Quake in an RP nutshell...
You're probably wondering 'what the hell does that mean?', so allow me to explain. Quake and Doom, both 1st person shooters, have little in the way of strategy to complete any objectives. Simply choose your weapon, keep your heart in your mouth and blast whatever may come between you and the blue/red/green/yellow with purple spots key and, of course, the exit.
Now the same can be said for Diablo, though perhaps not exactly the same. There is a small level of strategy to the game (mainly in the way of building up your selected character, from the chosen classes, to what you think will be the strongest to taken on the dens of evil) but other then that, it's fairly easy to call it a point and click shooter, for that's what you'll do ... for the most part.
Now that's, in no way, an indication of whether the game is good or not, but more an observation. As it is, Diablo is addictive, easy to get into yet hard to master and, more importantly, it's fun. You won't see any Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights between the lines, but as Blizzard have done so often in the past, Diablo II is a successful creation of a dungeon hack and slah like the good old days.
The key to the game is the creation of a compelling story. It's the kind of imaginative tale I've come to expect from the Warcraft clan. In its day, the FMV sequences were top notch, the characters were detailed and beautiful to watch in action and the orchestral score beautiful.
By today's standards, visually at least, it doesn't hold a candle to the modern RPG or action title, but don't hold that against it. You'll still find more to do here, both single and multiplayer, and much more to see thanks to the wonderful design.
Let's face it, after a certain amount of time, hacking and slashing your way through level after level, you may start to wonder whether it's worth carrying on. There are areas where it seems just like the last level completed, despite different characters to defeat. It comes down to how compelled you are to work your way through the game, trying each of the character classes and/or competing against others online through Battle.net.
The online service is, in many ways, the saving grace for this and Blizzard's back catalogue. Players the world over will be fighting along side and against each other long after the third or fourth sequels are released.
The Bottom Line
While we wait with interest to see whether Blizzard will ever return to the world of Diablo (and I wait to edit this review once again when it does), the second title in the franchise still has what it takes to captivate an audience. If you, of the minority, haven't yet dived into the Diablo world, hunt this one down and give this little gem a shot.