Posts Tagged ‘ Video game reviews ’

Diablo 2

So in an effort to keep these posts fairly regular, I’ve decided to write a little today about some stuff I’ve been playing recently. To avoid repeating myself, I’m gonna concentrate on Diablo 2 as that’s the only thing of note I’ve been playing in the last week or so. I haven’t had an awful lot of time on my hands recently in between job interviews, worrying about my future and visiting friends so video games have taken a bit of a back seat. Nevertheless I did manage to get some ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy; a nothing term and genre but the best way to describe these types of games without saying ‘Diablo-like’ or ‘like an RPG’) action with Diablo 2 although I’ve not played a huge amount of the game I wanted to write about it nonetheless.

Diablo 2

The second installment in the popular Blizzard franchises is often regarded, at least from what I’ve seen, as the strongest game in the series. I’ve got the impression from various forums and online communities that Diablo 3 was seen as a little weak in some departments and ultimately failed to live up to the hype it generated. It can’t have been helped by the catastrophic launch, insistence of ‘always online’ and the real money Auction House. Anyway, I’ve never actually played Diablo 3 due to PC limitations (I have a very poor laptop) so when I got a strange ARTS itch me and a friend bought Diablo 2 a few years ago. The results were, well, pretty great actually. To start, the game looks extremely dated despite being only 14 years old. However that doesn’t change what the game is. A fun ARTS with exactly what you would expect; lots of enemies, lots of clicking and lots of stat and gear comparison. The classes are all fairly varied, I haven’t manged to play a whole lot of the game but I’ve played Paladin, Barbarian and Sorceress whilst a friend I played co-op with went Necromancer so I have experienced most of the classes available. I must say, I had most fun probably with the Barbarian. Jumping about using my massive strength and vitality to hit things in the face was very rewarding. I usually go for caster types in RPGs so I tried the Sorceress initially but in my experience playing sorceress involves a lot of running backwards as most things will kill you very swiftly. I feel the Sorceress would benefit from increased ease of spell switching. Changing spells in combat is fiddly and can easily get you killed, making this easier would allow Sorceress to be more usable in my opinion. You could use ice to slow enemies before blasting them with fire, for example. Paladin is also pretty cool, kind of like the Barbarian but with more focus on abilities. He has a lot of auras as well, which is why I picked him to use with my friends Necromancer in co-op. Overall the classes have their unique aspects which make them individually attractive depending on your preferred playstyle.

I will say one thing, this game is pretty tough. Some enemies will completely murder you and even the smallest of enemies can be threatening in large numbers. In fact, me and my friend never got past Duriel (the Act II boss) on Normal difficulty in co-op. After some reading we discovered that Duriel is considered the hardest boss on Normal difficulty to his massive melee damage, freezing aura and cramped dwelling where the fight takes place. We were unprepared for the Duriel Pain Train and got totally wrecked again and again. After reading that the only way to progress would be to ‘grind some cold resistance gear’ we promptly lost motivation for the game. Not a great indicator but this is an older game and back in the day you learnt from your mistakes. We’ll get back to it one day probably, we shall defeat Duriel yet. Meanwhile I have been playing a little more recently on my own, and it’s going pretty well so far. Maybe I’ll finally beat that goon this time round, I’ve been watching out for cold resist gear specially.

Of course Diablo 2 is not without its faults. Like I have already said, the graphics are very dated although this isn’t a huge issue. Enemy models are consistently reused within Acts with a simple palette swap and more HP being used in place of enemy variety, which is a little problem. Duriel presents the need for some balance tweaks as he is probably a little hard to have so early in the game. Other than this though, there are no glaring faults with the game. Diablo 2 is a game that rewards a great amount of time being put into it. Being more leveled will make the game a little smoother and completing quests with the bare minimum of enemy killing will lead to slow progression through the large ability trees. There are a lot of abilities available and choosing where to spend your points can be a tricky decision and you want to accrue as many levels as possible to fully explore the ability trees to their fullest potential. I probably haven’t put the required amount of time into Diablo 2 yet to reap it’s fullest rewards but I sure am enjoying the journey so far.

In short, I would recommend Diablo 2. It’s a bit of a classic these days and it’s always nice to play a game considered a classic for the first time and see what you think of it. Diablo 2 lives up the hype for me, it’s a solid ARTS from Blizzard with the opportunity to sink hours and hours of your life into it. Be warned, Diablo 2 could consume you.

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