Diablo 2 Review

For PC

By Contributing Writer Rob Pecknold

Rating: Average

---begin bad poetry---
   Years ago, longer now than it seems, in a place you may remember in your 
dreams, Diablo was unleashed to stores far and wide, gaming publications 
scores were high'd.  A marathon of clicking this Diablo was, but it sold 
nonetheless due to pre-release buzz.  Now years have passed, Diablo's been 
beat, and now Diablo 2 we must all greet.  Anticipating hours of fun and 
innovation, I installed the huge game without hesitation.  Imagine my 
surprise after a full install, to boot up the game and have it not work at 
   So I installed the patches, and new drivers to boot, but as with most PC 
games, this point is moot.  Upon restarting and opening the game, I was 
treated to a cinema that was anything but lame.  Detail and beauty were 
bouncing off the walls, through the ceiling and down the halls.  Upon the 
end of the cinema, my jaw wide open, I picked it up off the floor to find 
it was broken.  Back from the hospital almost two days since, the game 
could begin and playing could commence...
---end bad poetry---

   I don't understand the whole craze surrounding Diablo 2, and I don't 
find the game itself to be a whole lot of fun.  While I'm certainly not 
going to change the mind of any Diablo 2 fanatics, I am going to give you 
my side of the story and hopefully make you realize that Diablo 2 is not 
the flawless game that some people make it out to be.
   In Diablo 2, you can play as any one of five different character classes, 
with the paladin being the most well-rounded, the barbarian being strong 
but slow, and so on.  You probably know the way it works by now.  These 
five character classes don't make Diablo 2 five different games in one, but 
they do allow you to experience the same game in five different ways.
   The game's story is originality at its best: the return of the previous 
game's main threat for no tangible reason.  You begin the game in a Rogue 
Encampment in the West, where a local trader's route east is blocked by a 
spider-looking chick.  Before you can defeat her and clear the trader's 
path east-ward, you must perform many random, life-threatening deeds that 
are thrust upon you by strangers.  These strangers are obviously intent on 
killing those they don't know by giving them tedious and potentially deadly 
tasks to complete.  I'm all for a bad story and incoherent quests (wait a 
minute... no I'm not), but this is ridiculous.  It's like fighting a war 
over ice cream.
   So, a bunch of strangers send you on dangerous quests and then act 
pleasantly surprised when you return safely (but you just know they're 
really thinking, "Blast!  Foiled again!").  I can sometimes forgive bad 
plots in games, but only if the game has enough redeeming qualities to make 
up for the lack of a good story.  Unfortunately, Diablo 2 does not.  
   The control is basic as can be, which is great if you're interested in 
ease of use, but not if you're interested in depth.  Not only do the 
graphics fail to be a big improvement over the first Diablo, but it almost 
seems like they have actually gotten worse.  The music is utterly 
forgettable because it never helps to make any of the scenes more intense 
or enjoyable.  It's just mundane background music that fails to do what 
game music is supposed to do: enhance the feel of the game.
     But the heart of the game is in the actual gameplay, right?  Well, I'm 
sorry, but my idea of a good time is not pointing and clicking repeatedly 
on an ugly screen and occasionally hitting the "1" key to regain some 
health.  I'm all for simplicity in games if depth is also there, but not 
when it's so simplistic that it can make your eyes go in and out of focus 
until you get a headache.
   Diablo 2 does have some redeeming qualities, but not enough to make up 
for its shortcomings.  It occasionally resembles something fun, and there 
are some cool pseudo-3D effects in the game.  There are also some smart and 
endearing references to the original game (see the city of Tristram for 
some good examples), and some of the monsters explode pretty nicely.  Oh, 
and the dungeons are well-programmed and designed, but that's just about it 
in terms of redeeming qualities.
   I'll be the first to admit that this review is a rare occurrence.  I 
want to make it clear that all of this is just my opinion and not 
necessarily the opinion of Ivan Trembow, Jimmy Payne, or Ken Griffey Jr.  
Actually, Ken Griffey Jr. probably isn't thinking about video games right 
now.  He's probably thinking, "Wah!  I couldn't hit home runs in Safeco 
Field because I suck, and the team I thought would be nothing without me is 
now a World Series contender."
   Diablo 2 has become the fastest-selling PC game of all time because 
millions of gamers across the globe think it's a great game.  As many of 
you have undoubtedly been pissed off to discover, I am not one of those 
millions.  To me, it's just random clicking.  Nothing innovative, nothing 
fun, nothing worth spending $50 on.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to 
prepare myself for all the hate mail I'm sure to receive, plus the 1976 
Chevy Firebirds that are going to pull up in front of my driveway blasting 
Elvis music and throwing rocks at my windows before speeding off yelling 

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