Last week, Blizzard sent over some beta keys for Diablo II: Resurrected and since I haven't played the game in over 20 years, I thought I'd give it a shot. I played Diablo II back in high school so I figured it would be a fun nostalgic trip. I had fond memories playing the game with my friends over LAN, spending hours running through the world, slaying monsters, occasionally each other, and having a blast. While I never had the patience to finish the original game (Act 3 wore me out, damn Fetishes!), I played enough of it for it to be still etched in my memory.
I registered the beta key to my battle.net account, installed the game, booted it up on a Saturday evening and had a terrible time - mostly because of the unstable connection I had to the game's servers. I'm sure it's a beta-only issue, with everybody flocking to play over the weekend and stressing out their servers but it caused a lot of problems for me.
Most of my attacks weren't registering - it wasn't a gameplay issue because I was still in the first act (those enemies were supposed to be pushovers) and putting points into dex didn't help at all. I couldn't pick up loot, my character would teleport around the screen randomly, and there was once I had half the screen not load (all I saw was blank white space). To solve the attacking issue, I played the game with a Druid (I tried Barbarian at first). With the Druid, I could overcome my clicks not registering since my summons could attack enemies with no problems, all I had to do was run around in the vicinity and stay alive - not a fun way to enjoy the game.
If the game was playable offline, I'm pretty sure I would have had a better time but unfortunately, the beta doesn't have that "feature". After taking up 25 gigs of space on my hard disk you would think they could let us run the whole game offline. I wouldn't mind if we had to select an option for a "singleplayer-only" character.
I tried playing the game again on a Monday evening, and while the connection was more stable, there were the occasional spikes and very perceivable delays between attacking and seeing the enemies health bars go down. On the plus side, I didn't get disconnected from the server every few minutes so that made the experience better than on Saturday.
Technical issues aside, this Diablo II remaster has taught me one thing - action RPG games have come such a long way since Diablo II was released in 2000 and a lot of them have made many quality of life improvements since then. While playing Diablo II: Resurrected, I found myself getting annoyed by the game and its shortcomings: tiny inventory space that can be easily flooded by your potions, gems and scrolls, having to identify items, no auto-sort, only one slot for your active secondary abilities, having to manage your potions manually - and the list goes on.
The visuals were a huge improvement over the original Diablo II - but that seems to be the only thing going for it. I know that it's probably unfair to judge the remaster based on a few hours with its beta, but if I had the opportunity to play the final game with no connection issues or technical problems, I would pass on it. There's a reason why games in the genre have evolved over the years - and unless Resurrected becomes the only way to officially play Diablo II *cough*Reforged*cough*, I see no reason to pick up this game over "newer" similar titles already in the market. Even Diablo II's own sequel, Diablo III, has changed up the formula and it came out 9 years ago.
If you feel like taking a trip down memory lane to revisit the world of Sanctuary again, you have been warned - those rose tinted glasses might not be opaque enough to conceal Diablo II's flaws. Check out the Blizzard site for more info on the open beta.