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Blizzard are just amazing - they have released just a few games, but all of them are among the top ones and are models to follow by other companies. Actually, they created a style - hack and slash -, which is seen in isometric perspective and based on role-playing. Since Diablo appeared, its style, movements, powers, and items have been imitated.
So far Mephisto and Lord of Terror, Diablo, are dead, but one last prime evil is still out there, the Lord of Destruction Baal, who wants to take control of the mount Arreat and what it contains - the Worlstone - so it is up to a hero like you to stop him.
There are two new classes - the Assassin and the Druid. The Assassin is a female character that comes from the Viz-Jaq'taar clan of the Vizjerei, but that is another story. The Viz-Jaq'taars are mage slayers, both mentally and physically trained. They swore to kill every corrupt mage in order to avoid demonic possession. One of Assassin’s skills is Martial Arts - many of these are charge-up, so each time you use one, you get one charge sphere (up to three), and get extra benefits by releasing it with a normal or a final attack. She creates traps for attacking nearby foes - some can make corpses of enemies explode, useful to prevent their resurrection. Assassins also have Shadow Disciplines - skills for cloning, confusing and converting enemies, "Weapon Blocking" being the most useful, which can block anything, even magic projectiles, which are impossible to stop for a shield. This makes the Assassin a nice character to strike fast and hard, and the most powerful against magicians.
As Barbarians are Bul-Kathos' children, Druids are Fiacla-Géar children who split apart by differences in philosophy. Bul-Kathos believed that discipline is the base of training and success, while Fiacla-Géar insisted on being part of nature, understanding it, and living with harmony. Eventually, druids learned to communicate with animals and plants to help and protect each other. A Druid has these skills: Shape Shifting (there are two branches, Werewolf and Werebear), Summoning (a Druid can invoke wolves, bears, spirits, and vines - they can be attacked and die, but they also distract foes), and Elemental Skills that control fire, earth, and winds. The Druid is a strong character that has some Barbarian heritage with some Necromancer flavor, and can be tough in good hands.
The game play is not new, but with many improvements that enhance your experience. There are many new items, so there are new types of new magic, crafted, rare, unique, and new sets, which also have some good-looking aura. Among the new types of items, there are charms, which have one or more passive constant effects, as long as you have them in your inventory. There are also runes for getting enhanced socketed items, and they display their maximum effect when using them with rune words - there are specific combinations of runes (correct runes, correct order, and correct socketed item). There are two sets that are also the best - “Natalya's Odium", which can make your Assassin partially transparent, and "Trang-Oul's Avatar", which makes you a cute vampire. Unfortunately, the game has a bug that decreases its casting rate.
There is also a big improvement in mercenaries - they are not so flimsy and easy to kill anymore, because they can be healed, wear armor, gain experience, and level up, similarly to the main character. There is also a new type of mercenaries, the Barbarian, who is the most useful, together with the Ironwolf.
The importance of the 1.10 patch lies in that it introduced a new feature that changed strategy and balance among characters. The maximum level any skill can reach is 20, but now, with synergies, you can also increase skills' power by adding points to related skills. Synergies give substantial more power to all characters, mainly to magicians, and especially to the Necromancer, whose bone skills can easily reach many hundreds of damage, making him the most powerful character against other players.
Blizzard's people say “there is nothing better than bashing musters with your friends” - Diablo II support up to eight simultaneous players, either by LAN or through Battle.net. In the latter, you will find more items available, and more powerful rune words, Diablo's clones or Über bosses, and Ladder mode, which gives players more challenge with an improved AI.
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is one of the most successful games ever. It is a standard and an icon to be followed by other companies. It can still give you many, many hours of fun - more patches are continuously released with improvements and new characteristics. Many people crave for the release of Diablo III - with a probable launch in 2012, as this is believed to be the year when the world will end, Armageddon, the final battle between good and evil. It seems like Blizzard North have still much to do - we shall see.
- Interesting story
- Good and fluid playing
- Two extra classes for a total of seven
- Addition of runes and rune words
- More items, including more sets
- Most levels are randomly generated
- Good-looking perspective option
- Only for low (640x480) and medium resolution (800x600)
- There is still no fix for the vampire bug