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Capsule Review - Diablo II

Title Diablo II
Developer Blizzard
Year 2001
Platform PC
Capsule Rating
Capsule Review: The good news? It's Diablo. The same adrenaline rush when cautiously navigating corners. The same piles of monster corpses left in one's wake. The same hunting for adjective-festooned weapons and armor. And better still, there's now five classes (seven if you picked up the expansion). Each class has a whole skill tree instead of just one largely useless skill. Classes are balanced out better. There are many more settings and locales to explore instead of just four. Dungeons are randomly generated. Free online play is back. You can play at higher difficulty settings, including an insane one where you aren't allowed to resurrect yourself after dying. And people can't just murder you for kicks, as they could and often did in the original game.

The bad news? It's Diablo. The title leaves nothing to the imagination - this is indeed Diablo II, a complete repeat of the sudden success that was the formula of the original game. There are plenty of new additions to keep you interested, but they're ornamental; there are no major changes like between Warcraft and Starcraft. If you liked Diablo (and how could you not?), you'll like Diablo II without a doubt. If you got bored with Diablo at some point, though (and how could you not?), you might get bored with its sequel even quicker. After all, since one knows exactly what to expect from the game, it won't take long to come to the point where one has exhausted all of the game's possibilities, and can only mindlessly slog through the same monsters over and over. Diablo introduced some amazing innovations; the sequel can only make them a little more colourful. It's unlikely that it will provoke the same thrill the original did when one first entered Tristram's cathedral, ran from goat demons in the catacombs, picked off acid beasts in the caves, and dodged fireballs in hell. The adrenaline might be there in spades, but the feeling of novelty, of wandering somewhere completely unexplored is not. And furthermore, the sequel lacks the amazingly small size of the original - where the original only required 4 MB of hard drive space, the sequel is a huge resource hog, and may well be much slower and buggier for those of us who didn't buy a state-of-the-art computer for the occasion. Bottom line: if you missed out on the original somehow, this is certainly worth your time, but it's more or less a case of Blizzard resting on their laurels.

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