I was a huge fan of Diablo 2 back in the day. I can remember when it came out and I was working a summer job at what was then videologic (now imagination technologies) and one of the other summer interns and I playing it multiplayer a lot in our breaks (even one week when the boss was out basically for the whole week :D). So there's a lot of nostaligia there, I also like the game type I've put a lot of hours into Diablo 3 and Path of Exile and Torchlight and Grim Dawn and the various other more modern versions of the ARPG genre.
So it was good to see the old classic was being polished up and rereleased with refreshed graphics and cutscenes as well as modern console versions with some quality of life improvements.
The remastered version includes the original and its expansion Lord of Destruction (which added druid and assassin classes some more gameplay and additional weapons and such) you can play with the addon in or out depending on preference. Mostly the graphics have been updated to modern standards but with a press of button it can go back to the old school graphics which is a nice touch a bit like the lucas arts remasters where it will switch to the older graphics like the monkey island remasters or grim fandango etc. They have also redone the cinematics which I remember at the time were amazing but look terribly dated now so upgrading is nice.
The game now has controller support and is on all the various consoles xbox playstation switch etc. The pc version is the one I played.
One thing I wish they had redone is the mouse and keyboard controls. the controller has what amounts to a hot bar with the ability to asign abilities to buttons and button combos but the mouse and keyboard uses the oldstyle left and right buttons assigned to a skill and then you can bind the F keys to others or use the mousewell to swap to bound abilities. It's much more clunky than more modern versions and a proper hot bar would be better.
The gameplay is mostly unchanged for better or worse and here you see how the genre has changed over the years. You have a pretty small inventory and it just constantly fills up with crap and you can then start discarding stuff or jump back to camp sell it and then fill up again in five seconds. Theres no nice "send a pet to town to sell all this trash" from things like torchlight or "magically break this crap down to components and or money" other games have added.
Also part of the game has these charms you can use to get bonuses and to use them they have to be in your inventory taking up even more of your very limited space. It's something modern games have improved on giving you better tools to manage all the trash you get in these sorts of loot heavy games.
They have added a shared stash similar to the one in Diablo 3 which for online characters has three panes of storage shared across all your characters (allowing you to store and swap good items to your other characters when you find stuff for other classes) and then one dedicated pane for the current character. The online offline modes are something they added you can play online with others by making online characters these exist in the cloud are shared across platforms so if you own the pc version and say the switch version or xbox version all your characters and the shared stash are accessible from both ... provided you have an internet connection. You can make offline characters for play when you have no internet.
I might have preferred a less enforced system maybe the option to play both offline and online depending but it was something the original only barely did online being in its infancy at the time. The launch has been marred (because of course it has) with some server connection issues I've not had any problems but I gather its been bad at times.
You have access to the games original classes the Assassin, barbarian, sorceress, druid, paladin, amazon, necromancer they unchanged as far as I can see with the same sort of skills and playstyles.
Diablo 2 has a somewhat odd skill curve it can go from walk in the park mowing things down to suddenly damn near imposible and instant death which means you get to enjoy the terrible respawn mechanic where you get sent back to town and all your equipped items and money are left where you died meaning you have to wade your way back to your corpse with none of your powerful armor or weapons and less potions (since the number you can access is tied to what sort of belt you are wearing) then probably get smashed flat again by the same enemy because you're even more weak now. I soon learned to stash a backup set of stuff for those sorts of situations as well as some money to resurrect the companion buddy in those slog back to my corpse runs.
Some bits of the game design like that feel very dated and annoying the whole identifying rarer loot mechanic where you have to initially purchase or find lots of scrolls then about three missions in you get a guy who will just do it for free back at camp so why bother with that at all why not either do away with identifying stuff at all or make it free from the beginning rather than then cluttering up the inventory with scrolls you don't need forever more. Similarly the return to town portal requires a scroll so you have to permanently dedicate one or two squares of you inventory to those scrolls or a book of those scrolls. Just make that free as well. Potions don't stack so they consume a lot of space and you have to equip them to the belt to use them in combat which is pretty awkward. The potions do sort of get auto equipped to the belt as you are picking them up if there is space but if you don't set it up or run it out of potions of one type it can randomly fill up with all mana or all health or all stamina.
Stamina is also an annoying thing you have a bar that depletes when you run but otherwise serves no other purpose I know of so on larger dungeons you just have to stop for a bit and walk for a while which can be tedious. They should have just removed that and made the run walk a toggle with no penalty.
All in all the game is basically exactly what it says a polished reissue of the old game with all its strengths and weaknesses mostly intact. The gameplay is as fun as it ever was if you like this sort of game the graphics are now nice an updated with the same dark grim style of the original but not so eyebleedingly low resolution (although as I say a single button press brings those old classic graphics back so you can easilly swap back and forth to judge the improvement). The game is an old classic and while I wish they'd taken a few more steps to remaster it and improve some of its rough edges I guess maybe mods will do that in time.
I guess things like path of exile and torchlight and even it's sequel Diablo 3 maybe do this stuff better but there are a lot of fond memories there it takes me back to those days in the early 2000 on my summer break from uni sitting in a lab in kings langley where I was supposed to be compatibility testing kyro graphics cards but instead playing hours of this on the lan with a chap from germany who ran a powervr fan website.
Without that nostalgia it's still a good ARPG the graphics updates are nice much of the game system is still great but maybe some of the modern versions will serve you better.