It seems crazy that Diablo II never made its way to consoles, especially since the first game was released on the PlayStation and the third game has hit pretty much every other modern console. In an era of remasters and remakes though, what better time than now for it to makes its debut? Enter Diablo II: Resurrected, a revamped release of the 2000 classic that brings with it all-new visuals, plenty of quality-of-life enhancements, and modernised controls.
Whilst it has released on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, it’s also available on the Nintendo Switch. Imagine that: being able to play through Diablo II wherever you want in the palms of your hands. I’m happy to report that the Nintendo Switch version of the game holds up really well too, whilst the general improvements brought with Diablo II: Resurrected help make it the definitive way to experience the epic dungeon-crawling RPG.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
This review won’t dive into the intricate details of the game too much, but instead the main improvements brought as well as how it performs on the Nintendo Switch. Come on; Diablo II is twenty-one years old and has spawned countless titles inspired by its dungeon-crawling antics… players know what to expect from it by now.
Nostalgia is a funny old thing and it can make you remember old games quite differently. Despite coming out in 2000, Diablo II still looked great in my rose-tinted memory – whether that was with the character models, the locales you explore, or the attacks you perform against enemies.
Nothing opened my eyes more than switching visual modes for the first time. Diablo II: Resurrected allows players to switch between the modernised visuals or the classic look on the fly, and believe me, it’ll become immediately clear how good of a job Vicarious Visions have done in re-creating the game. Everything has been completely revamped, with the characters replaced with impressive 3D models, the environments feeling more detailed and atmospheric thanks to the impressive lighting, and attacks packing more punch thanks to the hefty visuals effects they offer. I found myself switching graphic modes on a regular basis just to appreciate the improvements, with it almost crazy to think Diablo II looked the way it did all those years ago. There’s no way I remember it being THAT pixely…
It’s clear that this is more than a simple remaster, but a full-blown remaking of the world. Whilst certain things haven’t been changed up (such as some of the clunky animations), almost everything else in the game has been improved significantly. It really does look great and helps it feel like a modern release.
“Diablo II: Resurrected allows players to switch between the modernised visuals or the classic look on the fly, and believe me, it’ll become immediately clear how good of a job Vicarious Visions have done in re-creating the game.”
One of the things that also feels significant is the fact that Diablo II: Resurrected is played using a controller. Whilst this might have been considered heresy back in 2000, the controls are really well implemented and suit the Nintendo Switch perfectly. It’s easy to do just about anything in the game, whilst being able to assign actions to different buttons means your varying abilities are conveniently accessed. Of course, the fact that players would’ve already enjoyed Diablo III using a controller shows that it could be done anyway, but it’s still nice to see the developers have done such a good job.
There have been plenty of quality-of-life improvements brought to the game too, some of which may not seem all that significant to newcomers but that returning players are sure to love. The shared stash space goes a long way in making loot easier to manage between characters, you automatically pick up gold by running over it, whilst the UI has been revamped to feel more accessible – that’s just listing some of the changes too, with plenty done under the hood to make Diablo II: Resurrected feel all the more enjoyable to play.
Whilst a lot of things have been re-invented for Diablo II: Resurrected, the core gameplay experience remains the same. Given that the game released twenty-one years ago, this does mean that a lot of aspects might feel dated and, in some ways, a lot more simplified than more modern releases.
“There have been plenty of quality-of-life improvements brought to the game too, some of which may not seem all that significant to newcomers but that returning players are sure to love.”
Take the levelling system for example, which is a lot simpler when compared to Diablo III. Each of the seven classes brings with it three different pathways on the skill tree, with each one somewhat limited but clear in what it offers. This means there’s a lot less fine-tuning of your character’s skills, but instead a more direct route of progress to follow. It’s not a bad thing by any means (and in some ways having less choice made the characters easier to play as), but those who prefer more finesse in shaping their character’s role might find it less robust than they’re used to.
The general gameplay loop feels a lot more straightforward when compared to modern titles too, with it always made clear where exactly you need to go, with less time spent exploring for side quests or extras. Again, this is fine (especially since the dungeon design is still SO good), but modern games have offered more expansive worlds with plenty of extras for players to indulge in. Oh, and don’t get me started on having to use magic to identify items – I never liked that back in 2000 and I still don’t like it now.
Despite this, Diablo II: Resurrected gives a perfect reminder that it was the inspiration behind so many dungeon-crawlers. There’s just something about the whole experience that feels SO good to play, and whilst it shows its age in places, the satisfying loop of slaying enemies, gathering loot, and venturing forward on the adventure kept me hooked in. I’ve played a lot of games from twenty-one years ago that feel almost painful to play now, but believe me, Diablo II: Resurrected isn’t one of them.
“There’s just something about the whole experience that feels SO good to play, and whilst it shows its age in places, the satisfying loop of slaying enemies, gathering loot, and venturing forward on the adventure kept me hooked in.”
One of the biggest worries for Switch players when it comes to multiplatform releases is how the game will hold up on the console. It is more limited than its counterparts, after all, so sacrifices often have to be made. Thankfully, Diablo II: Resurrected is actually really impressive. Whilst the graphic quality and the resolution is naturally lower than other systems, it still looks great in-game. It’s something that’s made especially clear when you switch between the old and new visual styles, with the console clearly taking advantage of all of the new improvements. Best of all, the frame rate is silky smooth throughout, even during the game’s more busier moments where you’ll be bombarding countless foes with intense attacks.
The load times aren’t too lengthy either, whilst having minor improvements such as being able to make the text extra large was ESPECIALLY appreciated for those who plan on spending their time playing on the console’s handheld mode. The only real caveat is that the game is limited to just four-player multiplayer instead of the eight-player found on other platforms, but I didn’t mind – I’ve found that eight-players just feels two busy (and it’d be a nightmare when playing handheld), so halving that is fine by me.
Diablo II: Resurrected Summary
Whilst Diablo II: Resurrected’s gameplay can feel dated in places, it still makes for a thoroughly entertaining experience that feels great to play on the Nintendo Switch. It looks good, it runs smoothly, and, most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun to play, with the revamped release of this all-time classic undoubtedly standing the test of time.
There’s no denying that it’s going to look better and offer more features on other platforms, but this really is an impressive Nintendo Switch port. Being able to play through Blizzard’s iconic RPG on the go is just a real treat and something that I know I’ll be spending HOURS doing over the next few months.
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, Vicarious Visions
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC