Diablo 2 Resurrected First Impressions: It’s Awesome & That’s Bad for Blizzard

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The open alpha for Diablo 2 Resurrected is out now for a select few players in the world with many more hopefully coming on board very soon. Developed by the same crew that crafted the marvelous Tony Hawk 1&2 remake, let’s just get one thing out of the way before going any further:

Diablo 2 Resurrected is incredible.

This isn’t the World of Warcraft Classic method in which everything is just as you remember it. In this case, it’s far superior. And that’s saying something for the granddaddy of all action RPGs. Neither is it the Warcaft 3 Reforged fiasco where “improvements” were attempted that ultimately failed. And they really failed.

From the time the alpha starts up until the last second you play, this is Diablo 2 as you remember it… only it’s been updated so that your memories match the graphics of today. If you’ve ever tried to go back and play a very old game, you know that there are times when you say, “how did I ever even play this?” Maybe it’s Starfox 64, maybe it’s Sonic Adeventure on the Dreamcast… whatever the case may be, it turns out we had a great imagination back in the day, and it made up for graphics that are rudimentary by today’s standards. Anyone think you could go back to Dungeon Master for the Atari ST now, even though its gameplay was the creme de la creme in the late eighties?

So what Blizzard is preparing to release with Diablo 2 is a phenomenal product. It is the very best in game design combined with graphics that are true to the game, only much, much more crisp. This is Diablo 2 as you remember it, but Diablo 2 like would have blown your utter mind back when it originally launched. And that means that Diablo 2 Resurrected is something every gamer can be extraordinarily excited about. If you’re into Action RPGs, this is essentially a must-buy, or you just admit you either A) are scared of becoming addicted, or B) might not be a fan of Action RPGs after all.

Polygon Says Diablo 2 Resurrected Feels Like Magic

So, back to the headline, how in the world can this possibly be bad for Blizzard?

Well, let me ask you a question in return:

What are Blizzard’s most popular upcoming titles?

If you answered “Classic Burning Crusade” and “Diablo 2”, you’d be correct. And because you’d be correct, you know that Blizzard’s most popular titles upcoming are remakes of games from their past. They’ve already done Classic World of Warcraft to resounding success. They’ve already launched Starcraft Remastered to a fine response. And they’ve managed to fumble Warcraft 3 as hard as any possible attempt could possibly screw it up. Blizzard, therefore has become a developer living off of its classic games from decades ago.

If Diablo 2 Resurrected is this awesome, why would anybody want to play Diablo 4 or Diablo Immortal? Seriously, why? Does anybody have any confidence that Blizzard can match the genius of the games they’ve made in the past? If the fall of Overwatch, the dismal longevity of Shadowlands, and the abandonment of Heroes of the Storm has anything to say about their track record over the past many years, I see no reason to think that Blizzard can match what they used to be.

The most recent expansion of World of Warcraft is essentially dead. Far more people are excited to play World of Warcraft Classic and The Burning Crusade. Far more. Overwatch 2 is off in the horizon somewhere, and maybe it will be great; after all, it’s being made by the last of the geniuses still at Blizzard, Jeff Kaplan. But it’s nowhere close to launch. Heroes of the Storm continues to kick with a devoted player base, despite the most insanely unprecedented attempts by a CEO to kill it that any game may have ever seen. Starcraft is in the rear view mirror. So other than two classic titles being updated for the modern era, what exactly is it that Blizzard has to offer? Unannounced mobile games?

That’s why it’s bad for Blizzard that Diablo 2 Resurrected is so darn good. It’s a reminder of what the company once was, and what it likely will never achieve ever again. Activision paved paradise to put up a parking lot. Only in this case, it’s a legendary game company instead of a parking lot, and the pavement is greedy corporatism. That’s not to malign corporations, it’s only to acknowledge that poorly managed corporations with short term aspirations at the cost of long term quality can wreck their studios. We’re looking at you Activision Blizzard.

So here’s to Diablo 2 Resurrected. Here’s to Classic Burning Crusade. Here’s to the the people who made those games incredible, and were subsequently pushed to the side by less talent and smaller salaries. Diablo 2 Resurrected and Classic Burning Crusade should remind us all of them, and what amazing things true genius can create.


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