Diablo 2: Resurrected, the tried and true beta of Blizzard's most popular action RPG

Diablo 2: Resurrected, the tried and true beta of Blizzard's most popular action RPG

Diablo 2

Considering the drama Blizzard Activision has sunk into these days, the probable postponement of Overwatch 2 to after 2022 and now the sacking of Jesse McCree, lead designer of Diablo 4, we suspected that Diablo 2: Resurrected would be postponed to sudden, or that a WarCraft III: Reforged-style mess would come out. And instead, not only is the release still confirmed for next September 23, but after testing the open beta in the PlayStation 5 version last weekend, we can say with due caution that Blizzard's new work would seem to do justice to the iconic. masterpiece released twenty-one years ago. However, if the title takes its age well, that's a different matter, and in our tried-and-true Diablo 2: Resurrected we will focus especially on this very important issue.

The new look of Diablo 2

Diablo 2: Resurrected, spells and abilities have new visual effects You've had over twenty years to play Diablo 2, and in the meantime a thousand thousand clones and Diablo 3 have come out, so we expect you to know at least the basics, that you know at least a little about how a loot-focused action RPG works. We will not dwell much on the gameplay in this tried, in short, and for those who do not know what genre Diablo 2: Resurrected belongs to we can make it short by saying that in this action hordes of enemies are mangled, tons of objects are collected and the skills and the right equipment to make your way into the bowels of Sanctuarium, the dark world in which the story takes place, which we will be called to defend from the invasion of the infernal legions.

It's all extremely dark and bloody, but also epic and compelling, and you can find out if the atmosphere of the game is for you, even if you haven't booked it, as early as August 20, when it will be possible participate in the open beta and download the game for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC. For the moment there is no beta for Nintendo Switch, although the game will also be released for the hybrid platform of the great N.

We played the closed beta on PlayStation 5 as the Enchantress, one of the five playable characters during this test: the others are the Druid, the Paladin, the Amazon and the Barbarian, while for the Assassin and the Necromancer it will be necessary to wait for the release. The first impact with the new version of Diablo 2 was strange, but very positive, especially because it is not a real "remastering": Blizzard has basically rebuilt the look of the game, replacing the original rendered sprites of the new 3D models. in Diablo 3 and Diablo 4 style. Net of some slightly too rigid animation, the new graphics, embellished with state-of-the-art lighting and particle effects, significantly improves the experience for those approaching the game for the first time. Nostalgics can always switch to the old 2D look in an instant, as the game running under Resurrected is essentially the old Diablo 2.

Diablo 2: Resurrected, inventories in comparison This restyling has also affected the cinematics in computer graphics and the overall resolution of the game, which now runs at 4K and ... well, not quite 60 frames per second. It is in fact possible to choose between two display modes, Performance and Quality, as happens in many other games. The Quality mode runs at 4K but does not hold up to 60 frames and in general there is some drop in frame rate in the most hectic situations. Playing in Performance mode this doesn't happen, but the price to pay is a lower image resolution. It's a pretty worrying compromise if we think the game should run on PlayStation 4 and Switch too, but it's also true that we don't know how old the closed beta build is, and the situation could improve as early as next testing weekend.

Diablo 2: Resurrected, a screenshot of the graveyard From this point of view, in fact, we must admit that the tested build had more than a few small bugs, especially at the interface level, not to mention the console experience multiplayer proved to be severely limited by a number of unjustified absences compared to the PC version. If in the latter it is possible to open and customize a multiplayer room, which will then appear in a list visible to all players who intend to participate in a multiplayer session, on the console instead it is all automated in Diablo 3 style and it is therefore not possible to search or filter the multiplayer sessions in progress.

In the same way, it is not possible to communicate if not using systems external to the game, whereas in the PC version the functionality of the chat window has even been improved. Considering that Diablo 2: Resurrected implements a multiplayer mode for eight players, it is clear that it would have been better to be able to use the same functions also on consoles, although it is possible to circumvent these limitations by organizing with friends or software like Discord or similar.

Old-time gameplay?

Diablo 2: Resurrected, the Enchantress is one of seven playable characters It's a difficult question to answer, so it's worth a few considerations first. If it is true that Blizzard has veered strongly towards an action drift with its Diablo 3, making many fans of the prequel turn up their noses, it is equally true that the 2012 title was designed to be much more accessible and immediate, and in doing so it has conquered a plethora of new players, who have made it successful even at its first and controversial release, then cementing it with the release of the excellent expansion Reaper of Souls.

Diablo 2: Resurrected already makes its debut complete with the Lords of Destruction expansion and therefore in its most refined form, but despite this it remains a product of the early 2000s, a prototype of a genre that over time has reinvented itself to adapt to the needs of players and the market. If the first impact with the new look is therefore positive, the one with the gameplay, many years later, especially if you have passed through Diablo 3 or other titles like Path of Exile, it is not the same.

Diablo 2 : Resurrected, the meeting with Tyrael Mind you, Diablo 2 is a significantly more RPG experience than Diablo 3. There is less variety of skills and combinations, and resetting builds is neither immediate nor instant, but much more cumbersome, reason so the assignment of the skill points earned at each level up, which must also be distributed among the main statistics of the character, requires careful reflection on the path you want to take in the game. For this reason several hours pass before the player begins to feel the improvements, also because the difficulty curve is balanced in a different way: it is much steeper than in Diablo 3, also because it forces the player to manage the limited inventory, to choose the loot to collect and save space and return to the hubs.

Forget the convenient city portal: here you must first find the scrolls, which take up space in the inventory, while the transport network between the maps is much less widespread. Also add a less linear progression, made up of more cryptic assignments, and you will realize that some vintage edginess today are struggling to have reason for being.

Diablo 2: Resurrected, clash in the catacombs Diablo 2 is a title even more sober than its successor. The spells and abilities, although visually improved compared to 2000, are however less striking and in the first hours of the game it lacks that exciting feeling of control of the battlefield that Diablo 3 granted almost immediately with its pyrotechnic moves. Diablo 2: Resurrected runs slower than any other title in its genre. Loot does not rain in pans, most items must first be identified with the appropriate scrolls, which also take up space in the inventory, along with healing potions that cannot be stacked in a single slot. For all these reasons, playing or replaying Diablo 2 today can be quite traumatic, and the reasoned growth and management of the character pays off in the long run.

Diablo 2: Resurrected, fire and flames We're not sure what the decision to make. Blizzard to respect the original experience as much as possible was a wise move, but in the end it would not have made sense to distort a game so loved precisely because it is hardcore. According to the Irvine programmers, Diablo 2: Resurrected exists to be something of a foretaste, as Diablo 4 will be spiritually closer to this remastered episode than the third installment. And despite this, the guys from Vicarious Visions who took care of the project could not help but add here and there some small improvements to the quality of life, for example by increasing the number of options that allow you to customize the game experience or by redesigning the overlay maps.

We also really liked the remapped control system for the joypads. Accustomed as we are to playing Diablo 3 with mouse and keyboard, we immediately felt at home with DualSense in hand and within a few seconds we learned how to move around Sanctuary and use the various key combinations to open menus and cast spells.

Diablo 2: Resurrected, the multiplayer mode supports up to eight players All in all, the hours we spent with the Diablo 2: Resurrected open beta were enjoyable, but it is a subjective feeling that depends on various factors . We already knew the game and remembered how to move in the two initial acts available in closed beta, we knew which skill to choose to be more effective at the beginning of the adventure and, above all, we had a great desire for Diablo. But as much fun as this walk on the boulevard of memories was, we struggle to imagine ourselves playing for hundreds of hours in the Resurrected version for the simple fact that we have already given the turn of the millennium and the angularity of a game dynamics old twenty ' years are felt too much. We advise everyone to try the upcoming open beta to get a better idea, or at least to understand how much this dive into the past can do for them.

Diablo 2 was and remains a title of indisputable value, and the new graphics embellish it even more, but after having tasted the freedom and facilities granted by Diablo 3 and other titles of the same genre, it is difficult to take a step back. Fortunately, the open beta will give everyone the opportunity to better understand their relationship with the more hardcore nature of this historic game before purchasing, in the hope that Blizzard will be able to solve some bugs, improve the optimization a little and above all review the console multiplayer interface before launch in late September. As things stand, it might be difficult but not impossible.


The new look of Sanctuarium is well-finished The joypad control system works perfectly It's Diablo 2, an absolute masterpiece Doubts of the genre Diablo 2 still has twenty years on its shoulders and some sharp edges of the gameplay are strongly noticed that new players may not like. The multiplayer mode on console is to be reviewed Have you noticed any errors?

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