Review by thwak
"so diablo 3 was just announced and you want to get caught up?"
Ah diablo, a great game to some, a repetitive annoyance to others. But what's that you say? You've never played diablo and are interested to get caught up? Why the fine folks who made the game (Blizzard) have released this nice battle chest that contains not only the very first diablo released all the way back in 1997 but also diablo 2 and it's expansion pack! And for your convenience this review will review both the original diablo, diablo 2, and it's expansion pack and sum it all up to help you determine if you should buy the battle chest. Now let's get started with reviewing the first game in the series.
The graphics in diablo are pretty good, for 1997. I just want to point this out in case you have any outrageously high expectations. When the game was released it was before the era of insane video cards had to be standard for running solitaire. So what we are left with is a nice 2d style of graphics which, for the time, were pretty good. They got the job done and you could definitely make out what was what with out any problems. Another thing I'd like to point out is that this game also had full on 3d cinematics in the beginning and ending of the game and also another cut scene before you fight one of the bosses. Back then this was mind blowing stuff, but now it's par for the course but the cinematics still work really well.
The sound in diablo is perhaps it's best strong point. The music with in the game correctly sets the mood for the type of game this is, a very very dark game. Nothing here is really memorable as it's usually just background for you to go on your dungeon exploration, but it does set the mood and do it's job well so I can't fault it for that. Another thing that should be noted is that this game had voice acting in it which gives it a nice boost in the audio department. It should be noted, however, that the voice acting is severely overdone but the voice acting and story for that matter isn't of an epic scale so it isn't that much of a burden.
Speaking of story, I must say there isn't that much of it. But before I go any further with this review I should say that if you are the sensitive type when it comes to religion and can't stand movies like the omen stay far far away from this game. Now that I got that out of the way the story here is not that much, in fact when I first played this game I had no idea what was going on. But the story basically unravels itself through the people you meet in town and talk to about gossip. They'll eventually give you quests which will further unravel parts about the story and eventually you'll figure out what's going on.
To give you a cliff's notes version of the story basically a priest get's possessed by a demonic entity named diablo and kidnaps the king's son so he can sacrifice him to well, diablo. Because of all of this it is up to you to go in and stop the priest and the demon diablo so all can be safe in the world.
Besides being controversial though, the story really isn't that great or good but it does an ok job at further setting the mood of the game and I certainly don't mind it being there. I just wish there was more of it.
The part of the game which will cause most people to either like the game or hate it with a passion. To put the game into perspective, some people who hate the game can probably describe the gameplay in one word, "click." That's because you can virtually play the game entirely with the mouse just clicking around. You click to move, you click to fight, you click to use a potion, you click to level up, you click to interact, you click click click! But there is also more to this game then just clicking.
When you first open up diablo, besides getting the crap scared out of you by the instaliation prompt, you'll notice that there are three classes being a warrior, rouge, and sorcerer. The warrior is your standard melee type, your rouge is your archer, and your sorcerer is your prime magic dealer. However which ever class you choose you can still shoot arrows or wield melee weapons no matter what. If you want you can be a magician who has a tenacity to shoot arrows while casting magic at the same time, or you can be a warrior who beats people up with his sword. It's your choice on how you want to play but it does make the make the charm of having different classes seem fairly useless.
After that you get into the game and take on quests from the village towns people, all of which are optional except for killing lazerus and killing diablo. After you get your quest it's into the church to kill monsters, lots and lots of monsters. If you've ever heard of a game called a hack and slash, diablo is the epitome of that genre. You go around killing enemies while descending into the deeper levels of the church as the enemies get harder. As you keep on going down into the church you gain experience and level up like in a standard RPG. You also get different equipment and potions that will help you out on your quest. It's very much standard hack and slash fare.
But before I leave and go to my closing statements about this game and start reviewing diablo 2 I should say something of interest. Diablo was popular for it's time by having a random level generator, that means that the game would have a changing layout from the beginning to end and that if you were to replay the game the layout would be different then from your last play through. This in turn gave the game a lot of longevity and was also equally good when it came to multiplayer which is available for the game via lan or online through blizzard's battle.net service. The game is actually more fun this way when you and a group of friends go through it's dungeons and kill monsters together.
Diablo is an ok game but if you want to play it you got to remember that it is a hack and slash from 1997. If you just want some mindless fun killing monsters in a dungeon this is a great game at doing just that, but if you want a more compelling experience you may want to look elsewhere.
Perhaps diablo 2?
Diablo 2/Lord of destruction:
I'm going to review this game in conjunction with it's expansion pack since they're the same thing. With that said the game doesn't actually look that much different from diablo 1 inside the realms of the actual game. The monsters and characters are rendered better but it's still a top down over head 2d experience and by now that was starting to become a little bit dated for the year 2000. They still do their job but by now it could've been in 3d. However there is something that's really good graphically, yet out of the game, and that's the cinematics. To put it bluntly, they're just gorgeous and some of the best cinematics ever with inside a video game. The way the characters are rendered is still somewhat life like, even for 2008! When you get to lord of destruction the way baal is presented almost makes him look real and it's a real triumph of blizzard to create such good looking cinematics for a video game. But if only the actual gameplay looked half as good.
As far as sound goes, it's a slight improvement over diablo 1. Once again the music sets a tone but isn't really catchy. Thankfully the voice acting has improved but it's still a little bit cheesy.
Now this is where the game takes a drastic turn for the better. While there was almost no story in diablo 1, the story in diablo 2 is more intuitive and more in depth giving you a greater idea of what's going on. Not only that but the game is separated into acts and it has nifty (and gorgeous) cut scenes to tell you what has transpired.
To give you a cliff's notes version of the story, let's just say that the protagonist of the first diablo didn't quite succeed and now the world is feeling the effects.
Also to go onto lord of destruction I do got to say that the game does a good job of making you really really hate the main antagonist baal to a good extent.
Gameplay also got improved for the better in diablo 2. Now, unlike in diablo 1, character classes are unique and different. This drastically changes gameplay and makes it more compelling and interesting. The necromancer has his own unique abilities which can be upgraded while the same can be said for the amazon. For instance, the necromancer can summon fallen enemies to fight for him while the amazon can not, meanwhile the amazon can enchant her arrows with fire while the necromancer can not. These abilities can also be upgraded and earned when you level up through out the game enhancing the RPG aspect.
Also what has changed is that you are not just mindlessly going in a church and going down to more levels. In this game you are assigned story specific quests that have to be completed in order to move the game forward. This also makes the game easier to grasp and way more interesting. After a while you will have completed all the quests in a certain act and then proceed onto the next act with their being five acts in all if you count lord of destruction (and you bought the battle chest so why wouldn't you?).
Diablo 2 is an improvement over diablo 1 in every which way possible. To put it simply if you liked diablo you'll like diablo 2 more.
But what about someone who's never played either of these games?
Well here's the deal, Diablo is a game that can get repetitive, even with diablo 2 and all the new additions that it adds to the table. However if you are willing to overlook the repetitive nature of the game or just want some mindless fun diablo can prove to be quite an enjoyable experience. Still the game is not for everyone so have that in mind if you decide to take the gamble and purchase it.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/02/08
Game Release: Diablo Battle Chest (US, 09/26/01)
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