Review: Diablo (PC)

In this review, we check out another classic RPG game – Diablo. This time, we are giving the PC version a spin to see what it’s like.

Important note: This review covers the vanilla Diablo game and does not include the Hellfire expansion.

This particular game was released in 1996 and would kick off a very well known, yet short series.

We previously reviewed Diablo on the Playstation back in 2013, so we played through the game again on the PC.

The differences between the two games are surprisingly small. They are both pretty much the exact same game – as similar as a rogue-like RPG game can be (where dungeons are all random). So, we thought we’d cover the differences between the two.

The biggest noticeable differences between the two was the graphics. There’s less pixelation and the cutscenes are seemingly of higher quality on this version.

Another difference was a vast improvement on the loading times. The slower load times on the Playstation are seemingly caused by hardware limitations.

One difference that was a detracting feature for the PC version is the fact that if you are playing on an operating system like Windows 7, there is a major graphical glitch that causes everything to appear psychedelic (to put it nicely). While we did try a few documented fixes, the only fix that actually worked was killing the ‘explorer.exe’ process. This will make things less functional on a temporary basis, but as long as you know the “alt+tab: trick, it is more than possible to play the game. when you are done playing, you can simply switch to your task manager and click on “file > New Task (Run…)”, then type in “explorer.exe” to get your task bar and desktop icons back. It’s annoying, but hardly the fault of the game given its age. Why explorer.exe would mess with the colors of the game is a bit of a mystery to me, but it did work.

The final difference of note is the fact that it is technically possible to run unauthorized programs (ala trainers) on this version. Personally, I never bothered with any of them as I failed to see the point. If you are stuck on a level and your character has a hard time getting through it, then it is possible to simply start a new game with your existing character. The whole game will reset except what you have equipped, your levels and attributes and experience. This allows you to pick up extra experience and gold so that the next attempt on that level you were stuck on will be easier.

That is one thing we did differently this time around. On the Playstation playthrough, we just played through from beginning to end. It was hard, but it was done without any new games. In this run through, we made it all the way to level 13, killed a few baddies, then restarted the game. The reason for the timing was that gold ran dry to buy up the stat raising elixers more than anything else. When the restart was done, there were lots of books that were used to raise the spell levels of a lot of spells. This was more or less unavailable on the first playthrough. Admittedly, the usefulness of this was somewhat questionable outside of lowering the cost of Town Portal given that warrior was used. One thing of note was the fact that the enemies in the first few levels offered absolutely no experience points. This was a surprise, but when we started running through levels where monsters required more than one hit to kill, experience points started counting again. Not entirely sure where the cutoff is exactly, but if your simply doing one hit kills on all enemies on a given level after a new game is started, you probably aren’t earning experience points.

Overall, having played the Playstation game, even though this game is effectively being replayed again two years later, it was a little tougher to keep interested in this game until the new game was launched. Still, I’m sure that if I wanted to play this game again, the novelty of choosing a new game with an existing character would wear off. Had I not discovered this element in the game, I would have scored this game lower on the replay value. An interesting game to play on a different platform even if the differences were outside of graphics and loading times.

Overall

Furthest point in game: Defeated Diablo as a level 26 warrior (beat the game).

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 82%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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