I bought the original Diablo at launch and have played it through every iteration. I will start a game of this new model tonight.
What a fun new year treat for Diablo players. This week's update, The Darkening of Tristram, adds a 16-tier dungeon that celebrates the series' origins with familiar old bosses, new items and a clever old-school visual filter.
The change of appearance is stark. The new dungeon and the surrounding fields are rendered in big pixels and the colour palette has been adjusted to closer match the grey graveyard hues of Diablo 1—Tristram's Darkening is a literal one. Once you've passed through the pixellated portal in old Tristram, movement and combat animations are displayed at lower framerates. The withered trees even have the appearance of 2D sprites to create a parallax scroll feel as you move around.
It's beautifully done, and it's an interesting attempt to reconnect with a game that today seems curiously out of reach. Blizzard says it scoured old community wikis for ideas and detailed information about Diablo 1 to build the Darkening of Tristram. Strange that this formative classic is partially lost to time, to the extent that it needs to be excavated from player memories recorded in online archives.