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July 28, 2008 | by  | in Games |
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Diablo 2

Developer: Blizzard North
Publishers: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: RPG

Classic Games that won’t break the Budget Diablo 2. RPG without the D&D bullshit

Pure and utter ecstasy is what I felt when I heard Diablo 3 had just been announced. So many memories of killing demons in the depths of Tristam flooded back as I reminisced over the many hours that I neglected my friends and health status, developing the character of my dreams. The original Diablo, the quintessential hack and slash role playing game, was based on one ideal: kill demons with a mouse. Lots of them. (while procrastinating from facing your inner ones, perfect!)

Its successor, Diablo 2 and its expansion pack Lord of Destruction, improved the basic formula while adding everything an action loving human could possibly want in a role-playing game. Fuck choosing from 30 classes, what star sign you were born under and how many ‘Personality’ points you have. The beauty of Diablo 2 is that it is simple and entertaining to pick up while still offering an amazing amount of depth and complexity. Pick a class. Pick an internet alter-ego (‘ManWithActualMuscle’ or ‘LadysMan2000’) and you are away. You could choose the amazon, who is dexterous and loves playing with a large wooden rod and a twanger. The paladin, who is in touch with Jesus and can use God to attack demons. The barbarian, who has muscles like Arnie in Predator and can handle an enormous axe. The sorceress, who could pass as a ‘legitimate’ tarot card reader and throws balls of fire. Or finally the necromancer, who enjoys rotten corpses and can raise the dead. Each has his or her own strengths, weaknesses and strategy attached.

Diablo 2 is a standard RPG in the fact that you gain experience for killing shit and can build a character to your own preference.

However it flags the ridiculous and cumbersome complexity of D&D inspired RPG’s (take that Neverwinter Nights fans!) and replaces it with a simple premise, every level you gain you get a skill point. Every character has three general areas of expertise, each containing a tree structure of skills. One can choose to focus on any one of these areas, trees or branches. This allows for an incredibly diverse range of character builds and with randomly generated maps, Diablo 2 becomes infinitely replayable (whether arthritis will allow you to continue to play is another issue). There are a ridiculous amount of different characters you can make, such as a Zealot (a Paladin that predominately uses Zeal), or a Javazon (an Amazon who focuses on javelins).

The game is separated into 4 different acts, each with its own unique quests and locale. The first seems to model a fucked up version of the English countryside, featuring strangely arousing ‘Corrupt Rogue’ demons and small pussy red things which could be pwned by a baby with a candy stick. The end quest of Act 1 involves dispatching the most irritable, ratty bitch of a demon ever invented, Andariel. From that point on you are on a path to destroy the Greater Evils, namely Diablo, Baal and Mephisto.

Now let’s be frank, these fuckers are tough and require a crippling amount of clicking to destroy. If your fingers are up to the challenge, you will visit a Middle Eastern city in Act 2, a city with a South American feel in Act 3 and have a casual visit to Hell in Act 4. Just make sure you don’t have to solve any intense differential equations by pen in the days afterward.

Hell may be pretty damn awesome to visit but the real gem that makes this game a lasting classic is the internet co-op mode and Battle.Net. The internet service doesn’t cost a penny (fuck you too World of Warcraft) and you can play through the entire game as a team, h4xing as many monsters as your team of nerds can handle. You can also be an unfriendly mofo and fight your fellow players in any location ya like. It is easy to use, fast and generally a damn good way to spend a Saturday night.

As I write this review, I am slowly making my way through (alone… always alone) the game as a druid. About a year after Diablo 2 was originally released, the expansion pack Lord of Destruction was unleashed. It added a new act, new demons and new items. It also added 2 new characters, the druid and the assassin. The druid is this crazy pagan (HERETIC!) guy who can turn into a werewolf and summon bears and wolves. The assassin is a sleek sassy young lass who can use traps to take out her opponents. Bloody good stuff old chap.

Final word: Sick of those pussy NPCs who talk about elves and mystical folklore for five hours in a D&D RPG? Fuck all that complex bullshit, grinding and intense graphical resolutions. Log off and get Diablo 2. Then try finding me on Battle.Net. I’ll most probably be alone. As usual. Fuck.

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