I had the opportunity to test out the Diablo ll: Resurrected technical alpha this weekend. Upon installing and launching the alpha, I was looking to help test the game and see how the build itself ran. More importantly, I wanted to know if this game was truly a remake with a fresh coat of paint, or if Blizzard was going to make significant alterations to the gameplay experience and story like they did with Warcraft lll: Reforged.
I am happy to report that based on my tests and experience during this weekend's technical alpha, Diablo ll: Resurrected is shaping up to be a very faithful remake in terms of gameplay and story. The game stays true to its source material while still offering some nice optional quality of life improvements to make Diablo ll more accessible for new players as well.
The Legacy version is exactly how you remember Diablo ll
When you switch to the legacy graphics, they look exactly like the original graphical settings. You can choose between 800x600 or 640x480, and when using Legacy graphics you even get to use the Legacy options menus as well, in all their low-resolution glory.
The control schemes are similarly customizable. The developers included an updated Resurrected control scheme that is more similar to modern Diablo titles, but with a tick of a box you can instantly revert to the original Diablo ll controls anytime you want.
The Quality of life changes like auto-gold pickup are also entirely optional, so if you want to click on your gold like in the old days, you can. Basically, if you are a purist who wants to experience this game without any of the new graphical updates, control schemes, or quality of life changes, you can. This is great news for fans of the original game.
The old Diablo ll tricks still work too
The attention to detail goes beyond just the appearance of a good remake. The developers also kept all the old tricks and quirks that make Diablo ll unique.
For example, you can still quit and reload after dying to have your corpse spawn back at camp, allowing you to recover all your hard-earned gear with less hassle. As far as I could tell, everything under the hood is essentially identical to the old game. So all your most esoteric knowledge and Diablo ll tips and tricks should still apply, from builds to glitches.
On the flip side, all the same frustrating aspects of this game are still there too. Stamina is still an annoying resource to manage, the item filter is still chaotic as ever, and you still can’t respec your character, so all your class decisions are permanent. It’s Diablo ll, for better or worse.
The quality of life changes are actually good
The 3d engine, auto-gold pickup, and updated control binding options might not appeal to the most hardcore fans of Diablo 2, but for Diablo fans who aren’t Diablo ll purists, the new 3d sprite engine is actually really cool. It is impressive how close the scale is between the 2d graphics and the 3d ones, everything from enemy character models to the position of trees is exactly the same.
Diablo ll uses an 8-directional movement system. This system is kind of clunky looking compared to modern animations, so I had my doubts coming in how smooth the 3d sprite animations could look and feel while maintaining the exact skeleton of Diablo 2. However, they really pulled it off. The animations are smoothed just enough to make the visual aesthetic less jittery while keeping all the precision and responsiveness of old-school Diablo ll.
Fans of accessibility options will also be pleased. They added a colorblind mode, a low visibility mode, closed-caption options, and much more, They will also add more language options, though those haven’t shipped in the technical alpha yet.
Graphics-wise, the technical alpha build featured up to 1920x1080 for the new graphics engine. They have yet to implement the framerate cap, so we don't yet know if there will be an unlimited framerate option or not.
These various additions to the base game are both optional and genuinely nice features to have.
Diablo 2: Resurrected invites Diablo fans, old and new, to experience its genius story and combat system. Based on what we know from the technical alpha, if you are a veteran player, you probably won't be disappointed with this game.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.