Matt Uelmen
Diablo II


4.5
superb

Review

by Sputnik's official false metal authority USER (28 Reviews)
February 19th, 2011 | 81 replies | 8,187 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Diablo's back, and he's got an amazing soundtrack to back him up.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Fear is such a peculiar thing. In its nature, it is a negative emotion which is often linked to a negative event, and is commonly associated with things that are unknown to people. Interestingly, this emotion can also be turned around and used as a positive incentive for gamers in order to make a game more compelling and immersive. Frightening games are pretty standard nowadays, just think of F.E.A.R. or Dead Space. These games have the technology on their side, because they can make use of various graphical effects for a heightened shock effect. However, back in 2000 when Diablo II was released, there were no amazing graphics to back up the game. So, one had to be creative with the resources that were available at that time, meaning that they had to put all the shock effect into the sounds, seeing that the graphics were pretty limiting. Of course you can make extensive use of sound effects, and to be honest the sound of bones scraping over the floor is pretty scary, but this can only go so far before it becomes a parody of itself. Because of this, Blizzard North knew they had to deliver one hell of a soundtrack. So, they hired composer Matt Uelmen to create a truly haunting musical piece of work.

The Diablo 2 soundtrack can be roughly divided into four parts, representing the four acts that the (original) game has. Each of these acts has its own distinct kind of atmosphere, and they differ a lot from each other. They do however have one thing in common: their soundtracks are all creepy as hell. Except for the final two tracks 'Coda' and 'Roger and Me' which are relatively upbeat, the composer did an amazing job at keeping the whole soundtrack dark and grim, but also creating a lot of diversity between the different acts and their respective songs. What is so special about this soundtrack is that it is amazingly ambient, even while only listening to one song at a time. As a soundtrack, it is a massive piece of work, fully representing the paranoia that the game was trying to inflict on its players, but one can do nothing else than be amazed when listening to it as a whole, considering that Matt Uelmen has managed to create an atmosphere this scary with the use of just a few instruments and musical effects.

As a whole, this CD truly shines. Even today, 11 years after its release it still bears that grim touch that it used to have when the game was just released, and even without thinking about the absolute horrors that it was usually meant to announce, most of it will surely give you the chills, except for the last two songs. Take 'Jungle' for example, that manages to create an atmosphere of actually being lost in the jungle by just applying a simple but haunting djembe beat. 'Tombs' gives off a sort of evil that you might expect from a classic dungeon crawler game, and makes excellent use of string instruments to make you shiver every single time they pop up. The excellent album opener 'Wilderness' openly displays the composer's philosophy with its simple but effective guitar chords and slamming drums. This song shows that good music doesn't require complex musical arrangements. It is truly amazing how Matt Uelmen manages to create so very much out of so little musical complexity, to create song after song with the application of just a few musical instruments and to keep them so interesting and immersive while maintaining the dark and scary atmosphere.

As I previously mentioned, the soundtrack does suffer from a few hiccups in terms of musical style. The outtakes 'Coda' and 'Roger and Me' do not fit in at all with the rest, and as such make for a pretty awkward listen after you have just gone through the scary stuff. However, Matt Uelmen has done a good job at placing them at the back of the CD, so it makes sense that when the world is rid of all evil, the soundtrack gets a little more upbeat. In the end it turns out to be not that much of a problem, but they do stand out as the odd twins.

Of course, one can not overlook the nostalgic value of this soundtrack, but I can safely say that it is able to accomplish all of its goals independent of the actual game, the nostalgic feeling this will surely conjure up with a lot of people is just a side bonus and does not affect the actual quality of the material. So, as a truly haunting experience, the Diablo 2 Soundtrack is everything you would expect from a soundtrack accompanying such a classic game, and then some more. I still have one complaint: Who the hell thought that it was a good idea not include the beautiful Tristram theme on this CD?



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user ratings (16)
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4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyrael
February 19th 2011



20828 Comments


-Dedicated to Irving-
Somehow I feel this could have been better. Oh well...

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011



7177 Comments


Solid review, one of your best yet, I dare say. It's the most directed Tyraelxy work I've ever read for sure.

That said, these are some things I'd like to point out:

i.) However, back in 2000 when Diablo II was released, there were no amazing graphics to back up the game. So, one had to be creative with the resources that were available at that time, meaning that they had to put all the shock effect into the sounds, seeing that the graphics were pretty limiting.

I don't quite buy that lol. We perceive graphics as being "good" relative to their time; as I recall, people felt that Diablo II's graphics were pretty kick-ass.

ii.) You could probably have had a lot more fun with this. Don't be afraid to share an anecdote or too! (just be careful to disguise it as objective information ;) ) Make the review entertaining! This is fricking DIABLO II for God's sake! =)

iii.) There's a bit too many personal pronouns for my liking - try and cut back on them a bit. This review does a bit of a balancing act in trying to be both conversational and formal, and I think it suffers a bit for that. Pick a line, and run with it.

I think your third paragraph is by far the strongest of the lot. As many of us have said before, you're slowly but steadily improving. I predict that in the next ten reviews or so, you'll be significantly better yet again. Keep reading other people's reviews; don't be afraid to experiment, and keep at it!

PS - Loved the dedication and your user name. It's nice to have a fan ;)

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

MUNGOLOID
February 19th 2011



4290 Comments


always wanted to play one of these games. used to know this cute student teacher that was addicted to it.

Tyrael
February 19th 2011



20828 Comments


I don't quite buy that lol. We perceive graphics as being "good" relative to their time; as I recall, people felt that Diablo II's graphics were pretty kick-ass.

Believe it or not, Diablo II's graphics were outdated, it used the same graphical engine as Diablo I...
Thanks for the feedback, I'll keep it in mind.
always wanted to play one of these games.

Please do! They are amazing!


Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011



7177 Comments


it used the same graphical engine as Diablo I...

REALLY?!!! o.O

Tyrael
February 19th 2011



20828 Comments


Of course they made a few improvements like the shades but they didnt change all that much.

You could probably have had a lot more fun with this. Don't be afraid to share an anecdote or
too! (just be careful to disguise it as objective information ;) ) Make the review entertaining! This
is fricking DIABLO II for God's sake! =)

Oh God no I just wanted to get this over with... I wrote this piece of sh*t five times and then I just
gave up...

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011



7177 Comments


Oh no. Sounds like it became more of a chore than fun =(

Tyrael
February 19th 2011



20828 Comments


Playing Diablo II again was fun but this review was really hard for me to write and I think it shows.
Maybe I'm just not fit for writing reviews...

Nagrarok
February 19th 2011



8197 Comments


Didn't expect to see anything like this get reviewed here, nicely done indeed. I've never played the game although two of my friends were really into it for a good while.

TheSpirit
February 19th 2011



17735 Comments


FUCK. Can't wait for DIII. Gonna be a basement dwelling goon for months and months

Digging: Emarosa - Versus

Tyrael
February 19th 2011



20828 Comments


Can't wait for DIII

I'm kinda scared of how the orb system will work out... oh well
Yay the album artwork got accepted!

sifFlammable
February 19th 2011



2741 Comments


Didn't expect to see anything like this get reviewed here[2]

Acanthus
February 19th 2011



9537 Comments


Game was great, though trying to play it on my monitor gave me so many hours of trouble.

Never beat it, but I can attest to the amazing score.

MisterSteel
February 19th 2011



453 Comments


I'm getting all sorts of flashbacks reading about this score. So good, review's cool too. Have a pos.

eyedea420
February 19th 2011



160 Comments


just got a job at blizzard in irvine, their libary is nuts, they have EVERYTHING there, nerdgasm

iFghtffyrdmns
February 19th 2011



7047 Comments


I am not gonna bother to read this review but DIABLO II WAS SUCH A GOOD GAME.
I miss being super nerdy and dweeby and having a level 96 paladin as my best friend :-(

liledman
February 19th 2011



3826 Comments


fuck yeah

gonna go play DII now

Piglet
February 19th 2011



4653 Comments


Can't wait for Diablo 3

Chrisjon89
February 19th 2011



3520 Comments


Man, D2 was awesome. That Tristram theme is sweet - maybe it was on the Diablo Soundtrack?

I tried to play it again last year and didn't get past Act III so it's lost some of the magic for me, but back in the day let me tell ya...

Chrisjon89
February 19th 2011



3520 Comments


Coming up on 11 years between games too? That's preposterous, ludicrous, outrageous!



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