And the gameplay is just as solid. While Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
is simply an expansion pack for the original Diablo II
, it crams a large amount of stuff into the box, enough to make most D2
players willing to shell out the dough for the added features. It is
just an expansion, though, so most of the game will be relatively unchanged.
I won't rehash what the original Diablo II was about or did--if you need to, you can read the original review, but if you're reading this you undoubtedly have already played the game. So I'm going to try to cover most of the game changes that have been implemented in Lord of Destruction.
Besides the increased resolution of the game, Lord of Destruction sports two new character classes. The Assassin is, in my opinion, the lesser of the two, although she's still quite an interesting role. Quick and deadly, the Assassin uses hand-blades and 'claws' to deal major damage while pulling off martial arts moves. Her Skill Tree generally centres around this, along with the use of a number of different 'traps' that you can set for your unwary opponents. There's also a number of Shadow Arts, which are high-powered abilities increasing the Assassin's strengths of speed and accuracy.
Much more up my alley is the Druid. While the Druids start off using basic weaponry, they soon gain the ability to cast some devestating elemental magics (fiery death, whirlwinds, and the like) and the ability to shapeshift into both werewolf and werebear forms. They can also summon creatures to help them, such as bears and wolves. Shapeshifting is extremely cool; your stats all get boosted and running around as a wolf is very exhilirating. The Druid is definitely my favourite class out of the seven total now available.
Along with the new characters, a new Act has been added to the game. Set after the fourth Act, the fifth Act has you chasing after Diablo's cohort in crime, Baal, who is planning on unleashing even more evil nasties onto the earth. Of course, it's up to you to stop him, and the Act takes place in the snowy highlands of the North. It's a big world, with extremely tough enemies and a lot of things to do; you'll be spending plenty of hours beating it. If you have characters who have beaten the original D2 you can convert them and start them off here; if you want to play as one of the new character classes, you'll have to play through the game again.
There are a lot of other tweaks. Perhaps the most major 'tweak' is the transformation of hirelings from useless to key parts of your strategy. They now have experience, can be equipped, and even resurrected if you lose a favourite one. They follow you throughout the game, and can be a great help to you on your adventure as they gain strength alongside you. You can even heal them with your potions.
Assorted other tweaks: larger stash, new item and weapon attributes, new things to 'socket' into your items, charms that give you bonuses by being in your inventory, recipes for the Cube, weapon swapping, and so on. There's a lot of new stuff here crammed into the box. If you want to play online with converted characters, you have to play against people who've bought Lord of Destruction, but that shouldn't be much of a problem, and you can always create non-expansion characters if you need to.