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Summary"I feel good... I had no clue that I would..." ;))
The GoodEvery once in a while, I'm presented with a game that simply drives my sleep away... and the game that trully started such a randomly generated period in my life was "The Beast Within" about this time last year. I know pretty much I was three days sitting behind my keyboard, harshly refusing every attempt of my mom to give me something to eat and drink. Yeah, I think I lost a part of my soul at that time back. But after three days of playing, the bonds finally loosen up a bit, letting me continue with my real life. Second game that surprised me with everything new to come was "Final Fantasy VIII", and luckily, I was also only three or four sleepless days under its influence, and then it was all a bit better after that. That was four months back. I really hoped I won't be forced to live up to such path again... but I was wrong. My worst nightmare came to me pleading me to play it. 'No, no and no!' I screamed as I tried to save what's left of my real life soul, but I was barely able to stay rational in my decisions at the time. Thus, the reign of terror started in my very own room... and the Lord of Terror himself was responsible for all that... buuhuuhuu... I simply had no strength to run away.
Everyone who knows me... well, before my sudden change of thought, knew that I really disliked not only this game, but practically every Blizzard's game after 1994. They somehow started to made products that wasn't appealing to me. Yeah right, the big problem was that I wasn't paying much attention and was rather scratching just a surface.
"Diablo II" really possess a great story, a dark creepy story showing us battle of somewhat inner good vs. evil, the confrontation that simply cannot be won at the side of light if you're only a human. But how then can you explain winning over all those monsters when playing as a warrior, or a rogue, or a monk? Well, if it wasn't for evil within our characters, we wouldn't be strong enough to come and confront the Diablo, which probably used us with selection method, to pick the strongest host for himself next time we meet. Well, this is the next time, and now you're hunting the Diablo himself, before he reaches his two brothers and sets them free. The story would be meaningless if it weren't for all those CG cutscenes that more emphasizes the things you missed then the story. It's like you're trailing the animations and are always somehow one step behind.
Comparing music from this game with the original (where I only spotted "Town Theme", didn't even noticed the dungeon crawling tunes), music is now somewhat more noticeable, and for those ani-mani-acs like me, they'll notice that the best music is actually embedded within the animation themselves. What better way to give you more support to play, then show you astonishing piece of animation with a twist or render you didn't expect, to keep you 'til the end. And trust me, you wouldn't guess the end if you guessed the whole day.
As for the character goes, I prefer "Nox" or "Revenant" in this situation. I don't blaim them for using aniamtions without even mentioning the character with whom you play with, but I still prefer when I cannot choose, and rather have only one character, even if that means I can be a fighter, mage and thief all in one. The only character aniamtion is the one where you choose the class, beside that, dream on, or download the wallpapers lying around the net.
As for the conclusion, take my advice, and don't ever judge something before you tried it and tried it for long time enough you can clearly say 'no' anytime of day or night. Nor listen to anyone's advices (unless they're persuading you to try some game instead) 'cos you might end up missing some piece of beauty or the crap that you actually may really like. In personal opinion, without anyone's influence, I think this is just a hack & slash mouse destroying game, but deep within, it contains a beutiful and intriguing story with as much as dialogues as you can expect to find out in "Half-Life". Yup, the rule is still, hit and then ask.
It comes to think, they made this game for such a long time, and all those long time made games (to name some, "Blade Runner", "Guardians of Destiny", "Tiberian Sun") were really underrated. I mean, the technology pace is fast, really gigantic, and once you start working some game four years ago, it's just a miracle that it's even accepted by the time it gets out. At least we can always expect to see long stories, detailed graphics with probably many minutes of aniamtions, unique music set, and something we won't be leaving soon once we allow us to try it.
The BadIt's hard to find something against the game you once had everything against, so let's just say, the game got me, showed me new way, and picked somehow different approach to me, and ever since, I love it! :)
The Bottom LineThere are many RPG players that awakened with the appearance of Blizzard's "Diablo", and I'm one of them. And as much as I may be mistaken, under the genre of RPG, I always think of games that are 3rd-person isometric or top-down and play the way "Diablo", "Revenant", and "Nox" do. For me, that is the genre of RPG as 'we' know it.
"Diablo II" possess something to make you go addictive upon it, and even though it's purely slash & hack mastery, this time the game went a bit above and beyond to bring us some exceptions as to like it more. I know it took me over a year to even consider playing "Diablo II", level more loving it, trully, deeply, and most of all, madly. Yeah, you gotta be mad for loving such game, but I'm certified mad, so it doesn't apply to me, though.
The game gives you five classes at your disposal, the amazon, barbarian, the sorceress, paladin, and a necromancer. I dunno much about each 'cos I only finished the game with an amazon, but I can tell you that weapons are more or less for all characters (which I like in the game, and not like in other games where if you're a mage you cannot use sword, or if you're a warrior you cannot use bow and arrows), but the magic pockets are unique with surprises for each of them. Playing as an amazon, I haven't used much... or better said none from the magics, but there were still some magic weapons and spells my amazon gal and I were able to use, though.
The thing that this vast game should defintiely had improved was character moves. I was bothered when I first saw my character isn't always facing the exact way of moving, and as much as I now like this game, this thing cannot pas as neglected. It's a major lack in design. But considering this game is 99% based on whacking foes, you cannot expect it to have amazingly perfect character moves like "Nox" and "Revenant" have.
Music in the game and in CG cutscenes is more then perfect, I mean it, but once put on the soundtrack, you notice some tunes just aren't supposed to be listened without accompanying picture. Still, in this "Collector's Edition", there is included a pretty nice soundtrack considering the game's darkness. One thing is definitely worth having if you're a sucker for animations like I am, hehe, and that's Blizzard's Collector's Edition DVD Movie. First of all, it contains all five "Diablo II" animations with better quality and most important, subtitles. As you can notice, it's not always clear what narrator speaks in those animations, so this come pretty much in handy ;)) Then there are all kinda trailers and animations for upcoming and older Blizzard's games.
I must admit that when "Diablo II" came out, I was tempting to get it, but that decision was not up to me, but to their intro animation. I remember downloading 56MB heavy intro animation of "Diablo II" with my god ol' 28.000 modem at the time, and once I saw it... man, it was sooo borring, and so dull, and I honestly didn't like a bit in it. Well, now that I figured (more or less) almost everything within the story, it was okay, and nicely done. But who the heck is Marius, and why would Diablo called him just to break being alone on the travel due east, huh? ;)) Heck if I know. also, I wasn't too keen on characters' look and fire and creature looks in animation, as it was way different and not as much as nice as some Westwood's or SquareSoft's aniamtions. Well, that's what I thought... not anymore. Blizzard has a style, and they managed to convince me to like their game, simple 'cos of their unique style. Now, what I like the most within "Diablo II" animations was the thing they are not trying to show much. I mean, they're not trying to make some heavy action scenes or so I've got the impression. They're simply trying to protect the small little world of their story making you see only the necessary things you don't see within the game itself. Plus, I really love the way they are made now. One of the best animations I know, even though they are mostly drawn to the dark side of my rating. One thing literally made me love this game by 200% more then I did before... the final animation. I've heard groaning about the ending animtion and how it's disappointing, but for what I've seen, it's among the best ones. Maybe I'm the wicked one here, but I just prefer it as it is. But knowing there is already "Lord of Destruction" continuation released by Blizzard Entertainment, I must agree they planned it thoroughly with a surprise at the end :)
People use to say to me "Diablo" games doesn't own a story, it's just a no-story game with action-packed stuff. Well, I must confess I noticed the great story back when playing original and first part of "Diablo". But the moment I noticed the story and the moment it amazed me was when I first saw that trailer with caravan and my character from "Diablo", now as Diablo himself, going towards east, and with a red crystal shard in his hands. At that point, the story got me... but unfortunatelly, ever since recently, the game was equally bumping me out of its sphere. I can only say I'm glad that changed... and that I'm glad I noticed much more in this game then just high level of action, covered with blood of my opponents.