Diablo III's Riff On The First Diablo Is More Homage Than Remake

Diablo III’s 2.3.4 update has hit the public test realm, giving PC players a chance to play through a 16-level retro dungeon packed with bosses from the 1996 original. It’s not quite a remake, but it hits all the right notes. Update: 2.3.4 is now live on PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Originally run on 11/11/16.

“The Darkening of Tristram” special event tosses an old-school filter over Diablo III, limits animation to make things more jerky and only allows for movement in eight directions instead of a full 360. It’s charming, at least initially.


The town of Tristram has been destroyed, and it’s up to the player to venture into a 16 level dungeon to take on the original Dark Lord. Once in the dungeon proper, it’s a pretty much just mildly blurry, frame-limited Diablo III.

Familiar faces, familiar places.

It took about an hour and a half to make it to the final boss. After the first 15 minutes I was tired of looking at fuzzy versions of the same stuff I’ve been playing through for a couple years now. The only thing that kept me going was the promise of facing off against classic foes like the Butcher:


The Skeleton King:


And Dr. Gemhead himself:


The fights don’t last very long, especially when compared to some of Diablo III’s more drawn out battles. Mind you I was playing on normal difficulty with a new character, who went from level 2 to 21 over the course of the adventure.

Keep in mind that this is all PTR stuff, and it could change between now and January’s official release on consoles and PC. As it stands, Diablo III’s tribute to the 1996 classic is a charming little massacre through memory lane, ending in the biggest headache ever.


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Mike Fahey

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things.