Diablo 2 looks and behaves very much like Diablo. Players are assigned quests by non-player characters and adventure through dark catacombs and crypts. Hordes of vile monsters assail the hero, who survives by force of arms, powerful spells and through the use of varied and exotic magic items. Randomly generated dungeons guarantee fresh adventure each time a new game is started. But unlike the original game, characters must fight their way through the above-ground wilderness before entering a dungeon. Fortunately, some of the frustrations of adventuring have been lessened in Diablo 2, thanks to the new ability to run and the clever implementation of "waypoints", which let your character quickly travel to and from the safety of town. Along with the new character classes comes a new character skill system. As in the original game, players improve their character's ability scores as they kill monsters and gain experience. But unlike the original game, players get to add specific skills, spells and powers each time they advance. For example, after gaining a level you could choose between taking a skill that improves your attack speed or a skill that allows you to scatter your foes with a mighty shout. With this customised advancement system it is unlikely that two high-level characters, even characters of the same class, will be alike. Instead of progressing along a set path, you can choose skills and powers that complement your own particular playing style. Interestingly, this new customisable class system closely parallels the changes made in the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
Other enhancements include a method for creating and customising magic items, 3-D accelerated spell effects, anticheat multiplayer and a place to safely store excess money and equipment. But even without these tweaks, even without the sophisticated story line and all the cool new features, Diablo 2 is just a great game. The sound, music and graphics combine to create a tantalisingly eerie setting. Players will willingly let their game-playing hours slip well past reasonable bedtimes, suffering bleary-eyed classes and meetings in exchange for "just one more" magic item, dungeon level or character skill. Diablo is back. Say hello to the game that will once again dominate gamers' computers and say good-bye to your free time. --Michael Fehlauer
Since the beginning of time the forces of order and chaos have been engaged in an eternal struggle to decide the fate of all creation. That struggle has now come to the mortal realm, and neither man, demon, nor angel will be left unscathed.
Diablo, lord of terror, and youngest of the three prime evils, awoke from his long sleep beneath the dark earth. Setting in motion a grand scheme to free his exiled brothers, Mephisto and Baal, Diablo took control of the small western kingdom of Khanduras. Working from deep within the ancient catacombs beneath the town of Tristram, Diablo gripped the entire populace in a blanket of fear and paranoia.
Ultimately, as even Khanduras's good King Leoric fell under Diablo's wicked power, a lone hero arose to challenge the darkness that had engulfed the land. After plumbing the hellish depths of the labyrinth under Tristram, the nameless hero finally confronted the lord of terror himself. Knowing full well that Diablo's spirit could never be truly destroyed, the hero made the noblest sacrifice of all--casting his soul and his very sanity aside, the hero took the spirit of Diablo into himself, hoping that his own strength of will could contain the demon within. The hero could never have known that his selfless act would not only ensure Diablo's victory, but would also irrevocably damn his soul for all time.