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Diablo II Resurrected Early Beta First Impressions: Should It Have Stayed Dead?

by Jamie Inocian  August 18, 2021

As some of you may know, Blizzard just gave Early Beta Access to Diablo II: Resurrected to folks who’ve pre-ordered this title. We were able to spend the weekend jumping back into the game we once loved but it left us questioning if they should have brought this back from the dead.

Let’s get things straight before you roast me in the comment section. I loved Diablo 2 when it first came out more than two decades ago. I would rush to the computer shop in my village after school and on the weekends to work on my Paladin. This game even got a second wind for me in 2010 where my then girlfriend (now wife) would go on Diablo II dates and play for 12 hours on the weekend.

Character Select Screen

It’s a beloved game that undoubtedly paved the way for many of the aRPGs we now love in the current generation of gaming.

When Diablo II: Resurrected was announced it definitely caught my eye and the updated visuals made me hover over the pre-order button on more than a few occasions; even though it was also a morale dilemma for me given the current state of affairs with Activision-Blizzard.

I knew had to check the game out though and, well, the excitement died fast and it died hard.

Hero Class Screen

D2 does look better than ever that I can say without a shadow of doubt. The familiar classes (at least the ones we were allowed to play) are given new life and the environment got a huge upgrade. In this regard, aside from a couple of bugs that we’ve seen posted online, the remaster could be considered a success.

But the face lift, can only do so much. If you’re an old time player like me, who was looking to recapture the magic of days past, there just aren’t any surprises anymore and I feel that the gameplay just didn’t age all that well.

Close Up of Paladin

Duking it out with Fallen Shamans, Zombies, and Gargantuan Beast in the Den of Evil just felt clunky to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was hitting stuff. The stat and skill system is still one of the best things about this game though. I can imagine people investing heavily in characters they’ve made or potentially remaking their chosen class to make sure they’ve allocated each point in the best way.

But, for me, the allure to grind out to the higher difficulties is gone and nostalgia wasn’t enough to really have me take advantage of the Early Beta Access to see how far I could take the characters that I’ve made.

Paladin in Battle

There are a couple of Quality of Life changes for the game like the Advanced Stats Panel that I’m sure Min/Maxers will appreciate. There’s also the shared stash so you can easily transfer items to your alts, but the best one had to be automatically being able to pick up Gold. That was a godsend we should have had when the game first came out.

Overall, it just wasn’t worth it to me and I would exit the game after a quest or two; opting to play something more current like The Ascent. This was the same feeling when I dropped into the WoW Classic server to give my old stomping grounds in Azeroth a visit.

I understand that you may not feel the same way and the Diablo II: Resurrected Early Beta may have been enough to have the Lord of Terror have his hooks sunk back in to you. I respect that. Truth be told, I’ll still probably end up buying the game but only to have the freedom to randomly pop in when I feel like it.

Diablo II Resurrected officially launches on September 23, 2021 and there will be an Open Beta happening on the weekend of August 20 for those who want to try it out as well.

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    I was disappointed they left shared loot in especially since 8 players can join a room. They could of revamped a few things like the tunnels in act 2 lair these are so small players cant pass each other and with a group you end up stuck on eachother. Overall though the game looks great and then controller mapping plays really well.

    I’m like you. I pre-ordered because I’d logged so many hours in D2 and looked forward to playing again, especially without all the bots, dupes, and PK’s ruining the fun. I was kind of surprised at how difficult the game is compared to D3. The drop rates seem to be much lower and D2 brings back immunities and mana burners which add a layer of difficulty that D3 cut. Being limited to 2 acts in non-ladder made it impossible to create any sort of end-game type build, but it’s only in beta so can’t expect more than that. Maybe my expectations were too high and I was expecting more of a Star Wars “Special Edition” with the original game having a few updated features. Of course everyone hates the added features to Star Wars, so maybe it’s better that they left it alone.

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