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Retro Games - Diablo 2

by: Daniel Barros ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This article re-introduces Diablo 2 to the Diablo 3 generation with talking points including the style of the game and what sort of influence it has established in the PC community.

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    Diablo 3?

    If you have a connection to the gaming community at large, you'll have seen recently that Blizzard announced a return to its ever-popular Diablo series. And while we've covered the original Diablo here at Brighthub, it's time to delve a little deeper into the sequel that had managed to quiet even the biggest Diablo purists.

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    It All Started with 3 Demons

    Diablo 2 is well-renown for a couple of things. First of all, for the time it was released in, the gameplay provided was not exactly a revolutionary leap forward from the original, but it was enough of an evolution to garner praise. Secondly, the graphics featured were in what's commonly known as isometric view, which isn't a true 3D camera, but rather an inclined camera that gives the game the look of being fully 3D when it isn't.

    Diablo 2 was released on June 29th, 2000, or in other words, just last month, the game turned eight years old. It's interesting to note that even though the graphics look dated, the game itself still has a massive cult-like following amongst gamers who grew up playing it online. As a matter of fact, when Diablo 3 was announced, the NPD (group who counts game sales numbers) announced that the sales of Diablo 2 Battlechests (an all-inclusive and definitive edition of the game) were off the charts.

    For many who played Diablo 2, the story also proved to be an exquisitely twisting (if overly linear) tale. Involving the three "Prime Evils" of the world, known as Diablo, Baal, and Mephisto, the single-player game thrust the player into the role of a hero (who was custom-selected from five different classes) and who was tasked initially with smaller quests building up to encountering the three prime evils, vanquishing them, and encasing their essence in "soulstones". Ultimately, the quest to vanquish all three of the Prime Evils takes your hero from a gothic-inspired village all the way to the depths of Hell. In the end, the hero defeats the final Prime Evil (Diablo) and saves the world from their influence and destruction. The narrative however, actually is told in-between acts with FMV (full-motion-video) cut-scenes that follow a mysterious hooded man (believed to be the protagonist from the first game) as he follows the Prime Evils eventually becoming insane and being killed by Baal at the end of the game after Baal had extracted the information he needed from the hooded man.

    Diablo 2 firmly cemented the developer, Blizzard's position atop one of the thrones of PC gaming. The game was a huge success, garnering much attention and glowing reviews. Of particular interest to the reviewers at the time were the skill trees that the characters could level up through, achieving cool new skills that usually translated into use in-game. The success of the game was so great that the game was expanded upon in an expansion titled Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. Where the original game had four acts, the expansion added a fifth act, with some extra story.

    In the expansion to Diablo 2, after the player has defeated Diablo, he is sent after Baal as he is attempting to destroy a key part of the world called the worldstone. After a series of quests ranging from amazing to superfluous, the player is finally sent into Baal's lair to save the world once again.

    The expansion to Diablo 2 did a number of things correctly. It expanded upon the original game by adding story, by adding items and weapons for the player to collect, as well as fixing a number of gameplay issues that plagued the original. Also, the expansion brought with it two new character classes for the player to choose from when starting the game (original classes were also supported).

    With time however, people began to get tired of Diablo's single-player experience and moved into the online arena. There, Diablo 2 became a loot-collection simulator. You see, the way the game worked was that people would go around collecting loot off the corpses of the monsters they defeated, then equipping those items in a nicely-designed inventory screen. However, the real fun of playing the game online was to quest for extremely rare items; these rare items had a color-coding system to them, the rarest items were gold, and online players also often sought green, or set items.

    And there you have it. Diablo 2 in a nut shell. The game was immensely successful - so much so that they're releasing the third game sometime in the future (near future if we're lucky!). If you haven't played it, you owe it to yourself as a PC gamer reading this to go out and grab a copy - I know mine's sitting comfortably in my bookcase.

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    Diablo 2's Isometric View Looking a Little DatedDiablo 2 - Revolutionary for its Time