No, that title’s not a typo. It’s a review of Diablo 2. The author is a guy who had just somehow never played D2 before, and with D3 coming up he figured it was high time.

    I have a confession to make. I never played Diablo II back when it was released. I always loved PC gaming, but this was one series that – despite the acclaim heaped upon it, I never got around to playing. This year – ahead of playing through the Diablo III beta at Blizzard – I decided to change all that.

    I haven’t played much of anything else since.

    Diablo II holds up incredibly well. Sure, many of its mechanics feel a little antiquated, and learning its systems and building cohesive characters is trickier than you might expect, but it’s that complexity, that variety and the fact that randomness is baked into the game at a fundamental level, that make it so rewarding and so ridiculously addictive.

    …Mind you, the beauty of Diablo II is that your strategy – whatever it may be – won’t work in every situation. If you’re facing Diablo himself as a summoning necro, for instance, you’re in for a tough battle. He fires out waves of flames which can decimate all your supporting characters almost instantly. You need to find ways to slow him (cold damage and Decrepify) and pull focus (golem!) while you try and do damage, making sure you have a town portal open so you can get back to your corpse and the fight when you – inevitably – die.

    That last quoted paragraph made me laugh. In agreement, since that’s one of the things I liked about D2; that you had to make choices and that building a character to do X well meant you’d be less good at Y or Z. That’s one reason I (and many others, including beta testers) worry about long term replayability in D3, thanks to the freespecs allowing constant changing to fit every situation.

    However you project that issue to resolve itself (and we don’t know enough about how freespecs and rune attuning will work late game to project accurately), it’s interesting that something this reviewer praises in D2 is a feature the D3 team worked assiduously to remove.

    More generally, do you guys know anyone who will be entirely new to the Diablo series in Diablo III? (Aside from all the WASDing WoW noobs in the F&F beta now, of course.) Should that be allowed? How did a computer gaming fan never get around to playing D2 at some point during the past 10 years?

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