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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Action RPG

 

Publisher

Havas

 

Developer

Blizzard

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q3 2001

 

 

- The new characters are pretty handy

- New chapter is quite large

- Higher resolution

 

 

- On higher difficulties some may not like being forced to play online to succeed

 

 

Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal (PC)
Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (XBox)

Review: Icewind Dale II (PC)

 

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Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Wow, utilitarian. Lord of Destruction performs all of the duties we expect an expansion pack to do, but that's about it. Bare in mind that this is in no way a bad thing, just don't expect an curve balls to be hurled your way while playing this one. What you get here are two new character classes to play with, the assassin and the druid, one more chapter of adventuring, as well as some tweaking, bringing some very handy additions to the game making things more convenient. It doesn't go above and beyond, but the expansion pack gets the job done and that's just fine as it is still a very entertaining little romp.

 

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First up we have the fifth chapter. Here the goal is to hunt down Diablo's brother Baal, the Lord of Destruction. It's set in a frosty northern mountain with a barbarian settlement under siege as the local town you setup base in. From there it's off to do six smaller sub-quests on your way to the big dance. It's actually a chunky chapter in relation to the other chapters in Diablo II clocking in at about 8-10 hours on the first trip. All the while you get to hack and slash your way through a host of new, tough monsters and the like. It's fairly rudimentary but that's just fine. The Diablo games haven't exactly carved out their niche in gaming history with their rich, enthralling narratives.

 

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On the other hand the different character classes players can choose from has always been very important and now there are two more on the roster. The assassin has an interesting mix of melee abilities and magic. See gains martial arts abilities that can be charged up and let go to pummel the hordes, not to mention she has psyionic abilities too. Most interesting are her trap related abilities adding a more tactical spin to her destructive ensemble, especially in 

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multiplayer. Next up is a rookie from the greater northwest, with a degree in horticulture our second new class is the Druid. As is the tradition in this class he's all about nature. Need an earthquake? Coming right up. How about a monsoon strength wind? On its way. On top of this he can summon a myriad of delightful furry friends for furious frolicking with the fiend. Wolves, bears, birds, they're all there and on top of this the druid can shapeshift into a wolf and a bear too. With the abilities these two classes have they do a very good job of distinguishing themselves from the rest of the already existing classes.

 

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Rounding out the experience are all of the nips and tucks that come part and parcel with any expansion pack. First up we have the resolution of the game. When Diablo II first came out one of the few complaints a lot of people had with it was that it only went up to 640x480. Well rejoice, because now with the expansion pack it goes up to 11...err, 800x600 that is. While things are a little tinier on screen now, shucks-howdy is it cleaned up. Things look crisper, taste better, smell better, it's generally a happy time with the new resolution, unless your PC is near the bottom rungs of the system specs, in which case don't be surprised if things start-a-chugging. Gameplay wise there's a lot to chew on in tweak country. First up we have the additional difficulty levels, so if you like it when the computer hands you your ass then it's your lucky day. With this teaming up will become more important if you want to succeed, as some monsters will become immune to certain attacks so the extra specialized members will be a must. With an increase in difficulty come an increase in bad-assed, ultra powerful weapons and armor, not to mention that there is now specialized weapons for the character classes, such as the assassin's claws.

As far as breathing new life into Diablo II is concerned, Lord of Destruction accomplishes this easily. The new characters are handy-dandy, and the additional hacking and slashing to be done in the fifth chapter are keen! If you dig on Diablo II then this expansion is definitely worth checking out.

- Mr. Nash

 

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