Tuesday 19 November 2019

Diablo II - What’s The Deal With Act III?

I’m currently playing through Diablo II so far in my hype for Diablo IV, I’ve never actually played Diablo I or II, I know all about the story with Diablo II however because I used to watch my Dad play, he was extremely addicted during the days of the game’s peak. Now I’m getting the chance to play through these myself, Diablo III was the first time I truly played a Diablo game.

Onto my topic, I’m up to Act V but looking back on my time so far and looking at discussion threads surrounding Diablo II from across the years, there seems to be a certain stigma surrounding Act III. Apparently it’s annoying, skippable and one of the worst Acts in the game.

And I found this odd because during my time playing, I’ve found Act III to be one of the best things in the franchise, one of my favourite Acts. I couldn’t fathom the negativity surrounding the map, the enemies, the quests, Kurast is so interesting. It was a huge breath of fresh air and a visual departure from anything I’ve seen in all three games up to that point. Having this dark, Mayan-esque Swamp/Jungle to explore, the music, atmosphere, everything was really amazing.

I found it to be the Act I’ve most enjoyed so far, there wasn’t any enemies I found frustrating or annoying, they were addictive and enjoyable to defeat, the dungeons in Kurast were really cool, the temple, Gothic, bloody artistry of the dungeons were amongst some of the most atmospheric dungeons I’ve played in Diablo (don’t get me started on the Durance of Hate.) I loved how this Act mostly left it to my devices, the quests had to be searched out and explored across the Jungles and Cityscapes, I naturally just unravelled the story of Act III as I went along, with the main Goal of reaching the heart of Kurast to kill Mephisto in his prison. The increasing corruption of the city as you ventured further and witnessed what had become of this place, what it could’ve been like, almost felt Metroid-like and I have no idea why.

Act III has got to be the most memorable thing thus far. I enjoyed Act I but Act II really annoyed the hell out of me. It’s enemies were enraging to my Barbarian class in his earlier levels and the dungeons and landscape got old very quickly (mainly because I’ve been burnt out by Caldeum in Diablo 3, which at least had its nice Oasis section to break away from the constant dreariness of its locale.) Lut Gholein itself is interesting but I found the Act overall very weak, it picked up majorly towards the end (the Arcane Sanctuary was by far the main stand-out), the Palace was a cool dungeon and Duriel actually didn’t annoy me because I landed some nice weapons and I Dual-Wielded his ass to death with the help of some Thawing Potions.

Personally though, out of all the Acts, Act II has been my least favourite. Kind of like how Act II of Diablo 3 was my least favourite, they’re so visually dreary. I’m kind of nervous that in Diablo IV, there is such a huge expanse of desert, two whole regions dedicated to it, I’m hoping they can diversify it more, mainly make their dungeons more engaging and interesting. Considering Kehjistan is explorable, I’m sure we’ll see the Oasis’s of Caldeum come back, I was hoping to see Kurast as well since that was a former capital of Kehjistan but it’s just barely off the map, which is disappointing to say the least.

I’m curious as to your thoughts and opinions on Act III and Kurast overall, I really loved my time there (not to mention Mephisto is one of my favourite Prime Evils based on aesthetic and visuals alone, fingers-crossed he plays a prominent role in Diablo IV.)