Diablo II: Res0urrected Does Nostalgia Right

It’s the game I thought I remembered from 20 years ago

Key Takeaways

  • Diablo II: Resurrected is the best kind of nostalgia trip.
  • The overhauled visuals do such a great job of conveying the look and feel of the original it actually tricked my brain for a while.
  • Despite the visual and audio updates, it’s the same core game it’s always been, which is great if you know what you’re getting into.
A screenshot from Diablo II on Switch.

Diablo II: Resurrected is the type of remastering that doesn’t enhance its source so much as present an updated game that feels like it did 20 years ago.

Like most people who played Diablo II and the Lord of Destruction expansion back in the early '00s, I spent an unhealthy amount of time playing it. More hours than I want to count were spent beating—and then re-beating—this game with one of my two preferred classes: the Necromancer and the Druid. It was the first game that really hooked me with its loot collecting grind, for better or worse.

Now, about 20 years later, we have Diablo II: Resurrected. A game that, at first glance, I mistook for an HD remaster that included the base game and the expansion, plus maybe some modern internet functionality.

Of course, I was wrong, and it’s actually been given a complete graphical overhaul, right down to the cinematic cutscenes. But I think it’s a testament to just how well it captures the look and feel of the original release that I didn’t realize the difference right away.

Everything Old Is New Again

Despite all the time I put into Diablo II way back when it's been at least 15 years since I last played it. This completely distorted my memories to the point where I simply couldn't think about it objectively.

I could only picture what I remembered from over a decade ago, through the eyes of a guy in his mid-20s in an era before the iPhone existed. But Resurrected tapped into my rose-tinted memories somehow and gave me exactly what I thought I remembered.

A screenshot from Diablo II on Switch.

I mean this as the best compliment when I say I had no idea the graphics were completely redone here. As soon as I started playing, I thought, "Yeah, this is what the original game was like. But it looks a little sharper now!"

I seriously didn't even realize the animated intro was completely remade because, 20 years ago, Blizzard's FMV cutscenes were mind-blowing. So, of course, it still looks amazing after all that time, right?

It wasn't until I started reading other people's reactions to Resurrected that I finally realized the entire game had been visually overhauled. New backgrounds, new details, new character models, new skill effects—it's all been redone, but in a way that pulls the older graphics into a more modern era.

When I switch back to the classic view (which can be done on the fly, no less), I can suddenly see just how much work went into tricking my brain like that.

The More Things Change, Etc.

Aside from the visuals and the almost imperceptibly remastered audio, Diablo II: Resurrected is pretty much the exact same game from two decades ago. I’m positive that if I’d spent time playing more recent games of a similar ilk, I’d be wishing for some modernized quality of life stuff, but I didn’t, so I don’t.

Well, aside from having to individually select potions to add to my extra belt slots. I wish that weren’t so tedious and clunky.

A screenshot from Diablo II.

Aside from adding potions, the interface is actually pretty well implemented, thankfully. Despite being used to playing on a computer from 15-plus years ago, I’ve had no trouble acclimating to playing on the Switch.

Almost all of the buttons can be mapped to different abilities, and using them in the middle of a fight became reflexive almost immediately. There are even shortcuts for selling stuff, equipping gear, or transferring items to storage by holding rather than pressing certain face buttons. It’s a lot smoother than selecting something and then manually moving it to a designated spot, that’s for sure.

Make no mistake, I’m happy that the game has been mostly left as-is. Not just because it fulfills my nostalgic wishes but because it’s still a lot of fun.

From the loot hunting to the socketing system to the voice acting to the way items pop out of defeated enemies, it’s all still here and still great. If I were still using a mouse and keyboard rather than a Switch controller, I’d even say muscle memory started to take over while I was playing.

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