27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2009
I've recently been on an ARPG (Action Role-Playing Game) bender starting back up recently with Sacred 2. Sacred 2 is a good game but after about 20 hours invested a bug corrupted my character (which is fairly common as I understand it). This happened twice. Being a console gamer I had only dabbled with the original Diablo when I was younger but during that time I wasn't heavily into ARPGs, not like I am now anyways. Sacred 2 gave me the ARPG bug so I had to find something. I always see ARPGs being compared to Diablo 2 so I decided to step out of my console comfort zone and give it a whirl. The good news - this game is addicting as ever and definitely scratches the itch. The bad news - this game is addicting as ever and I can't put it down!
Despite being around 10 years old $30-$40 for the Battle Chest is an absolute steal. You get all the Diablo goodness you could want including the original Diablo, Diablo 2, the LoD (Lord of Destruction) expansion and a surprisingly useful strategy guide. This is potentially thousands of hours worth of gaming if you're an ARPG-aholic. Of course if that's the case then you've probably played this game to death. For those of us who were living in the dark or who are mostly console gamers like me - read on.
Before I dig into the game I'd like to comment on the usefulness of the included strategy guide. When I first bought the Battle Chest I figured the strategy guide might be useful for a complete beginner and that it would soon become useless as I learned the ins and outs of the game. Not true. This guide includes nice detailed descriptions for every skill in the game as well as which ones are the most useful in general and which ones are useful for multiplayer (and which ones aren't all that useful). This is great because it allows you to dig through the guide and plan out a character build. It's actually really fun just to dig through the guide and try to come up with different build ideas. This part of the guide will stay relevant for as long as you play this game or at least until you can memorize every skill in the game! Something I'll never be able to do. Also the author of this guide has a good writing style. 5/5 for the guide. Other goodies in the guide include a walk-through, a catalog of all the baddies with their details, tips from the pros and more.
Now the meat of this set - Diablo 2: LoD. I have to admit, I haven't played all the way through the original Diablo but most people aren't purchasing this set for the original. It's great that it's included and I do plan on playing through it eventually. That being said - this review will be more focused on Diablo 2: LoD. Note: you should go ahead and install Diablo 2 with the LoD expansion. You get all the great stuff from the original Diablo 2 plus all the goodies from LoD.
Here, let me get the sound, graphics and story part out of the way real fast...
Being around 10 years old we can't expect stellar graphics by today's standards. I still find them to be great though. They aren't high res or anything but things like spells still look great. The dungeons are randomized so they had to use generic environments which do get a bit repetitive. I do love the hand-drawn look. I did play Baldurs Gate on the PC way back and like those games Diablo 2 uses an isometric perspective. Your character does change visually depending on what you wear and wield.
The sounds are good. Clinks and clanks all sound good, monsters sound good and the music is great. The voice acting is average most of the time.
I don't like to give anything away story-wise but I have to say this one is rather basic. Nothing real epic here but it's not terrible.
You're not buying this game for amazing graphics or anything like that. You're buying this game because you want a great APRG and this game delivers wildly beyond my original expectations. It's no wonder the community is still active and there are plenty of people still addicted even 10 years later.
The beauty of this game is in its simple no-nonsense approach to character builds. ARPGs these days try to do way too much with the genre and ultimately bog down the game. D2: Lod is much simpler. You choose a character, you pick a handful of the many skills they possess and focus on leveling those skills up. It's really not wise to try and level up all skills because towards the middle of the game you will have a lot of low-level skills but they will all be very weak - so it's best to get an idea of the type of character for your chosen class, pick some skills that sound interesting to you and run with that (this is where the included strategy guide is extremely helpful!).
With a total of 7 characters and each character having a robust skill tree (each character has unique skills) the possibilities seem endless. There has to be at least a few hundred skills total and most of them are useful in one way or another. The skills are great because you can actually see a lot of them in action - it's not usually a simple buff up - you're summoning things, pummeling things, shooting chain lightning spells - things like that. With each level-up you get to assign a handful of points to your attributes (strength, agility...etc) and you get to assign a skill point. This makes leveling up a joy because you really get the sense that your character has improved. Each and every point really makes a difference. As far as I know you can level up each skill as much as you want provided you have the skill points to do so. So essentially if you wanted to you could invest in a single skill and by level 30 your one skill could be at level 30 (plus maybe a few more if you find skill books) That one skill would be insanely powerful but your character would be very narrow. The other extreme would be to level up a different skill with each level you gain (more skills become available as you level up by the way). Your character would be extremely versitile but also very weak. The goal is to find a happy medium between these extremes with the skills that work for your character idea.
Of course what would an ARPG be without a bunch of different weapons, armor types and other trinkets? D2: LoD definitely delivers here and then some. There has to be thousands of different types of weapons/armor in this game - maybe even tens of thousands of possibilities. There are a slew of amulets, rings and charms you can carry to help buff your character up as well. There are weapons and armor that have sockets (up to 6 slots) that allow you to insert gems and the like. Some of these gems are very powerful indeed! In short there is no shortage of goodies in this game - the possibilities really are staggering.
The gameplay itself is relatively simple but highly addicting. You have a sash that carries potions (health, mana, antidote - things like that), which is mapped to your 1-4 numerical keys (you'll quaff a lot of potion) and your skills are mapped to your F keys (F1 - F8 for each mouse button so 16 total hot keys). Well not entirely true you can map scrolls and a few other actions as well but most will use the F keys for their skills. Some skills are passive and are constantly activated as long as it's your active skill and some are more active - like spells and offensive skills. You can map both mouse buttons. So for example you can assign your left button to an attack and your right button to a skill and you use the F keys to switch between the skills. There's a lot of frantic clicking but if you like to use different strategies for one character you can easily map everything so you can switch between different combat/defense strategies real quickly. Also worth mentioning is you can carry two different weapons/shield combos at the same time and easily switch between the two in real time using the W key (default). This allows you to come up with many interesting combat strategies.
This game might seem like a simple point click at first but it can get quite deep, especially on higher difficulties where you need to use more strategy. As far as hack and slash action goes this game has virtually no negatives to speak of - not for me anyways. Some may create a simple barbarian who charges the field using powerful offensive skills. Others may prefer the sorceress and choose to invest in the different elemental magic skills ready for battles against all the different elements. Or maybe some will have a character that wields a powerful sword/shild as well as a bow so they can pick off enemies from afar and charge them when they need to (which is easily done thanks to being able to instantly swap between 2 different weapons/shield combos). The limit is your imagination and no game pulls this off better then Diablo 2.
The game still not intense enough for you? Well, try hardcore mode and bring your character online. Normally when you die it's a bit inconvenient because if you have high quality goodies then you have to battle your way back to your corpse so you can retrieve them (good thing you kept backup goodies in your chest - didn't you?). You also have to rehire any hirelings you might have and you have to pay gold for your death. This is painful enough but for you truly obscene players you can try hardcore. In this mode when you die you die. You lose your character forever, your loot - everything! That should keep the battles tense enough for you! I've only played a little bit of a character on hardcore. Right now it's still scary for me because you can end up flushing many hours of invested time right down the toilet. I must say it definitely adds an "oh crud this really matters!" layer to the game and I'm sure many players wouldn't have it any other way.
Another cool feature is the random maps. Yes they will all feel similar from game to game but they are random which means you can't just breeze through the game knowing where everything is located - that would be boring! The maps are randomized once for each single player game and randomized every multiplayer game. So if you clear half a dungeon then quit when you go back to that dungeon your minimap will reveal which part was already discovered and the dungeon will not be re-randomized (single player). The random map generator in this game does a great job creating nice maps - nothing stupid like the next level of the dungeon being 10 feet from where you started.
Before I write a book for a review I want to mention inventory management. Some people may hate this but you are quite limited on inventory space. You have your character and a chest to keep loot in - neither one providing ample space. I personally love this because the game forces you to really think about what you need to survive - it gives the game even more strategy. A few items like chest-keys and certain potions stack and there are a few options to lighten your inventory like scroll tomes that allow you to store many scrolls in one tome. Mid-game you get a nice item that gives you 8 additional squares of space which doesn't seem like much but in this game it's a godsend. Eventually you will be careful about what you loot and you won't just grab everything you see. Some games allow you to carry a rediculous amount of loot making it a chore digging through all of it figuring out what you want to sell. Also worth mentioning is when items drop the labels are color coded based on rarity so it becomes easier to sift over the loot before picking it up. You don't just pick up everything in sight and then spend an hour going through all of it - with this game it becomes easy to know what you really want to pick up.
There are a few small negatives I could mention but they are real nit-picky. There aren't really that many quests as most are geared for the storyline. Also you don't know the value of your loot until you go to sell it. There are probably a few other small things I could whine about too. This is really being nit-picky though and the positives FAR outweigh the negatives.
Look, I could keep going into all the fine details of this game but this review has to end at some point. This game is easy to pick up and learn but at the same time it's very deep and engaging. You aren't bogged down with all the fluff like you are with recent games. I can't believe I didn't play this game years ago but I'm happy I didn't! Now I get to experience all of its greatness! I can safely say that even being 10 years old and me just coming into it recently - this may be one of the best games I've ever played and it's certainly the best ARPG I've played. This game is balanced perfectly between depth and ease of use. The replay value in this game is amazing! No wonder so many people have invested hundreds if not thousands of hours in this game! Be warned though - you may have a lot of tired days at work from staying up so late playing this insanely addictive game. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Oh man! it's already 10:00 at night! If I start now I can get 4 hours of playtime and still get 4 hours of sleep... bye!
124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
I have played the whole Diablo line since day one. I have put up with lots of abuse, both from wife and kids, about being "addicted". Hah!!! Then one day.... after I poked my head in the room and ran right back out to see if anyone would chase me.... :)
Seriously, this game has it all. On most of the lower levels, the game is the equivalent of 'Freecell'. It is motion oriented solitaire, kind of mindless and entertaining. As you move up to the harder levels, surprises come and mental challenges. And of course the guy factor... all those new toys!!! (We even like the nifty clothes... errrr, I mean armor :))
The story lines are interesting, the players can be developed in soooo many different ways and actually have to develop different battle modes that translate well to their individual "characters" (Ever see a barbarian with a bow??)
I highly recommend this game, regardless of age or sex, single or multi-player... it rocks!!
69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2005
Diablo Battle Chest includes Diablo, Diablo II and the expansion pack, Lord of Destruction. This is a fun game to play online (World of Warcraft, this is not). You get to play as a hero to fight the forces of Hell. This is a well thought-out game, worthy of being the best RPG of all. I've played AD&D (and still do), but Diablo has some stuff that AD&D doesn't.
Diablo II is separated into 4 acts (five with LOD). Each of the 5 acts begins with a movie. The voice-acting is great. If you're an RPG fan, than you owe it to yourself to play this game.
85 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2002
This my friend, is an award winning gift set collection for any hardcore gamer. Novice or expert, with Diablo and it's following titles this is a great buy for your money's worth! You get the first-ever action-packed Diablo game, it's following ancestors, Diablo II and Diablo II:Lord of Destruction, and you also get Diablo II and Lord of Destruction Strategy Guide, and a cool poster all for currently twenty dollars! Don't miss out on this awesome gift set collection. In Diablo, you are destined to slaughter the lord of terror, Diablo. You get lots of fun filled quests with an epic story line, challenging bosses, great weapons, lovely items, and good graphics. In Diablo II, the lord of terror returns and again, you must go out and hunt Diablo. Diablo II has more items, weapons, better graphics, four acts, and great new challenging monsters and bosses that will keep you playing. Then, after you beat Diablo II, you must install Diablo II:Lord of Destruction. Diablo II:Lord of Destruction is the expansion pack for Diablo II. In Lord of Destruction the lord of terror doesn't return, but you must seek and destroy a new enemy, Baal. Baal is the big boss, the lord of destruction people say. In Diablo II:Lord of Destruction you get thousands, not hundreds but thousands, of new items, lovelier weapons, lots of new monsters, tons of great big bad bosses, and a brand new act to complete, to seek and destroy the lord of terror, Baal. If you have trouble you can always turn to the Diablo II Strategy Guide that comes along with this great gift collection, and who knows, you may learn something new. Diablo Battle Chest is a great gift collection for anyone who loves Blizzard's other award-winning titles, novice or expert, all non or current Diablo fans will love this gift collection. Why? Because it has the first award-winning title that started it all, Diablo, then Diablo II and Diablo II:Lord of Destruction, two manuals, one big fat Diablo II Strategy Guide, a cool poster, and most important of all, addictive hot sweet sweet sizzling non-stop action that will keep you riveted. So for your average gaming buck, it's not a bad deal, so I say buy this item now, or you'll regret it! :)
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2003
I love Diablo. In my opinion D2's the best game ever made. I've played with my boyfriend's copy but my birthday's coming up and I'm hoping for the battle chest. I've played D1 and D2 before, just not D2x. D1 isn't really so great. People say it has a better storyline but I disagree; it has an insane storyline that revolves around the items you have to give to people. It didn't click with me. However, I love everything about D2. The graphics are great for when it was made, and are still very fashionable by today's standards. It's just not 3D, which puts some people off, but it's a very good looking game and the MOST FUN to play.
And to the person who said that the game is horrible because there are scammers and people with hacks on BNet, it is all true. Playing on BNet is horrible if you don't congregate with people that you know. They all use hacks and steal items and scam you. But there is no problem if you choose not to interact with these people. Besides, this is irrelevant to the GAME itself; this is the fault of people, not Blizzard. The GAME is great but people are not. It is simple as that. The game still deserves 5 stars because it's the greatest game ever made! Very VERY addicting.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2005
"If I can just make it to the Arcane Sanctuary, I'll call it a night." How many times did I say this, only to see - out of the corner of my eye - the sun come up?
Both Diablo I & II are insanely addictive, so keep that in mind when buying this as a gift for loved ones. While the Diablo II expansion included in this set [Lord of Destruction, or LoD] keeps the game fresh, Diablo I is essentially outdated. Diablo I was an amazing game during the pentium era in which it was released, but times have changed, and ultimately there is no reason to spend much time playing Diablo I when you have the sequel and it's expansion in your hands. (There is an expansion available for Diablo I, called HellFire - but again - why not just play the far superior LoD?) It should be mentioned that Diablo II is far outshined by LoD, but you need the Diablo II program on your computer in order to load up LoD, so that's why this package isn't completely redundant. The strategy guide included in this set is for Diablo II; it is somewhat useful for beginners, but advanced players would rather have the LoD strategy guide [not included in this set]. I recommend that players download the latest patch from Blizzard, to get the most out of the game.
While Diablo II & LoD are linear in their game play (you follow the same path every time to get to the end of the game), it is nonetheless impressive how character development can go in so many directions. Seven character classes are offered, and each class has 3 different "skill trees" to progress in. Focusing on certain skills within a tree can itself change the way in which you relate to the game; characters can become so specialized that names have been attributed to them (lexicons can be found on the Net). For example, if you choose to play a character of the new Druid class, he can be differentiated into a Shifter, Summoner, Elementist, Botanist, Windbreaker, Bowling Druid, etc. [lingo used by Diablo addicts, these aren't terms that the game itself uses]. It could be said that choosing different paths renews the playability of the game, as you are forced to figure out new strategies to survive. Once you beat the game in "Normal" mode (i.e., finish all 5 "Acts"), your character may venture into "Nightmare" mode, which adds new dimensions and incentives to continue investing time in your hero (it gets worse: after Nightmare mode there is Hell mode, a level of difficulty that literally makes your character's life a living hell - sounds like fun, no?)
I've been playing this game since its release, have at least one character from each class, and can hardly believe how much I still have to learn. Lately I've discovered several websites devoted to the game, and features of the game that previously made little sense now are revealed as worthwhile to me. The soundtrack for Diablo II & LoD is so good that I've downloaded [for free] all of the music from Blizzard's awesome website. If you are getting the impression that this game can create a black hole in your weekly schedule, then I think I have gotten my point across. Be warned, this is not kid's stuff...I once watched a girlfriend's 10-year-old son break into tears as he realized he could not defeat Baal, the endgame foe. I counseled him on spending his skill points more sagaciously, but it didn't matter: he found some hacked items on the Web and consequently sailed unimpeded thru the game. I like how Blizzard keeps patching the game, though -- countering the hacks, with each patch moving the original version of Diablo II closer to perfection. Sure, it's a ridiculous game in many ways, but when you reach the Nightmare and Hell difficulty modes what you come to care about is survival, not how much sense it all makes...
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2001
First of all, this set is great because you pretty much get Diablo I for free, and even spend less than you would buying D2 plus the expansion pack separately. Diablo II is the most addictive and well put together game I have probably ever played. The expansion pack makes it even better. This single set represents literally months of really enjoyable gameplay.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Firing up Diablo II takes me back to my early days of D&D. I recently recevied the game from my cousin who has been a hardcore Diablo fan since Day One.
The Battle Chest is a great value. Although I've been slashing my way through D2, I just found out that a friend plays D1 online at BattleNet. Lucky for me, and others who've discovered the Battle Chest, I've got both games.
As many others have pointed out, the interface is rather intuitive. I've played D2 online for the most part. Starting out is a real challenge. If you're killed with no backup weapons back in town, you need to trudge out and reclaim your posessions barehanded. And the fiends who inhabit the Diablo landscape aren't going to make it easy for you.
As characters develop, they really do take on their own personality. As you "level up" you decide where skill points will be distributed. Will you focus on lightning skills, or become the master of two handed axe wielding ? Its up to you. Lots of todays teens will easily get drawn into the adventuring, to be sure. But for for the old-school adventurers who yearn to dig out their 20-sided die one more time, give Diablo a whirl.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2002
...And it's a GREAT value!! To tell you the truth, I haven't played it a whole lot, so I can't rattle off all sorts of neat facts, but I can tell you it kicks the "you know what" (...) out of most games.
The graphics are improved with the expansion pack included, allowing you to have 800x600 resolution even on the original Diablo II, which is cool. There are two new character classes, and they are both welcome additions. Act V with 6 new quests I believe, is on the expansion pack.
Like I said before, this is a...value. At first, I bought Diablo II for [$$]. Then I planned on buying Lord of Destruction for another [$$], but then it hit me...that, my friends, is a [joke]!! I got my money back for Diablo II, and then bought the battle chest which includes Diablo, Diablo II, Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, and an awesome strategy guide...but the best part is....IT'S [$$] LESS THAN THE DIABLO II + EXPANSION PACK COMBO!! Go for the battle chest, it's worth every penny.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
I don't really own the Battle Chest, but I have bought each game individually. I doubt that matters, though. Diablo was a great game when I got it and it still is, but I never play it anymore because of Diablo II and Diablo II Expansion Set. Diablo II is the best game I own, besides its expansion. I sincerely recommend these games but you might not want to get normal Diablo, because it will most likely be neglected as long as you have the other two.