The curse of chunky pixels falls upon Diablo 3 once more

Diablo 3

Loot-hoarders rev up your engines and reinstall Diablo 3, because it’s time for another annual dive into Diablo’s past courtesy of the retro-themed Darkening of Tristram event coming back for another month of low-fi demon-slaughter.

For those who missed out on on this event last year, it’s a good time to dust off your demon-slaying gear. Not only is Diablo 3 still a well supported (if curiously balanced) game, but the Darkening will let you poke around a semi-authentic recreation of Diablo 1’s iconic town and haunted cathedral until the end of the month.

Much like Alec, who took a long-form look at the event last year, I feel like the choice to limit the framerate and resolution while you’re exploring Old Tristram to be a cute feature, but not something I’d like to keep turned on all the time, but sadly it’s how they’ve chosen to present the entire throwback adventure. It’s not an especially authentic remake of Diablo’s classic gameplay either, with movement and combat playing out faster, easier and more loot-filled than anything in the more roguelike-feeling original.

While the forced low-fi visuals go some way to capturing how people remembered the game looking, I’d rather have seen all the new monster models in pin-sharp HD with proper animation interpolation. Blizzard have all the parts assembled here for a great Diablo HD remake, but it feels like they’ve arbitrarily bolted them on top of an engine that doesn’t quite support it. It’s an enjoyable diversion from the usual loot pinata-battering action, but a distraction is all it is.

Flawed as it is, it’s an interesting change of pace if you’re getting burnt out on the regular set of environments. Beginning your adventure into the past isn’t quite as immediate as some would like. As detailed on Blizzard’s page for the event, you’re going to have to rough up some cultists in the open-worldish Adventure Mode of the game first in order to get yourself onto the right ominous, portal-laden track. Once you do find yourself in the land of the giant pixels, it’s familiar stuff; There’s a cathedral basement filled with 16 levels of demons to stab. Go do your thing.

The event officially re-opened on January 3rd, and will continue until January 30th, 4pm PST. Sadly, this is just a straight encore for the event, and as far as I’m aware, there’s no new content to be seen this time around if you picked the beleaguered town clean last year.


  1. cardigait says:

    Blizzard and screen resolution… a couple that hardly sticks togheter.
    In these holidays i jumped on their offer and bought both Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2.
    I’m deeply enjoing Diablo 3, just finished the main story and i’m going to visit the old Tristam.
    The same cannot be said for Starcraft 2, as a proud owner of an ultrawide 34” monitor, i’m mostly unable to play it, since Blizzard decided that 1920×1080 is the best high resolution for everyone, and even fixed the game to stop workarounds from working.
    Officialy for online play balance, in truth… because they could.
    Luckily at least Diablo 3 support the utrawide screen very well.

    • lomaxgnome says:

      Your complaint echoes mine about Diablo 3, multiplayer decisions impair the single player games. I can understand limiting resolution for Starcraft 2 multiplayer, it truly could make for a tremendous advantage. But for single player, there’s no reason for that. Likewise, the fact that Diablo 3 on PC is still tethered to the always online system has resulted in lag ruining my single player game on multiple occasions, something that should never happen (and ironically makes the console versions entirely superior). We may all mock Activision and EA and the like for their decisions, but Blizzard embraced the “games as service” model earlier and more thoroughly than either. Their only saving grace is that they still provide a superior service when they do so.

      • cardigait says:

        Amen, it’s one of the reasons that made me wait years to buy a game i Absolutely loved.
        Had a lengthy phone call and got disconnetted from my single player game… WTF
        However always on sometimes ruins the experience, no decent resolution kills it.

      • ludde says:

        Blizzard and Activision merged in 2008.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Officialy for online play balance, in truth… because they could.

      It seems like a silly restriction to me too, but I don’t know why you’d assume they just did it completely arbitrarily to piss you off.

      • cardigait says:

        Naa, obiously not to piss me off, but still they cheated me buying something that i’m not able to appreciate.
        Simply put they don’t care to update it to support this function.
        Don’t want to ‘unbalance’ multiplayer ? Enable it only in single player.
        But they don’t think time spent on it is well spent.
        They can do it; what i hate is that you keep selling in 2018 a pretty recent game that don’t support this kind of resolution.
        On a 5 years old game i can accept it.
        Legacy of the void came out in late 2015.

        • ludde says:

          As Starcraft 2 and issues go, limited resolution seems like such a minor one. Tried playing through Heart of the Swarm recently and completely forgot I was playing it half-way through. It’s just so soulless.

          • cardigait says:

            Sad, did not even get there yet, i sense a full disappointment coming

          • rafters says:

            Conversely, I got hours of fun out of all three and still go back achievement hunting. Haven’t found a better SP RTS yet.

  2. KidWithKnife says:

    Sweeeeet. I was just getting into D3 last year when this event came around and played through it on PC, but I never got to it on PS4. This’ll be a really nice opportunity to snag those goodies on PS4 and get some easy exp besides.

  3. benkc says:

    The Royal Calf, Map of the Stars, and Wirt’s Leg were bugged during the first several days of the event. They seem to be working now though — just got my calf pet.

  4. GurtTractor says:

    Have they added controller support yet? I played it originally on the PS3 and the gamepad controls worked beautifully, just straight up a better way to play overall. More comfortable.

    Tried the PC demo a while ago and it was mouse and keyboard only, couldn’t even use WASD for movement IIRC. Just terrible.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I had some fun, nostalgic laughs last time with this. A couple fandom in-jokes from back when I was into D1, poking around in the old quests and set locations, that kinda thing.

    It doesn’t really remake D1. But it’s still a fun lark if you own D3 already.