Everything that made the original Diablo great--nonstop action, wicked monsters, dark gothic atmosphere, and fantastic magic items--has returned. But new enhancements such as the class skill system and cheater-proof multiplayer competition make Diablo II even better than the original. The millions of gamers who fought their way through the horror of Tristram's catacombs in the original Diablo realized that all was not well after their hero destroyed the demon's physical body. Diablo II opens with a vivid animated vision of that mad, doomed hero, who unwittingly spreads chaos as he moves toward a fate of Diablo's choosing. With the original character classes gone, players choose from a new cadre of champions: the Barbarian (can wield two two-handed swords at once, one in each hand), the Necromancer (raises the dead to fight his battles), the Amazon (master of bow and spear), Paladin (holy crusader), and Sorceress (wielder of elemental magic). These warriors follow a diabolical plot through four acts, and each act is roughly as big as the original Diablo. Diablo II looks and behaves very much like Diablo. Players are assigned quests by nonplayer characters and adventure through dark catacombs and crypts. Hordes of vile monsters assail the hero, who survives by force of arms, powerful spells, and through the use of varied and exotic magic items. Randomly generated dungeons guarantee fresh adventure each time a new game is started. But unlike the original game, characters must fight their way through the above-ground wilderness before entering a dungeon. Fortunately, some of the frustrations of adventuring have been lessened in Diablo II, thanks to the new ability to run and the clever implementation of "waypoints" that let your character quickly travel to and from the safety of town. Along with the new character classes comes a new character skill system. As in the original game, players improve their character's ability scores as they kill monsters and gain experience. But unlike the original game, players get to add specific skills, spells, and powers each time they advance. For example, after gaining a level you could choose between taking a skill that improves your attack speed or a skill that allows you to scatter your foes with a mighty shout. With this customized advancement system it is unlikely that two high-level characters, even characters of the same class, will be alike. Instead of progressing along a set path, you can choose skills and powers that complement your own particular playing style. Interestingly, this new customizable class system closely parallels the changes made in the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Other enhancements include a method for creating and customizing magic items, 3-D accelerated spell effects, anticheat multiplayer code, and a place to safely store excess money and equipment. But even without these tweaks, even without the sophisticated story line and all the cool new features, Diablo II is just a great game. The sound, music, and graphics combine to create a tantalizingly eerie setting. Players will willingly let their game-playing hours slip well past reasonable bedtimes, suffering bleary-eyed classes and meetings in exchange for "just one more" magic item, dungeon level, or character skill. Diablo is back. Say hello to the game that will once again dominate gamers' computers, and say good-bye to your free time. --Michael Fehlauer. Pros: Diabolical, engrossing story line told through brilliant cutscenes All five of the new classes are distinct and fun Fantastic music and sound effects Random dungeons allow unlimited replayability Millions of magic items, including rare items and sets of unique magical equipment Cons: Addictive gameplay may cause loss of sleep, significant other, job Virtually no improvement in graphics
- Five all-new character classes with unique attributes and abilities.
- Four different, fully populated towns complete with wilderness areas.
- Multiple dungeons, caverns and crypts in every town for players to explore.
- Expanded world filled with all-new quests, weapons, spells, armor, monsters and non-player characters.