October 15, 2021

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Diablo 2: Resurrected review – faithful revival of an uncompromising classic

Where do you stand on separating the art from the artist? Maybe you’ve mulled this over when considering whether to watch a Roman Polanski film or listen to a Michael Jackson album – and Lord knows, the history of art would be impoverished indeed if we stripped it of all its monsters. There’s never an easy answer. In the wake of the appalling recent revelations about the studio’s “frat boy” culture, this is now a question we have to ask ourselves about Blizzard games, too.

In some respects, this beautifully produced remaster of Diablo 2 is unlucky to be Blizzard’s first release since the state of California filed suit against the studio. Much of the work on it was done by Vicarious Visions, a blameless outfit only integrated with Blizzard earlier this year. (Indeed, its former studio head Jen Oneal was recently named co-leader of Blizzard, a new broom presumably intended to lead reform there.) What’s more, the original 2000 game was made by Blizzard North, an autonomous studio quite distinct from the SoCal mothership. Diablo 2 is an adopted child of the Blizzard culture at best. But Diablo helped set the Blizzard tone, too, with its none-more-metal aesthetic, kitchen-sink lore, cutting-edge online multiplayer and endgame of abyssal depth and complication.

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