The original Diablo is finally available for digital download thanks to a deal between Blizzard and GOG.
Blizzard and GOG have teamed up to bring the original Diablo back to life after all these years. The 1996 title is available now on GOG for $9.99. This marks the first time that the game has been made available for digital distribution.
While this version of the game sadly doesn't feature Diablo's Hellfire expansion, it's otherwise a faithful recreation of the original experience. Actually, one of Diablo's available modes allows you to play the game exactly as it was in 1996 (which is to say that it will feature a few technical problems). The other mode features a slightly updated version of the title that benefits from some modern improvements such as borderless window mode, improved frame rate, and enhanced resolution options.
What's odd is that Diablo isn't playable via Blizzard's Battle.net. However, it is possible to enjoy the game's original multiplayer features whether you're playing the updated mode or the original. That's pretty impressive considering that we waited so many years to be able to play this game digitally in the first place.
Even better, Blizzard has stated that they are working with GOG to possibly revive Warcraft and Warcraft 2 by bringing them to the digital distribution platform. There's no word on when these games may make their debut, but it's always possible that the sales success of Diablo could hasten any arrangments the two sides have made.
If you've never played the original Diablo, you should probably know a few things before downloading this game. First off, the Diablo series has changed quite a lot since its debut. Specifically, it should be noted that Diablo 2 added quite a few features to the series (including many more weapons, more classes, more spells, and a refined style of gameplay that has made it timeless). If you're only familiar with the series from Diablo 2 onward (including games like Path of Exile which utilize the series formula), the original Diablo's difficulty and rough edges might be a little jarring.
Jarring or not, you'll likely find that Diablo has aged amazingly well for a game that is approaching its 25th anniversary. It's the game that helped turn RPGs into an addiction, and there are elements of the title (such as its more methodical gameplay and greater emphasis on resource management) that you could argue the series should embrace once more.
By Matthew Byrd