I played D2R on keyboard and mouse yesterday, and it was the experience I always had with D2. I had a feel pet peeves with the animations, especially turn animations and monster death animations, as well as some technical things here and there, but my conclusion was “it’s alright, I’ll probably buy it anyway”.
But today I decided to test the controller support. Now, I don’t think I can stress enough how nostalgic it is to me to play ARPGs on a gamepad. My first ever ARPG was Record of Lodoss War for the Dreamcast, which was a Diablo 1 clone of sorts. My first ever Diablo game was the PS1 port of Diablo 1. Back on the PS2, I played the hell out of Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance, and I only decided to give D3 a chance when it first released on PS3. It is by far the input method I’m most comfortable with and that brings me the most enjoyment out of games like this.
With that out of the way, I must say, D2R on controller feels AMAZING to me. I’ve literally never had THIS much fun with Diablo 2 before, simply because I was never really playing it with the input method I prefer. When playing on mouse and keys, I feel like I’m “guiding” my character, pointing it on the directon I want it to go by clicking and such, which works fine, but on gamepad I feel like I’m actually controlling the char. Some things are actually harder to do on a controller, like kiting mobs, takes some time to get used to, while others might be a bit of an unfair advantage, such as not having to populate your belt with potions (when the pots on the belt are used, the shortcut starts automatically popping them directly from the inventory, which is not only super efficient but also reduces the need for belt slots), but which also compensate for the gamepad’s shortcomings (navigating the inventory is a MUCH slower process, on mouse and keyboards, in the event of an emergency I could quickly open the inventory and pop a pot from there in a matter of a second).
That said, I have a few feedbacks about it.
The bindings for the potion belt are hardcoded to the Dpad. I would like to have a choice to bind everything to whatever button I wanted, although there is still a fair ammount of rebinding options.
Should be possible to choose between using RT or LT to alternate between hotbar pages. It’s hardcoded to LT, with RT being an extra assignable hotbar button.
“Hold A to use” takes too much time. As I mentioned before, you could instantly pop a potion from the inventory in mouse/keys, but you have to wait several seconds to use something from the inventory if you do it from the inventory screen (for example, something that wouldn’t be on my belt like when I want to spam antidote or thawing potions to raise my resistances temporarily). A double tap of a button instead of a hold would be much more effective. It is also a problem when assigning stat points, and I failed to see if there is an option to dump all available points into one stat like when you hold shift.
Binding buttons is a bit cumbersome. I honestly don’t know if there is a better way to do this, but opening the skill tree and binding the shortcuts from there takes a lot of time. But at the same time, I don’t se a better way to do this on the gamepad UI. So this is just something to think about rather than an actual suggestion.
Other than that, I’m very much looking forward to getting this game on the Switch and playing it on the go. All the problems I have with this remaster pale in comparison with the satisfaction I got when I first moved my analog stick and saw the character respond to it.