The good old days

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Titan Quest. Being some kind of
Diablo Clone it is quite fun to play, though it does not reach the
originals level of quality (i.e. fun) by far. And I for one have been
wondering why.

After thinking about this for a bit and trying to figure out what made
Diablo so damn special I came up with pretty much nothing. Diablo had good graphics at the time, same applies to Diablo 2 and LOD. If you dare to start any of these now .. well, let me say, your eyes will start to hurt pretty damn quick. Though Titan Quest is visually decent not to say really beautiful, it does not quite have what the Diablo series had so far. See for youself (From left to right: Diablo, Diablo 2, Titan Quest).

Diablo 2 - Secret Sanctuary

Titan Quest Random Screenshot

I don’t – by far – feel the exitement that I felt when I found a unique
item in Diablo or Diablo 2/LOD for that matter. (Btw, you might wonder why I don’t mention Hellfire .. well .. I just did not care for it to much.). I don’t feel the thrill when fighting one of the level bosses.
Why that is? I don’t know for sure. For one I liked Diablo’s story a lot
better. I really dig that mysterious heaven and hell stuff, with shining
angels and blood-thirsty fiends and all that. Needless to say that I
liked those characters best which were neither of both. There isn’t only black and white after all.

Maybe it also was the way we used to play Diablo back in the days. We used to lock our selves in a fiends basement for three days straight and do nothing but play Diablo, drink cola and beer, eat pizza and smoke a lot. While this might not have been the best idea regarding health and all that it still was pretty damn funny and I enjoyed the time I spent in that particular basement a lot.

Still, I also used to play Diablo alone .. but that was only to prepare
for the next weekend of endless Diablo playing with my friends. Pretty much the same applies to Diablo 2. We started of playing this in the basement again but later on switched to Battle.net .. which wasn’t nearly as much fun. Though I was still hunting for items and sitting in the basement with my friends doing exactly that every once in a while.

We even played one of those new real 3D action rpgs for some time as we got bored with Diablo. I believe it was Darkstone or something. Even that was a whole lot of fun. Though I seem to remember besides us making the best of it it was a pretty bad game.

Nowadays this sadly does not happen anymore. Maybe that is what I’m missing in Titan Quest. Maybe it’s just that there are to many character class combinations ever to play and that the story, well, let’s say it just isn’t that good. Plus the balancing is pretty crappy. Though I run around slaying pretty much everything, the final fiend – being Typhon and all – pretty much beat the crap out of me. While it’s ok that you get your ass kicked by the final enemy it’s not ok if he does that for one and a half hours straight. I finally beat him, more out of luck, by using a bow rather than my usual sword. That’s something, isn’t it?

As for Diablo, the enemies used to be quite hard and – thinking of
Duriel – even unfair sometimes, though I never really cared because I
knew there was something cool coming up after beating that son of a gun. Not so much for TQ. There are virtually no cut scenes, no
nothing. Besides the intro of course. Even the first Diablo had some cut scenes to get you in the right mood for heaven’s sake.

By the way, there is a site called Diablo Evolution where you can see
how Diablo (1) evolved from a turn based game (!!) to the real time
action rpg as we know it today. Pretty cool. And brought up memories of my good old sorcerer with his thinking cap, his storm shield, dream flange, godly plate of the whale (or something like that) and king’s sword of haste (you know, for bashing that old bastard Lazarus).

Those where the days. Three character classes – though pretty unbalanced all pretty cool – and that’s all you get to choose from. Who needs 36(!) different character classes – or combinations if you want – anyways? What’s the point of that. Keep it simple for once.

I think I’m going to grab my original copy of Diablo from my mother’s at the weekend and play it once again for old times sake. That would be a good idea I think.

Oh, right, nifty fact: Diablo 2 and LOD where the only games I ever
bought the day of their release. Doesn’t that say a lot?

Come to think of it: Personally I would say that with graphics getting
better and better gameplay and fun get worse. This especially applies to all those RPGS.