Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The devil can wait a long, long time

This time the Now Playing image does not lie.

Yes, thanks to a timely bit of charity, I have started playing Diablo 2 a mere ten years late. I have no idea if I will finish it, but it is very interesting to see where most modern action RPG tropes originated and how much even this masterpiece has been improved upon by its successor. My favorite game of this type is (and probably always will be) Titan Quest, and after only a few hours with Diablo 2 I can confirm that Titan Quest committed wholesale theft. So have all the other game like this, it's a simple idea: you kill things to get better items to killer bigger things. Diablo 2, unlike even Titan Quest and all other modern examples, gets this flow of new items just right. Weapons and armor are dropped and exactly the right pace: just often enough to keep me picking things up off the ground  but no so often that the criminally small inventory feels like a limitation.

I am playing an assassin, and probably doing it wrong. Of the three skill trees I have chosen the easiest, passing over the one with martial arts stances and attack points for I just want to to hit things harder with my starting weapon.  I don't like that I can only have two skills equipped at a time (I think...), but I only know two skills right now, and one of them is passive. Of course it is ugly, but its ugliness does not change the fact they the monsters at least are designed well. Over sized levels with nothing in them I could do without, and the way the game saves is stupid, but I really do need to keep in mind how old this game is. I was running an Electronics Boutique (before EB Games, even) when it came out. My store was had a significant PC following, so I rolled out hundreds of copies. My entire PC wall was nothing but Diablo 2, and by the end of the day it was nearly gone.

This was also back when they let employees do crazy things like open new product and take it home for testing. I did just that with Diablo 2, and I remember liking it, but I couldn't run it the way that it was meant to be run. Familiar story, yes? My neuroses are more deeply seeded than even I remember.

Is it still fun now? Of course, but it hurts my eyes and has been done better since. Where the hell is Torchlight 2, anyway?

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