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    Diablo II

    reviewed by Suetekh

    Diablo 2 - Click to enlargeThere are two things in this life that can make me truly happy: girls and games. Unfortunately after confessing my love for my best friend... I am left with one out of two. Lucky for me, Diablo II has just been released and my endless and sleepless nights of bemoaning my rejection have been turned to sleepless nights of planning and plotting my next foray into the dark world of Diablo II...

    I wrote the opening to this review long before Diablo II came out, searching for a way to ease my pain; I believed that nothing in my pitiful life would change from then till now. Little did I know that on the same day that I was able to purchase Diablo II, I started going out with that same girl that ripped my heart out a month or two before. So, what magical day could all of this have occurred on?? None other than Canada Day, the best day of them all. Thatís right, my name is Suetekh, and I AM CANADIAN. By the way, my parents were not extremely sadistic, stupid or drunk... (although thatís what I tell people... but thatís another story) I have chosen to remain anonymous, choosing to use my game name. This way, my girlfriend wonít kill me if and when she reads this for herself.

    Diablo 2 - Click to enlargeOn to the game. Itís been done a billion times before, and is probably being done a billion more times at this very moment, so I wonít bore you with the minor details, and aspects of gameplay. There are whole websites devoted to such things. Instead, I will just give you an honest opinion of how good this game is... and itís damn good. I think we all know the stories about guys and hairy palms, right? Well, now that the game IS actually out, I have played semi-consistently for about a week, and now I get jealous of the clean looks of an ewok. Thatís from Star Wars for all of those ignorant to the wonders of the series. Anyway, Iím forced to wonder if this affliction is restricted to male gamers. Guys, check your girlfriends.

    Diablo II is not without its faults however. Anyone who has attempted playing on battle net knows about how *#&%ed the servers are. Having been a stress tester, I have seen first hand the growth and progress that the servers have undergone. The servers suck, but they were much worse before, and are slowly getting better. Maybe one day, we will all be able to enjoy the lag-free world of Diablo II, where a ďfallenĒ refers to those pathetic little creatures in act 1, and not your comrade dead on the ground due to a server hick-up.

    Diablo 2 - Click to enlargeThe only other glaring problem with Diablo II is the ďpoorĒ graphics. The graphics have taken an enormous amount of flack from snotty-nosed reviewers like myself, but everyone has their own opinion on them, and hereís mine. Personally, I feel that anyone who comments on the lack of graphics in Diablo II is missing the whole picture. If they would just open their eyes, they would see a world of wonderful graphics all around them. The architecture in Diablo II is realism in all its glory (since it was designed by an actual architect) and said architectureís decorations are nothing short of stunning. The best example of this can be found in act 2. The crypts are beautifully decorated with hieroglyphics and ancient paintings, while the palaces are equally intricate and elaborate in their decoration. I may go to Hell for saying this, but Hell is no less aesthetically pleasing. In between mashing venom lords and corpse spitters, I have often found myself admiring not only my bloody handy work, but also the amazing environment that surrounds me. Although it could be said that the people at Blizzard are slightly off in the head to be able to simulate Hell, they do so quite convincingly. Then there are the cinematics. Hollywood eat your heart out!! Now if only they would make a movie. With Mortal Kombat and Wing Commanderís stunning success in the box offices, who could question the viability of converting Diablo II into a movie?? Well, maybe those were bad examples, but hopefully the idea of videogame-based movies will become more conceivable with the release of the Resident Evil and Final Fantasy movies.

    Diablo 2 - Click to enlargeAs for the sound in the game, if you donít think itís top notch, then maybe you need to buy a new sound card. The haunting winds in hell, the droning buzz of insects in act 3, or the bellows, yelps and growls of a monster in its death-throes are all stunning examples of the detail and care Blizzard put into creating a complete and immersive atmosphere. Musically, Diablo II is no less accomplished with fitting scores for each act. Act 1 feels much as Diablo I did, and even includes a familiar melody, although with a twist. The music of act 2 has a somewhat eastern, nomadic ring, while act 3 has a dense jungle rhythm. Finally, act 4 has music that seems reminiscent of Diablo I once again. Although it has been quite some time since I played Diablo I, (and even longer since I played the game with the music on... itís a strange habit) I still get that familiar feeling: the mix of anxiety, anticipation and even dread (yes, Iím a wimp) that makes the hairs on the back of your hand... NECK stand up.
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