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We were very impressed when we reviewed Diablo 2 earlier this week. However the game has been out for around a year now and has garnered a huge fan base. As always a successful title prompts a sequel or an expansion pack. Unlike most games, Diablo 2 offers many hours of gameplay on its own so what could an expansion pack do to increase its appeal? Let's take a look at what Blizzard Entertainment has given us in the Lord of Destruction Expansion Set.

First of all the most obvious additions are the inclusion of two new characters, the Assassin and the Druid. Both of these new characters are extremely powerful and play a whole lot differently from the five characters in Diablo 2. The Assassin uses the martial arts as well as traps and has the ability to charge up attacks such as Blades of Ice and Phoenix Strike. The Druid uses a special kind of magic that allows them to shape shift into a variety of different animals. They can also summon up animals to assist them in battle and I have to say that the animals summoned are quite useful too.

The expansion pack also adds a fifth act to the existing four. This act contains 6 more quests and they are more difficult than anything found in Diablo 2. New terrain types have been used in this act and the graphics have also been fractionally improved. As this is a continuation of the acts in Diablo 2 you'll need a character that has completed the first four acts before you can play this fifth act.

The game can now be played in the 800x600 resolution which makes the game look better and doesn't seem to harm the performance of the game, which often happens when the screen resolution increases. Blizzard have also included the ability to create two weapon sets in your inventory to enable you to switch weapon choices very quickly. An example of this is switching from a sword and buckler to bow and arrow in one click thus enabling you to move from a melee attack to a ranged attack with the minimum of fuss. Your stash has now been increased in size and more items can be stored as a result. Should you hire a mercenary to fight along side you, you can furnish them with armour and weapons. This means that you can determine to some extent just how effective they are and keep them alive that bit longer to aid you in your fight.

The items and enemies you will come across in the expansion are also different. More 'Socketed' versions of armour and magic are now available as well as insertable items. Inserting certain jewels into some items can change the properties of those items. Runes, Charms and Charged items are all new additions in the expansion pack. The new enemies include Death Maulers, Putrid Defilers and Succubi to name but three. There has also been tweaks made to the original character in order to balance them with the alterations to the gameplay. As a result of the changes to the game you have the choice to convert your character to an expansion character to take advantage of the changes. However conversion is a one way process and cannot be reversed.

This expansion pack retains all the great text feedback and excellent interface of Diablo 2 and pads the game out rather nice with its extra features. Fans of Diablo 2 will love this expansion pack. Although the fifth act is rather short it is the other additions that make it a quality add-on. Think of it as expanding the width of the game rather than the length.

Overall Game Rating: 9.1/10 A great expansion.
System requirements
Windows 95/98/98SE/ME/2000
Pentium 233 or better
32MB of RAM

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