Shreddoc wrote on 2023-02-18, 22:20:
Act IV is again a mixed bag (<-- general theme). There's a couple of fields to plough, but the later parts of the Act are one of the game's highlights.
Agreed! It was a nice step up from Act III.
Finished! I have mixed feelings on this one, but enjoyed it. I think Diablo 1 is overall the better game; more challenging, better paced, and a better soundtrack. Having said all that, Diablo II is a great looking and sounding game that plays fine. I prefer it to its clones (or at least those I've completed), and there's a lot to like about Diablo II.
First off, it looks absolutely fantastic; some of the environments just look amazing considering they are constructed from tiles and decorations (like Fallout 1/2) instead of being prerendered "drawings" (like the Infinity Engine games). If you turn the "Perspective" option on in the settings, the game really does give the impression of being 3D/polygonal. It's a seriously impressive effect.
It sounds great, too, though I prefer the music and sound effects from Diablo I. I was pleased to hear both the Tristram theme and Dungeon theme again, though. For the original compositions, the Palace theme from Act II was my favorite.
I do not like "skill tree" character building, but it's not bad here. There really aren't that many skills per class, so it's pretty easy to figure out which skills you want to focus on. I think the game's clones really went overboard with skill trees (look at the GIGANTIC skill tree for Path of Exile, for instance). The game gives you one free respec opportunity pretty early on, if you screw things up.
The wide-open field maps are hit and miss with me. They do make it feel a bit like you are exploring an actual place, but many of them are just boring, flat, drab fields, where you are just running back and forth in strips ("mowing the lawn") to make sure you don't miss anything. These areas make sense in Act II (where you are supposed to be discovering ancient temples buried in a desert), but just felt like filler in the other acts. I feel like Act I and Act III would have been better without any field maps at all; just make it like Diablo I where the dungeon is underneath the encampment/town. This would give the game more variety, since you'd have straight dungeon crawls in Act I/III and then field exploration in Act II/IV.
I found the game to be much easier than Diablo I. I had some difficult situations in D1 where I really thought I was stuck, but some careful maneuvering got me through them. I only started dying in D2 in the very last map, and even then dying is pretty much meaningless since you just lose some gold and respawn in town (with all progress retained).
These are just minor complaints, though. After completing the game I immediately installed the LoD expansion, and was tempted to keep playing. Instead, I'll play something else for now, and come back to D2 later this year.