The original Diablo came out in 1996 for the PC, which was then ported to the PS1 in 1998 (the version being reviewed). The game is set in a little town called Tristram. Below Tristram demons, magic, and treasure await fearless adventurers. Players choose a class then delve deep into the depths below in order to thwart evil. The narrative progresses through quests the townsfolk dish out as well as in scrolls found in dungeons. It’s very light on story, but the atmosphere is interesting to say the least.
Many have tried to copy Diablo’s style, but Diablo is still the king of its genre’s gameplay: action, loot heavy RPGs. Players can be a Warrior, Rogue, or Sorcerer. While these presets have their own starting stats and gear, any class can pretty much evolve into anything. Warriors are strong weapon wielders, but give them a bit of magic and they can become what many could see as a Paladin. It’s simple at its core, but can be exploited through research. And yes, there is loot aplenty, but unfortunately, the space given to players is atrocious. Sure a simple warp back to Tristram can clear out one’s inventory, but the load times are insufferable.
Which brings Diablo to its weakest point, the design. Yes, this is an old game. And quite surprisingly, it still looks relatively good. It’s very dark in some areas and the distance is a little too drawn back, but it helps make things look clean. Zoom in a bit, and well, it’d probably look like hell, pardon the pun. That said, again, the load times are awful. The game is designed for players to warp back and forth from dungeons because the inventory space is too small. It works great in recent games, but again, the load times can take up to 30 seconds to complete. Plus saving anywhere suffers from the same thing.
Playing Diablo for the first time was an excellent experience. It’s good to see the roots of this game, and its genre, remain so pure on some levels. Perhaps the PC version had better load times, but the game remains basic even with that big complaint stripped out. It’s a nice throwback and should definitely be congratulated for remaining strong years later even if it is a bit janky.
Diablo 3 releasing on consoles, a first since 1998, inspired this review.