This here is a classic round of the Blend Games Battle Bouts. It’s time to turn back the clocks and compare two of gaming’s most fun and original RPGs out there from the yester-years.
Now, gamers are well aware of Diablo II but not as many gamers may be as fine-tuned in with the underground MMO classic, DarkEden. Both games carry the haunting, and foreboding air of apocalyptic doom and both games feature very similar, action-RPG gameplay mechanics. So going back to the vaults, which game is a better dungeon-crawling RPG? Keep reading to find out.
Diablo II is one of Blizzard’s beloved action role-playing games. It featured real-time combat, hordes of enemies to face off against, weather cycles, shifts from day to night and various classes to choose from, each with their own unique attacks, weapons and abilities. It was originally released in 2000 to critical reception and managed to further placate Blizzards fans into absolute geek-drooling fandom.
The various classes offered up different kinds of playing styles and like any other RPG, it offered vast assortments of medieval weaponry and magic. The game was best known for its randomizing gameplay effects that ultimately prolonged the replay value, especially for the online multiplayer portion of the game, which supported up to eight simultaneous players. The game featured many bosses, lots of dungeon crawling and was primarily all about looting kick-butt items. In a way, it could be described as a game that put players in the role of carrying out massacres on the undead for whatever rarities they could find.
Despite its popularity the game has not been widely imitated and does not have an assortment of mainstream alternatives, save for the highly anticipated, Diablo III which is due out in 2010 for PC.
DarkEden is an odd mix of MMORPG, dungeon crawling and perpetual player-vs-player encounters. Originally developed by SoftOn Entertainment, DarkEden was originally released back in 1997. The game became popular enough within the MMO genre to warrant wider, updated releases and continues to receive private server support amongst loyal fans.
DarkEden, much like Diablo II, featured several playable classes. The major difference was that in DarkEden players could choose from Vampires or Slayers, with each race offering their own advantages, skill sets and sub-classes. Like Diablo II the game sported weather effects, day and night shifts, and real-time isometric battles, making it a rare-breed in the MMO territory.
The major difference between this game and Diablo II (despite the obvious classification of an MMO) is that DarkEden didn’t solely rely on Medieval themes and skills, but rather branched out into gothic aesthetics, and contemporary and futuristic weaponry. This was all in addition to the traditional mage, sworder and enchanter themes from most other RPGs.
While DarkEden varies its users amongst various versions (including DE Global, DE Japan, and DE Extreme) SoftOn has been hard at work on a 3D version which is coincidentally prepping for release around the same time as Diablo III. The 3D version will feature the same gameplay as the original, only this time it will include Vampires, Slayers and Lycans.
Diablo II’s strong point of its gameplay resides in the player’s ability to nearly frenetically charge into battle and face almost countless waves of enemies. The action is constant and quick finger work and sharp eyes are required to play effectively.
The game’s weapon and magic variety are suited to the taste of just about any action-RPG fan looking for a grittier, darker and more fast-paced role-playing experience. Added to this, the game’s grimy look and gothic appeal have easily made it stand out as one of the most aesthetic RPGs in history.
DarkEden’s graphics aren’t wholly praise-worthy but they aren’t bad either. There are similarities shared between Diablo II and DarkEden, visually. However, SoftOn’s MMORPG is plastered with a semi-post apocalyptic look. Rather, it hinges of visually titillating gamers with the idea that civilization is on the brink of trying to rebuild itself.
The monsters and gameplay mechanics play well into the artistic themes of the game, and the real-time combat really shines through, especially with the gunners on the game. DarkEden almost has another side to its gameplay, however, insofar the Vampires are more stealth oriented rather than straight-up brawlers, maulers or killers.
Now before laying down a vote it might be wise to play both games (if you haven’t already) or perhaps rekindle a little nostalgia if either game has slipped your mind. Need a taste of Diablo II or DarkEden? You can check out the demo/free-to-play versions in the links below: Diablo II Demo Link 1
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