Diablo II Resurrected Review

Stay awhile and read this review

By Paul Hunter

Diablo II brings back amazing nostalgic memories of university where I plunked well over a thousand hours into Blizzard's engrossing action RPG. Fast-forward 21 years and Blizzard, along with the team at Vicarious Visions, have finally brought Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction expansion to consoles—with tons of improvements that modernize everything from the graphics and sound to the gameplay.

Diablo II Resurrected delivers exactly what I'd hope for in a remake: A sweeping range of improvements that recreates the experience exactly as I remembered it. Diablo II is such an influential and timeless game, so it's exciting that fans can revisit it and newcomers can experience its magic for the first time. Let's choose our class and head on into Sanctuary, here are three things I liked about the game...and one I didn't.

Liked: Entirely Revamped Graphics

Diablo II Resurrected's headline feature is, of course, the new jaw-dropping 4K graphics. The entire game has been given a complete visual overhaul, with improved textures, lighting, spell effects, and player, NPC and enemy character models. Vicarious Vision even went one step further by converting the 2D sprite models to reborn, fully-3D ones, including new animations for attacks and spells.

To get a sense of just how impressive the rebuilt graphical assets are, the game includes a toggle button that changes the visuals back to what's in the original 2000 PC release. It made me realize just how pixelated and grainy those old graphics are, despite my brain thinking they were vividly detailed. The toggle shows you how much attention to detail was put into the recreation of the various towns, dungeons, enemies and bosses you encounter, all while staying true to the original game's vision.

Liked: Remade Cutscenes

It's not just the game's main graphics that have been reborn, all 27 minutes of the original’s cinematics have been remade shot-for-shot from the ground up. The 20-year-old CG animations were cutting-edge at the time, and while cinematics is very common in games today, it was still exciting to revisit these classic scenes with a fresh coat of paint.

The revamped cutscenes stick mainly to the same beats as the original, although there are new animations and physics that take advantage of modern technologies. Interestingly enough, the original audio track is repurposed, this time synced perfectly with the new animations. What's most impressive about this remake is how the 'core' Diablo II graphical vibe is fundamentally retained, yet major improvements have been made in so many ways to modernize the experience.

Liked: Classic Gameplay

The gameplay of Diablo II Resurrected has mostly been left intact, which is totally fine by me given how polished the original game was in this area. The biggest change, naturally, is the controls have been mapped to fit standard game controllers and everything transitioned smoothly. It's simple to navigate menus, assign item hotkeys, cash in those sweet skill points to upgrade your characters and unleash their skills and spells.

There are a number of welcome quality-of-life improvements as well to keep you in the action longer and make the gameplay more accessible. For example, gold is now automatically acquired and there's a hotkey to auto-fill your belt. You can also toggle on subtitles, increase the font sizes, customize the map opacity, and adjust the cursor sensitivity on controllers.

By and large, though, this is mainly the same action RPG gameplay as the original 2000 release. It includes all seven character classes—Amazon, Assassin, Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Paladin, and Sorceress—that each has its own unique play style and skill tree. Diablo II Resurrected also gives you the option of having your character be 'online' or 'offline' and you'll need to think carefully since you can't change your decision after the character is made.

Didn't Like: Some Dated Elements

Diablo II Resurrected gameplay feels exactly the way I remember it, warts and all. In the last 20 years, action RPG games have come a lot way to modernize and streamline the experiences, many of them ironically taking their inspiration from foundational games like Diablo II.

Some of the potential pain points of the original game persist in this remake, such as your allotted inventory space feeling a tad paltry. This is further amplified by the inability to stack items to conserve space. Additionally, being a game based on loot means you'll constantly need to go back to town to sell unwanted weapons, armour and goods as you seek to min/max your character's stats. It's admittedly satisfying to sell loot and see your coin stash grow, but it can also get tiring repeating the same loop hundreds of times over the campaign.

The Verdict

Diablo II Resurrected is an impressive remake of the classic game that manages to elevate the beloved experience of the original in virtually every way. The game's improvements in graphics and sound design, combined with its cross-progression feature, make it a must-play title for fans of action RPGs. While it does have its shortcomings, such as its outdated design elements, it still delivers a captivating and satisfying experience that is sure to keep veterans and newcomers coming back for more.

Final Score: 9/10 - Amazing

Diablo II Resurrected details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Action Role-Playing, Hack-and-Slash
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

A key was provided by the publisher.