In trying to figure out whether or not I want to get Diablo III when it comes out next month, I decided to try playing its direct predecessor. The last time I played Diablo II was when I borrowed a friend's copy back in 2000 and I honestly don't remember anything about it beyond the title screen and thinking that the CG opening looked amazing. So instead of comparing it to my own memories of the game, I can instead look at another dungeon crawler that I played much more recently: Torchlight. Compared to that game, Diablo II holds up pretty well in some areas, but definitely feels archaic in a lot of important places (as well it should: Torchlight came out over 9 years after Diablo II). The most noticeable stuff includes the shockingly small inventory (requiring constant returns to town, as there is no other way to sell goods, ala the pet in Torchlight), the inability to quickly switch between weapon sets (a character's class may be proficient in 2 different types of weapons, but I found myself heavily specializing in just 1 due to the absence of this ability), and the frustrating lack of an overworld map (which, admittedly, Torchlight didn't have either, but didn't need due to the game's structure). That said, I found combat equally satisfying in both games and the constant drive to find better equipment keeps one motivated in both cases. On top of that, despite not having a proper overworld map, I still preferred Diablo II's overworld/ dungeon layout to Torchlight's single labyrinth. Despite navigational issues (town portals disappear after quitting, requiring you to trek back from the nearest checkpoint), I like searching around for the next dungeon and occasionally discovering optional content in the process. Separated by more than a decade, Diablo III will be a certainly be a very different game from its predecessor, and what I'm most interested in seeing at this point just how much has changed, and what they've done to modernize the experience.
Role-playing/Isometric Action RPG