The Diablo ll: Resurrected technical alpha dropped on Thursday. The single-player technical alpha is pretty limited, offering only three classes and a few quests to complete, but even in the few hours of content, we learned a lot about how well this remaster runs and how close it remains to the original Diablo ll experience.
These were my first impressions of Diablo ll: Resurrected during its technical alpha!
Diablo ll: Resurrected alpha stays true to original Diablo ll experience
The biggest desire of many Diablo ll fans for Diablo ll: Resurrected is that the game remains faithful to the original experience. Based on my initial impressions, Diablo fans can rest assured that the new additions to the game won't alter the original experience unless you want them to.
For fans of the original game, you can choose the Legacy option to use the original graphics. When I played in Legacy mode, the experience felt the same as playing the original Diablo ll. You can also use options in the menus to set your control bindings and settings to replicate the original version of the game. So if you really want just an HD version of Diablo ll, you can get that experience with this remaster.
The developers did add some optional quality of life additions for those who are looking to play a more updated version of Diablo ll. There is now an auto-loot pickup option in the menus for those of us that are averse to clicking on our loot like in the good ol’ days. The 3d engine is a nice addition as well, for those who want to experience the game with more modern 3d sprites. I personally really enjoyed the 3d version.
You can toggle between the two graphical versions using the G-key by default. Regardless of which version you choose to play on, the base game feels the same as Diablo ll when it comes to controls, interactions, and gameplay.
On a storytelling level, the original voice lines appear to have made it into the game intact, at least for the quests that were available in the technical alpha. Alas, I cannot speak to the cinematics yet. Blizzard only included placeholder cinematics with the Alpha build. The developers promised to avoid the drastic changes in cinematics at Blizzcon 2021, but I can’t provide any update on that front based on this alpha.
The attention to detail is there
The world is pretty much 1-to-1 scale, when you switch between the legacy and new graphics. Also, All the old tricks still work. For example, I "tested" out the trick of "intentionally" dying and then logging out and back in to recover my corpse, it still worked. I assume that other tricks that old-school players might know will also still apply.
The additional 3d modeling manages to smooth out the original animation without changing much about the actual mechanical movements. It is difficult to translate 2d 8-directional movement into a 3d looking image, but they do it marvelously even in the early build of this game.
This alpha is one of the best PR moves they could have made. It shows to the world that this game is going to be a good and faithful remake. This technical alpha reassures long-time players that this game will be a worthy investment of their money and time.
Diablo ll: Resurrected alpha performance
The technical alpha build of the game ran very well, at least after Blizzard resolved the initial issues with their battle.net server connection. I am on a moderate-level machine, and I had no issues running it on the highest graphical settings. This makes sense since it is an older game that was originally designed to run on older hardware.
I did run into a few glitches that I reported to Blizzard, where my graphics would switch between Legacy and Resurrected between loads of the game and some other small things. None of them were a big deal or game affecting, but it would be nice if the game remembered my graphical selections between loads.
The framerate cap option is still unshipped, so we don't yet know if there will be an unlimited cap option. Hopefully, they will give us an unlimited cap option in the final build, or at the very least a 144Hz option.
Will Diablo ll: Resurrected live up to the hype?
It is difficult to say if this game is going to please old-school and new fans alike. What I can say is that as a long-time fan of Diablo and Diablo-style games, I am excited after experiencing this early build of the game.
Based on my first impressions, playing through the Alpha with the Barbarian class on both the Legacy and Resurrected versions, the combat and world feel very similar to Diablo ll either way. I personally like the updated graphics engine, since the 2d graphics of Diablo ll have never been something I was personally attached to.
If you liked Diablo ll and want a pure remaster, you will probably enjoy this game on Legacy settings. If you are turned off by how dated some elements of Diablo ll are in 2021, you will find that the Resurrected version adds modern quality of life changes and modern graphics to Diablo ll while keeping true to the most treasured aspects of Diablo ll.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.