PSX Mania – 033 – Diablo (1998)

Completion time: 12:49:00

As far as I know, there aren’t many ….Diablo-type games on the PS1. It’s a genre that really wasn’t as prevalent as it was until after Diablo II was released, so that explains the lack of them on the console. The fact that Diablo even came out on the PS1 is quite something. Having never played this on PC (only the second and third titles I have had time with previously), and with the architecture behind it, I am very pleasantly surprised at how the game performs overall, although there are still a number of frustrations.

The biggest frustration of them all has to do with load times. Saving a game takes 25 seconds. Loading the next area takes roughly the same. Loading a save is about the same. Diablo is a game where you have to save often, especially since the farther down you go into the main dungeon (there’s only one real dungeon, which sometimes opens its self up to several smaller sub-dungeons, all randomly generated) the more aggravating fights become. There’s also a lack of questing, with a few you can find early on, but then it seemed like beyond that, it was just a straight grind.

Being a warrior on my playthrough, I am focused on melee attacks, not enough magic to even cast a single heal later in the game, so having to chase down archers that will never stop running, to hit them with as weird a melee box as enemies have in this game, is a nightmare. It leads to lots of deaths, which leads to lots of loading, which leads to lots of waiting, which leads to lots of boredom waiting. What’s worse is getting surrounded by enemies, where their hits are basically stunlocking you to an extent, making it near impossible to fight out of the situation, unless you are like me and get lucky and stumble upon a super fast swinging weapon that evens the odds somewhat. It gets absolutely maddening at times, and yet Diablo is still a good time.

For a 1998 release, Diablo looks and plays decently. Although it feels like every direction that isn’t left or right moves at a snails pace, it’s mechanically sound enough. The only headache is forgetting to switch out the town portal button back to something else, and wasting a scroll.

Diablo was one of the games I’ve always wanted to play on the PS1. Was it everything I wanted and more? No, not really, but it was a well made action RPG during a time, and console cycle, that I wouldn’t have thought would host such a title. The load times do add up and somewhat soil the experience more than an hour of the playtime is dedicated to loading areas, loading saves and saving), as do the multiple schmuck spots of enemies that surround you or run away endlessly, but it’s a fun time. Though I don’t know its value offhand, if it isn’t astronomical, I do recommend finding this and giving it a go. It’ll feel rough compared to similar titles released even several years after it, but the gameplay holds up surprisingly well after all these years, and must have been quite something in 1998. It’s not a top game on the console, but it’s sets out what it’s trying to do, and does it in a serviceable manner.

Rating: 8

Twitch VOD:
Part 1.2/2:
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Part 2/2:

YouTube video:


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