|Combat type||Real time|
|Character Summary||Select one of the predetermined character types|
|Play mode||Single player or multiplayer|
|Game Controls||Point and click with some keyboard shortcuts|
|Revitalise character||Potions or talking to certain characters in town|
|Quests||Each Act has 6 quests to complete - except one Act which has 3.|
The Battle Chest edition of Diable contains Diablo, Diablo 2 and Lords of Destruction (Diablo 2 expansion pack). It also has printed copies of the Diablo 2 manual, the Lords of Destruction manual, and the BradyGame Ultimate Strategy Guide. This review only covers Diablo 2 with the expansion pack installed at normal difficulty.
The only reason for not installing the expansion and creating expansion characters would be that you have a group of friends online that use non-expansion characters. Expansion characters are not allowed to join a game with non-expansion characters. The expansion has many improvements, particularly in how hirelings are handled and more items to place in sockets. It also naturally extends the game from 4 acts to 5, and adds two new character types.
When you play online, the game automatically downloads the latest updates. The main effect this has on the battlechest edition is that the Strategy Guide is for the battlechest version and some of the information will become out of date. Up to date information is easy to find online though.
You begin the game by first choosing single player or multiplayer mode. You can create any number of characters but each character is for either Battlenet games or other. Battlenet games are the primary multiplayer mode, if you want to seriously play with others, set up characters here. Then you selecting the character classes. This determines the character sex, beginning statistics and what skills will be available to them. You'll soon find yourself in The Rogue Encampment and ready to begin.
When your character levels, you gain one skill point and 5 attributes points. It is vital to be careful in using those points. You are not allowed to change your mind, each change is immediate and permanent. In particular, have a long term plan for your skill points. You don't want to spread your points too widely or the skills won't be effective. You do want to place points in skills that you use a lot. If you aren't sure what you want, try going online to find other people's build of a character type. You don't need to follow their examples exactly, but it gives you a rough idea of one way to do things.
Your inventory and stash are quite small compared to some games. You have have a limited number of squares (weight doesn't matter) and will need to use the space wisely. You do have access to a stash, the stash acts as long term storage for equipment or other items you can't use now but want to keep. The stash can also hold your gold. Since merchants are perfectly happy to take gold from your stash, keep your money there. Death will take it's toll of any cash you have in hand. Stashed cash isn't effected by your death (at normal difficulty, this changes if you play the game again at a greater difficulty).
Your equipment is damaged by combat. When you return to town, make a point of visiting the blacksmith before you leave. You do not know if around the next corner will be a huge horde of monsters, so keep your equipment in shape.
As soon as you can, purchase a tome to hold portal spells, and purchase a few portal spells to fill it. Hotkey the portal spell. There are two reasons that this spell is one of the most used in your repetoire. The first is you can teleport when the fighting gets overwhelming. The second is that you'll teleport to town frequently to sell stuff.
Death is likely to happen to any of your characters. You waited a moment too long to drink a potion, monsters surrounded you and keep you from running. When you die, you leave behind a body, and a new one exists at the town in the current act. If you had a hireling, the hireling dies as well. All equipped weapons and armor are on the body left behind. To retrieve your goodies, you have to do one of two things. The first is to return to the body, and pick up the stuff. Any areas you've just cleared stay that way but it can be a long run to get the body. The second way is to Save and Exit the game, then start again. The body appears at your feet in camp (all gold in hand will be lost) and touching the body re-equips you. Which option you use is partially preference and partly what stage you were at when you died. If you had almost reached the boss for the level, it could be a lot better to retrieve the body then to fight your way back.
Be warned, the Bosses (final monsters of the Act) tend to be a lot more difficult then any of the previous monsters. You want to be prepared for those Bosses, have potions ready, and make sure your equipment is as good as you can get at the time. Check your equipment, your hirelings equipment. Have your strategies in mind. And be prepared to die a few times on the way to victory (unless you created a hardcore character).
When you save and exit the game, it remembers your inventory, character details and which waypoints you've opened. It doesn't remember what areas you have cleared, what special monsters you have destroyed, nor your exact location at the time of the save. So you should only exit the game when you've finished a quest or when you have just opened a new waypoint.
There is one and only one save for your character. Also skill/attribute points spent when going up a level are instant and permanent. If you don't do it well, you'll have to create a new character.
It may be just a slash-and-hack type game, but it does have high replayability. Each of the character types has a different set of skills which require different tactics. Also when you finish the game at one level of difficulty, you can try it again at a higher level. The end of each act is satisfying to reach, there is a feeling of accomplishment when you take out a boss monster.
If you are looking for new releases, the best graphics or the most quests; this is not your game. It is an older game but still quite entertaining.
Overall rating 4 of 5 stars. It would be higher if the game suited a single player on desktop better, but there are too many compromises with the online version.
Fans of Diablo have a lot of information about building characters. I'm a bit amused by the fact that the builds are given names (Elemental Druid). Some of the guides may make it sound like you have to be an idiot to deviate from their plan but it's a game. Build your character as you see fit.