I asked for a Switch code for Diablo II Resurrected because I don’t need to see it in 4k. Also, I don’t need whiz-bang-Direct-38-high-dynamic-apples. I am happy to play a 20-year-old game in my hands, and I like Diablo a lot without being hardcore about it. I regularly peek into Diablo forums and am greeted with gobbledy-gook terms and verbs that mean absolutely nothing to me.
But I still like Diablo, because I like killing lots of things and collecting gold and getting new weapons and armour. I don’t worry about skill synergies, ultimate builds or highest difficulty runs – I’m just happy to hack and slash and enjoy the little character getting a new hood. Therefore, take my opinion with those grains of salt.
Diablo II on the Switch, on the go.
Diablo II feels great to play on Switch. Sure, it may not be 60fps, but if you switch to legacy mode the upgrade is clear and impressive. Diablo II’s music is cool. I remember loving it when I was a teen and I still do – the haunting, gypsy-like melodies are a perfect balance of jingle and jangle. Each note resonating to evoke the game itself. I also enjoy the doll-like dressing of my character as I slowly get newer and better gear.
Everything feels almost new again, particularly needing to be so specific about gear comparisons, inventory management and buying town portal scrolls. Even remembering to stock enough scrolls of identify feels both old school and unfamiliar. Modern games are so aimed at streamlining your experience so that you never need to examine your builds closely. Playing Diablo II in 2021 feels like forcing yourself to drive a manual in an automatic world.
I chose a druid for my playthrough, as it offered something different to the usual barbarian or sorcerer. The beginning of the game was enjoyable as I used a summoned crow to peck at enemies and brought forth poisoned creepers from the ground that managed to take care of large groups, leaving me to mop up with a melee weapon the more resilient foes. I also greatly enjoyed the ability to turn into a Werewolf and Were-bear.
Live to loot, the grind is real.
Diablo II’s moment-to-moment is addictive as heck. You kill, loot and move on to where yet more slovenly creatures roam, desultorily awaiting death. You go into caves, crypts and dungeons, dank and decrepit all. Basically, you summon, bash, quaff, equip, cast, shoot, buy and sell for as many hours as you choose. Sure, having to micromanage stuff like identify items and insert gems is a little bit annoying, but you soon gain enough coin to buy lots of town portal and identify scrolls.
My main issue is probably with the inventory management. Space is limited and the nature of this game makes you want to hoard. I also scratched my head at the massive charms that take up a quarter of the inventory. They must be held there to give you buffs – they just aren’t worth it. Similarly, I didn’t bother too much with retaining gems if I didn’t have any free sockets in my gear – off to the trader they went!
The deeper dungeons, or the cellar for you?
There’s a rejigged stash box, where you can store loot for multiple characters. I find you get enough good stuff just by playing that only those who truly want to maximise rare gear will get anything out of storing stuff. If you’re the kind of person who can understand a Diablo forums, then you’re already neck deep in this already. So I’m assuming you, dear reader, are similar to me, holding fond memories of ‘ye-olde’ PC gaming and keen to see if Diablo II is as good as you remember. I’m pleased to report that it probably is, but it does feel a bit creaky and ungainly. As I’ve said, though, such old school mechanics have been missing for so long that they force you to slow down and examine how you are interacting with the game, and almost feel new again.
I didn’t bother with online, because who has the time for that? Also, it’s reportedly a bit broken. A patch is on the way though, so if that is a deal breaker for you it might warrant deeper investigation. Otherwise this is a decent, faithful upgrade of an old classic and I am pleased to be able to play it wherever I may roam.