Diablo 2: Resurrected feels more like a magic trick than a remaster

Diablo 2: Reanimated surprised me in the opening minutes of play. I wasn’t amazed since it looked so great; I was amazed since it looked precisely as I remembered it.

I’ve experienced this result in the past, most just recently when playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2. I didn’t believe these video games appeared like dirty, blocky messes when I initially played them, since they looked comparable to every other video game on the marketplace at the time. Diablo 2: Reanimated likewise looks comparable to other hack n’ slash video games readily available today, so my 2021 brain simply accepted things at stated value. Yep, this is the video game I liked in the past. I have no concept why they’re anticipating me to spend for it once again.

Which is the whole point, in fact. Whatever about the video game’s graphics has actually been upgraded and enhanced, without touching the soul of the experience itself. When done properly, that sort of rerelease constantly seems like a magic technique.

Not how it was, however how you remembered it

I’ve been playing the technical alpha of Diablo 2: Reanimated to get a sense of how the video game is occurring, and what I’ve seen after just a couple of hours makes me enthusiastic for the complete release.

Diablo 2: Reanimated is another among those Blizzard video games in which the remaster is kept as near to the initial as possible, while upgrading the appearance of the characters and environment. The video game plays the manner in which I remembered it, and initially, I likewise believed it looked the very same. Honestly, the entire thing seemed like a little a rip-off.

However then I struck the button that lets me hot-swap from the upgraded graphics to the initial, and my jaw dropped. The reality that Diablo 2 unexpectedly appears like a modern-day video game launched in 2021 isn’t a missed out on chance; it’s a gosh-danged wonder.

Diablo 2, in 2000 and in my memory, was a gritty, violent take on loot-based experience video games. In 2021, the initial appear like something Minecraft vomited up — a dirty smear of pixels and jerky movement.

The Barbarian class, prior to and after, with the upgraded variation left wing
Image: Blizzard Home Entertainment through Polygon and Image: Blizzard Home Entertainment through Polygon

The other remarkable distinction in Diablo 2: Reanimated is the variety of frames in each animation. The strolling cycle for the brand-new take on the Barbarian class looks fluid and effective. I would get out of the method if I saw that hulk lumbering towards me. The initial animation is more of a jerky stutter action, nearly making the character appear intoxicated. Is that truly what it appeared like at that time? This is the video game I invested unknown hours playing?

“This isn’t a remake,” Rod Fergusson, executive manufacturer of the Diablo franchise at Blizzard Home entertainment, informed Polygon in a current interview. “We’re not reverse-engineering it; we’re not rebuilding it and trying to make it look and sound like [Diablo 2]. This is [Diablo 2]. […] It’s right there, underneath the surface. The entire simulation, the engine for this game, that lifeblood of this game, is [Diablo 2] right underneath. So there’s a toggle switch, a legacy toggle, that when you press the button, you’ll see behind the curtains, and there is Diablo 2 in 2D sprites running right there, and you can play the way that you played 20 years ago.”

I’ve constantly valued Blizzard’s technique to its upgraded video games: The imaginative group hews extremely carefully to the initial vision for how the video game ought to play, while concentrating on upgrading enough of the video game’s design that it doesn’t appear like it’s remained in a time pill for the previous 20 years. The dive from 2D sprites to 3D designs is likewise a remarkable upgrade in fidelity; matched with the brand-new animation, each character looks a lot more alive than they performed in the initial video game.

There are some extremely creative brand-new quality-of-life updates in this variation that we’ll get to in later stories after investing some more time with the video game. However the work that has actually entered into Diablo 2: Reanimated made an instant favorable impression on me, even after just an hour or more. This isn’t the Diablo I played when I was a kid, but it’s in the same the spirit, and it feels like a warm blanket on a chilly night.

Blizzard hasn’t announced a specific release date for Diablo 2: Reanimated, however the video game is pertaining to Nintendo Change, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The alpha test was used PC.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.