It plays almost exactly like that too. In Diablo II
, you'll find yourself chasing the Prime Evils, which are bent on the destruction of the known world or some nonsense. Plot has never been a particularly strong suit of Diablo
, and D2
has the same 'kill foozle' plotline that you've come to expect.
That's not to say that D2 doesn't improve on the first one. For one, the game world is an order of magnitude larger, with the first Act being pretty much as large as the original game (and there are four Acts). Instead of being centered around a town and delving under it to fight the evil menace, you'll be starting in a different town for each Act, and then exploring the area around it, finding places to go and enemies to kill. This addition of a wilderness really makes Diablo II feel more like a conceivable, believable world, and less like a one-shot adventure.
The characters you can choose from are many and interesting -- you can be an Amazon, skilled in ranged fighting (much like the Rogue in the first game), a Barbarian, which can beat the tar out of everyone (shades of the Fighter), a Sorceress, skilled in elemental magic (a la Mage). Two classes with no real precedents have been added -- the Paladin, who is both a skilled fighter and capable of casting protective 'auras,' and a Necromancer, who can raise the dead and have them fight for him.
Along with these classes, Diablo II now sports a skill Tree, where you can customize your hero in any way you like. You want your Amazon to specialize in bows? Have at it. You want to be an Ice Sorceress? Sure. You can spread yourself out and be merely competent in the various skills, or you can concentrate strongly on one skillset and milk it for all its worth.
The quest structure in Diablo II is much more strict than the structure in the first. You're going to be doing the same quests with the various characters, in the same order. This was somewhat disappointing to me -- Diablo II has gone even further from its rogue-like roots with these concrete plots.
The game itself is much the same as the first Diablo -- click on an enemy until dead. You can hold the button down now, instead of destroying your finger, but you'll probably find yourself clicking anyway. Old habits die hard.
Yes, most of the enemies in each Act are simply pallette-swapped versions of previous ones. Yes, the random dungeons often have completely pointless sidepaths that do nothing but waste time. But it's a testament to Blizzard's design that even though I knew of these problems, that I realized that Diablo II was really nothing more than a super-expansion pack for Diablo, I couldn't stop playing. Hours and nights went by as I went for one more quest, one step closer to the final confrontation with... well, you guess. This is good game design, folks.
The multiplayer feature is what you'd expect from Blizzard -- nicely done. In addition to having 'Open' characters, where you can play at home and then use them on the Internet, you also can have 'Realm' characters. These Realm characters are stored on Blizzard's server, making them (supposedly) hack-proof, and are the only 'official' characters that you can have. Beating the game with a Realm character lets you play in a hardcore mode, where if you die, the game is over. This goes back to the real roots of Diablo II -- rogue-like gaming, where you could save anywhere you like but when you die, the save game is deleted. Of course, with it being stored on a server, you won't have a chance to undelete the save file.
This would all be well and good if battle.net could stay up for more than ten minutes at a time. Argh! I had more problems with playing the game over the Internet than anything else, and I eventually gave up after a few tentative forays, and went back to the single-player game. It helped keep my sanity. This is something that Blizzard is undoubtedly working on fixing, and it's something that definitely NEEDS to be fixed.