Diablo 20th Anniversary Event in Diablo III

Below is the transcript for the video above:

The Diablo 20th anniversary has come and gone. This means 2 things…

  1. I’m old now.
  2. It’s time for Blizzard to roll out some fun anniversary activities.

Blizzard released Diablo on December 31, 1996, and they did what they do best. They took a genre (in this case, rpgs), streamlined it down, and slathered it with a dark fantasy theme.

I don’t want to understate their design strategy. There’s a lot of depth to Diablo. I spent an inordinant amount of time playing this game in college, but after playing it again recently I’m struck by just how rpgish it really feels. The pace is so much slower and methodical than I remember.

To celebrate the Diablo 20th anniversary, Blizzard has rolled out a few things in their stable of games. But, the one I want to take a look at is the Diablo III event, which was pitched as a recreation of parts of Diablo.

I was excited about this. Blizzard’s chief development officer called it ” a proper old-school Diablo experience.” He said it was going to “send you back into the depths of the Cathedral.” It was reported that character movement would be locked to just eight directions, like the original.

What we got was not quite what he was selling there. It’s fun, and I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

But, what it is in reality is 16 levels with Diablo III assets and a “retro” filter over the graphics. Pearce called this filter “retrovision”. But, it doesn’t really look low resolution. It just looks blurry and weird. When we town portal back to sell stuff, it’s jarring and I wish the levels just looked like regular Diablo III.

My wife and I played through the 16 levels, and we had a blast doing it. But, it didn’t really hit me with nostalgia. Diablo was cool at the end, but I was hoping that they would have added a more hell themed level for him. Instead, he’s just hanging around in a dungeon with the rest of the gang.

The game did hit me in the feels after we defeated him by playing the original game ending. That was a neat touch, and I was glad to see it.

Check out our video with in game footage here.

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