by Jennifer Allen on
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Blizzard just announced the next Diablo game… and it’s a mobile game. If you’re one of the thousands of fans crushed by the news that there is no forthcoming Diablo IV, we’ve got five awesome alternatives for you to explore.
If you’re a Diablo super fan and you haven’t heard the news yet, you might want to sit down. The new game, announced today at Blizzcon, is called Diablo Immortal and it’s a mobile game. As longtime fans of the Diablo franchise (many of us on staff have played it since the original game in the 1990s) the nicest thing we can say about this announcement is that mobile graphics, in general, have come a long way and the game does look sharp.
But the game looks like a complete departure from the soul of the Diablo series and the PC platform that put it on the map—fans wanted Diablo IV or a beautiful remaster of Diablo II, but they got Diablo: Loot Box Edition.
You know what though? Once we’re done shedding some nostalgic tears like our boy Diablo up there, we’ve got stuff to keep us busy waiting for Diablo IV to eventually, maybe, someday come along. Here are the five best Action RPGs you can play right now to self-medicate and enjoy some truly awesome ARGP gaming on the PC.
If you’re a Diablo fan, you absolutely have to play the Torchlight series. It was created by Runic Games, which was founded by Max Schaefar and Eirch Schaefer, who were the co-founders of Blizzard North. Blizzard North created Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, so the Torchlight series is arguably a true successor to the first two Diablo games.
Torchlight II is the series at its best, featuring four classes, a large Diablo II-style overworld with multiple towns, and online multiplayer gameplay for up to six players at a time. It also officially supports mods via the Steam workshop.
Have you already played Torchlight II? Go check out some user-created mods like SynergiesMOD, which is a full conversion that adds new towns, end-game raids, and legendary items.
The original Torchlight is also a great game you should absolutely play, but it’s single-player-only. It’s also more limited in scope, being confined only to a single town and dungeon, where you explore deeper in deeper. In that sense, Torchlight II kind of feels like Diablo II, while the first Torchlight feels like the original Diablo.
If you want a game with more depth and complexity—or just a game that’s more competitive—Path of Exile is the game for you. Grinding Gear Games made an absolutely enormous skill tree featuring 1325 skills for customizing your character. Different classes start at different places on the huge web, but all character classes share the same web of possible skills.
Path of Exile also has a league system where you can compete with other players, Diablo-ladder style. As in the Diablo series, there’s also an optional hardcore mode where your character will be deleted when you die, and a special hardcore-only league.
Despite all that, the campaign is still fun to play through even if you aren’t interested in the end-game. It features a total of ten acts. The first five acts are completely unique. The last five are the same as the first five acts, but you travel through the act in the reverse order and fight harder enemies.
Path of Exile is online-only, and up to six players at once can be in each individual game.
The game’s developers have continually added new content, most recently the Path of Exile: Delve expansion, which was released on August 31, 2018. It features a new infinite dungeon as well as new items and other goodies.
Better yet, this game is completely free. It features micro-transactions, but those micro-transactions are only for cosmetic items. You never have to pay a cent.
Grim Dawn is made by Crate Entertainment, which includes many of the same people who made Titan Quest. The team asked for $280,000 on Kickstarter to make the game but raised $537,515 thanks to all the excitement. The final game was released in 2016 after a few years in Early Access on Steam.
Crate Entertainment made a solid action RPG with an old-school flair and Diablo II-style grim, dark design. The game features six classes and lets you combine any two to make your own dual class. It features four acts, or five if you buy the expansion. Up to four players can play together at once.
Compared to Titan Quest and Path of Exile, this game is a little more old school and sticks closer to the Diablo II and Titan Quest mold. In fact, it’s still based on the same engine Titan Quest used. But that will please many people who were disappointed by Diablo III and wanted a more traditional experience.
If Grim Dawn wasn’t old-school enough for you, try Titan Quest. This game was originally in 2006, six years before Diablo III. It still feels very much like part of the Diablo II era, and it’s a great experience.
Titan Quest actually has a very unique setting for an action RPG. It’s set in “the world of antiquity,” which means you travel through locations like ancient Greece and Egypt. The latest expansion, Titan Quest: Ragnarök, sees you traveling through Asgard, Jotunheim, and other notable locations in Norse mythology.
Rather than classes, this game features nine different masteries (ten if you get Ragnarök), and each of your characters can choose two different masteries. Think of it like dual-classing. It also features online multiplayer with up to six people per game at a time.
Titan Quest: Anniversary Edition was released in 2016 and combines both the original Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne expansion along with improved multiplayer code and other performance improvements. THQ Nordic released a new expansion, Titan Quest: Ragnarök, in 2017—ten years after the release of the first expansion!
This game was even ported to the Nintendo Switch, but we’re sure it plays better on a PC with a mouse and keyboard.
Many Diablo fans were hoping Blizzard would announce a remastered version of Diablo II at BlizzCon. I know, I was one of them. But, listen to this: Diablo II doesn’t need a remaster, although one would be nice.
Diablo II still runs properly on modern Windows PCs today, although it’s a little janky thanks to the low resolution. Blizzard’s Battle.net is still up and running, so it’s still easy to play with your friends. You can even have up to eight players per game at once, whereas all these other games limit you to six and Diablo III limits you to four.
Sure, maybe you’ve played Diablo II before. But, if it’s been a while, download it and dive back in—preferably with friends. The game still holds up, and it’s arguably better than these other action RPGs in many ways.
Heck, Blizzard has even been updating Diablo II. Have you ever played the Pandemonium Event added back in 2005, four years after Diablo II: Lord of Destruction was released?
Okay, if you’re a true fan, you’ve already played that. But Diablo II has a huge universe of user-created mods that add more gameplay. Median XL is a user-created mod featuring new skills, items, quests, areas, and even a new crafting system. It was last updated in 2018, and it’s not the only awesome Diablo II mod out there.
But it’s not just nostalgia. If you’ve never played Diablo II and you like these types of games, you absolutely should. It’s a classic.
The original Diablo was also a solid game for its time, but Blizzard no longer sells it online and it’ll take some hacking to get it working on modern versions of Windows. Blizzard should probably remaster that!
Diablo II and the Lord of Destruction expansion are available from Blizzard for $9.99 each, and you’ll want both. You can download the game from Blizzard’s website after buying it, but it, unfortunately, won’t appear in Blizzard’s modern Battle.net client.
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