 doesn’t seem to have escaped either), and over the action-RPG genre it defined. As influential as it has been, it is a singular, bloody, almost clumsy, and decidedly non-modern work.
The important thing to know about Diablo 2: Resurrected is that it has done next to nothing to change that, for better or for worse (spoilers: it’s both). You get a few minor but important quality-of-life changes, including a shared stash for your characters to exchange loot, automatic gold pickup, and – since the game now has console versions – well-implemented support. of the gamepad. But that’s the limit of what the developers have allowed themselves for fear of altering its character too much. You are still playing the Tetris item in a small inventory grid. You’re still running towards your corpse, empty-handed and heart in your mouth, to retrieve your armor, weapons, and money when you die. You are always browsing a list of public games with scrambled titles like ONLYDURIELPLS in the lobby if you want to play online. You’re still limited to only one respec per difficulty level – and if you end up with a character build you don’t like after that, too bad. This purist attitude is certainly the right decision, but it comes at a cost that goes beyond the realm of difficulty and game balance. For example, local cooperative play on consoles, such a delight in Diablo 3, unfortunately did not implemented here, as that would have stretched the game too far out of shape. In fact, it would have required a fundamentally different approach.
Diablo 2’s line of heroes is one for the ages – most of them are memorable twists on well-worn archetypes.
To understand why, you have to look under the hood of this unique remake. Luckily, Blizzard let you do that with the push of a single button, instantly revealing the game as it was in 2000 – pixelated, grainy, isometric, low-res, and very two-dimensional. This is not a remaster in today’s most widely understood sense: the original in-game assets, updated or redesigned to perform with greater fidelity on modern hardware. It’s not exactly a remake either: the original game content remade from scratch, with varying degrees of fidelity, in a brand new engine. It exists as the latter, but only as a silly 3D audiovisual overlay that mimics the 2D game logic output of the original game that runs underneath. This is the game you are actually playing. Your detailed 3D avatar reaches out to hit the monster next to her, but it’s the big pixels below (or rather the calculations that run below) that determine whether the hit connects or not.
It’s a fascinating approach that leads to a remarkably faithful recreation. Aesthetic achievement is one thing: it amazes me that the artists, working with clean modern rendering and lighting, have succeeded in invoking the grimy, textured, twilight twilight atmosphere of the original pixel art, where sinister details are hinted at. fleetingly in the midst of darkness. The feeling is even more remarkable. With the preservation of the original game logic behind the scenes, Diablo 2: Resurrected retains all of the characteristics of the 2000 game, from your character’s fast and steep run to whipcrack speed and binary flatness of interactions.
Diablo 2 is fast. Despite all the sophistication of his character construction and his dizzying game of objects, runic words and all, he plays with brutal simplicity. When playing with the mouse and keyboard, you still only have two skills available at a time on the mouse buttons and are forced to use function keys to change others. You rarely will, relying on a single attack for most situations and optimizing your character build. and gear around. Overwhelmed by fleeing creatures, you pound furiously, sending potions to maintain your health and mana through tougher fights. (Console and joystick gaming allows you to assign multiple skills to the face buttons, Diablo 3 style, and it can expand your combat flexibility and loosen up your playstyle a bit; I recommend trying, but I wouldn’t call it a game- changing.)
The action can always be gripping in its ferocity and tenacious in its bite. There is of course a lot of math behind this urgent frenzy, although for some reason (and other Diablo games are, to be fair) the flickering tower of increasing numbers tends to switch from easy, painless carnage to squeaky frustration in the blink of an eye.
That sums up Diablo 2 – it’s a very binary game. It’s either one thing or another: easy or difficult, gluttonous or minimalist, brainless action or deep theory. I am glad that it has been preserved exactly as it always has been in this almost flawless and well-specified revival. (It’s not Warcraft 3: Reforged – it’s completely remade CG cutscenes, remastered sound, cross-progression between formats, works.) But I dare wonder if he’s aged this well. Diablo 3 has been heavily criticized for not being Diablo 2, and indeed it is not. It has a fluid, elastic and rhythmic combat that emphasizes situational awareness and a complementary suite of skills. Its character build gives you the freedom to tinker with, explore, and express yourself, rather than sending yourself to the internet to create an optimized version lest you go wrong and ruin your character for another dozen or so days. time. He even has some self-awareness about Diablo’s tortured edgelord styles.
Diablo 2 is starting to look like a relic: a beautiful, intricately carved, historically significant, polished and carefully restored relic here, but a relic all the same. I think I could put it back in its velvet lined box.
Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-10-05-diablo-2-resurrected-review-faithful-revival-of-an-uncompromising-classic