While we’ve had the chance to reacquaint ourselves with the father of isometric hack & slash, Diablo II, in all its remastered glory, it’s only fitting that we look back at the 20+ year legacy that the Dark Ranger left in his wake. Discover our selection of the best of the Lord of Terror’s progeny.
1. Path of Exile
Unquestionably the game that best paid homage to the original work, Path of Exile stands for many as THE new hack & slash reference since its release in October 2013, courtesy of Grinding Gear Games.
Offered in a free-to-play format where microtransactions are mostly cosmetic, this is an extremely generous title in many aspects. Offering six character archetypes at the start, it’s up to us to choose the path of our class, in a freedom that literally makes you dizzy.
In addition to offering a basic life span to exile, Path of Exile is constantly renewed thanks to seasons that add new content, items, quests and bosses, never letting you leave.
After 8 years of loyal service, Path of Exile continues to carry the torch of a heavy legacy, which it is about to hand over to its successor, Path of Exile 2, which we are looking forward to with great anticipation given what it promises.
If you are a theory-crafting fan, if you love to spend hours optimizing your character, and if you swear by Diablo II, then Path of Exile is for you. Offered in a free-to-play format with no pay-to-win mechanics, the title from Grinding Gear Games is the hack & slash reference of the last few years.
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2. Diablo III
To say that Diablo III was controversial when it was released in 2012 (12 years after its illustrious father) is an understatement. Between servers that literally exploded at launch in the face of a horde of demon blood thirsty heroes, an art direction that didn’t set everyone straight, and an in-game and real money sales hotel that caused a lot of ink to flow, early fans were very disappointed F95 zone.
Nevertheless, the direction taken by this third opus in terms of gameplay has refreshed the genre somewhat and above all has greatly energized it. The constant flexibility offered to build your character allowed you to adapt to any situation, to the great displeasure of the most theory-crafting fans. The crafting was also quite successful and not too invasive.
If we had to wait twelve years to see a sequel to the iconic Diablo II, its offspring was not unanimously appreciated, mainly due to a controversial artistic direction and a very unwelcome sales hotel. However, the Reaper of Souls expansion has perfectly corrected these mistakes to offer an experience, certainly different, but no less pleasant and addictive.
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3. Grim Dawn
In 2016, Crate Entertainment created a surprise with Grim Dawn, which took the choice to get rid of the fantasy atmosphere inherent to the hack & slash genre until then, to add a little Lovecraft in an already well distilled formula. Crate Entertainment was not at its first try, composed of veteran developers of another classic of the genre to which we will return just after.
Grim Dawn plunges us into a Victorian atmosphere mixed with the sinister and filthy atmosphere of the Cthulhu universe, to the delight of fans of the Diablo I and II atmosphere. Beyond an artistic direction as sumptuous as it is disturbing, Grim Dawn also offered a gameplay that had proven itself in the previous title from the veterans of Crate Entertainment.
With Lovecraftian inspirations and an atmosphere that plunges us into a dark Victorian era, Grim Dawn perfectly follows the codes established in its time by Diablo II. Beyond a character construction that gives pride of place to intense theory-crafting and a resolutely gory and dark artistic direction, Crate Entertainment’s title brings an incredible depth to its gameplay. However, this game is for the most experienced players, as the slightest mistake can be fatal in this unforgiving world.