The Diablo game series is an absolute bestseller and the most recognizable intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment. The first installment of the game, released in 1996, instantly gained a legion of fans and a huge group of opponents, all due to breaking conventions and setting the game in a dark fantasy atmosphere. Diablo is also one of the pioneers of hack ‘n’ slash – the RPG subgenre.
Each released part so far was a hit and has millions of copies sold, but Diablo II has earned the greatest recognition among players. In today’s article, we will compare the iconic Diablo 2 with the latest work of Blizzard Entertainment – Diablo IV, which many players unofficially refer to as the sequel to D2, due to the interesting implementation of themes from the second part of the game.
Similarities and differences in gameplay:
Due to belonging to the same series and being developed by the same studio, Diablo 2 and Diablo 4 have similar gameplay and mechanics. In fact, this similarity is shared by all parts of the game, giving the entire saga coherence – each title continues the story from the previous one.
GENRE – Both games belong to the RPG genre, with highly developed dungeon crawling mechanics and a hack ‘n’ slash combat system.
PERSPECTIVE/VIEW – Both D2 and D4 were created in an isometric view, characteristic for RPG games from the 90s, which gives even the newest installment of Diablo that recognizable nostalgic atmosphere that attracts players who grew up with the series.
CHARACTER CLASSES – In both titles, we have 5 classes available that differ in weapons and abilities (e.g., the Sorceress fights using magic, the Barbarian is a typical tank). Each character class has its own individual skill tree.
ITEMS – In both games, we have a wide selection of weapons and armor that “drop” from defeated enemies and can be found in chests and caches scattered throughout the map. Slain enemies also drop small amounts of gold, artifacts, and magical potions. The inventory space for characters is also limited in a similar way, and the arsenal can be upgraded.
GRAPHICS – When it comes to differences, the most noticeable one is the graphics. Although both titles are isometric, it is impossible not to notice the significantly better, smoother, and visually more appealing graphics in Diablo 4. However, this is not surprising, considering that these games are 23 years apart.
MAP AND WORLD – While both games are set in the same dark universe, we encounter a huge difference in D4. The world is no longer randomly generated, and features a much bigger map size and an open world that can be explored almost without limits.
CHARACTER SELECTION SYSTEM – Both games offer character classes and 5 options to choose from. In Diablo II, we can pick Amazon, Necromancer, Barbarian, Paladin, or Sorceress. In Diablo IV, we also encounter the Barbarian, Sorceress, and Necromancer, but the Paladin has been replaced by the Druid, and instead of the Amazon, we have a return to the roots with the Rogue. Speaking of characters, Diablo IV has one more important mechanic that sets it apart from Diablo II. It allows choosing the gender of the playable character and making minor changes to their appearance.
HP & MANA – In Diablo 4, the classic blue mana has been replaced with individual resources such as Fury for the Barbarian or Spirit for the Druid, which regenerate automatically during the use of regular attacks. In the case of HP, we have a significant difference compared to D2, where HP could be replenished using potions, of which we could have an unlimited amount in our inventory. In D4, we only have a certain number of potions to replenish the health indicator (e.g. 4), which, however, can be refilled with orbs “dropping” from defeated enemies or using the fountains placed on the map. The number and quality of the potions can also be upgraded along with the character’s development.
STORY – For obvious reasons, the story also differs between the two titles. About 70 years have passed between the events of both games, some characters died, and we will not see them anymore; in Diablo II, our task was to confront the resurrected Diablo, while in Diablo IV, the main antagonist is a dark entity named Lilith. Another interesting difference is the visually stunning cutscenes that complement the storyline.
As mentioned earlier, the entire Diablo series is one integral story set in the same gloomy, war-torn world plagued by evil forces. Thanks to the similar style, gameplay system, mechanics, and repetitive characters, we have a sense of coherence and can enjoy a similar atmosphere in both titles.
However, the creators have made every effort to improve certain systems in the newest installment, allowing players more freedom, better visual experiences, and deeper immersion through character customization options. This is a big nod to the players associated with the series, who consider Diablo to be an almost perfect game, lacking only a few additional features.