Is the atmosphere in diablo the best of any a dark fantasy role playing games?

Ultimatium

Diabloii.Net Member
So, one of the things i have always come to enjoy in the original diablo, is the atmosphere of the game. Im not really sure what it is, if its the music, the artstyle, the cinematics or something else, but diablo seems to have the best atmosphere in the franchise. Its something i really miss in diablo 3.

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T72on1

Diabloii.Net Member
It's definitely the best of any ARPGs I have played. It's a combination of the absolutely brilliant music and the artstyle I think. I always compare it to the original Doom in that respect, which also has the best atmosphere in that genre in my opinion, because of the same reasons. I guess part of it is actually the limitations in sound and graphics those days. Because of those, the music and artwork were without too many whistles and bells, keeping only the essentials to make it such an intense experience.
 

Ultimatium

Diabloii.Net Member
Yes, you got a point. I would personally say that diablo 3 has way too many flashy, visuals effects. It was kept simple in the original game for a reason. I also think that the light radius in the original game made it a bit more scary, since you couldnt always see, if a monster was lurking behind a corner somewhere in the darkness.
 
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WitchDoctor

DiabloWiki.Net Ink Slinger
I can't name names, but I would be reluctant to call it the best. Among the best? Certainly. Diablo 2, though making decisions that were beneficial gameplay wise, changed track in a way that would ensure it would never quite match the design of Diablo 1. The expansion pretty much sealed the deal - even darker regions in the act just couldn't hope to match up. I actually somewhat dislike the act 5 aesthetic, even if I can't say it is inappropriate.

Several notches lie in D1's court.
- Music design was one-of-a-kind, not to be matched by any tracks after save a few moments in the next game. Limited as they were, they were utterly appropriate for the environments. It's super hard to beat the limited, but clearly handcrafted, all-in design. There's a few games that tend to hit this mark. Closest I can think of would be Mechwarrior 3, which featured some of the most atmospheric music in the series despite a grand total of 2 music tracks to the entire game. 2 required a more diverse assembly for more diverse environments, and while some tracks certainly come close, the effort to cover many areas with their own tunes showed to me. Some areas didn't even lend themselves to competition, and I touch on that below.
- Art style leaves much to the imagination, more so than D2 and certainly more than basically any modern game. It's almost unfair to pit a more recent game's atmosphere, since the fidelity of D1 being so poor actually contributes to the dark tones of the game.
- For all the inconveniences of walking only, the limited speed really captures an essence of pace the rest of the series has no chance for. Characters were grounded, abilities, limited. You could certainly still speedrun, but there's a fundamental vulnerability to the player going right to endgame that Diablo 2 ends up losing later on and Diablo 3 never captured in the first place. You are virtually forced to explore at a slower speed, soak in the atmosphere, take note of the displays and environment, so on.
- The scale of the gamecaps it off. There's probably more, but I leave it here. Such a limited game is simple in premise, yet the simple core lends itself to the atmosphere. You are going deeper until you literally find yourself in Hell. The Hell is a more atmospheric, abstract thing than the conventional fire and rock that Diablo 2 presents. Earlier segments of d2's act 4 somewhat compete, but Diablo 1's hell is a more straight up creepy place, and further design could probably make any one area in the last levels more hellish than the entirety of d2's act 4, contributed to by music, design, a more limited player and measured pace. Later games take on open exploration in bight areas with grander scales and abilities that simply light everything up. Diablo 1? You're going deeper and darker. You're getting better, but you're still mortal.

I think few games really capture the essence of the above. Of those factors, I'd say they are all important, but I'd really say it's the scale that knocks the sequel out of the running in atmosphere, as well as games to follow that try to emulate the Diablo formula and/or atmosphere.
 

Noodle

Moderator
The music stands out for me. I remember learning how to play it as a novice acoustic guitar player, and it still gives me chills.
 
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