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.