Latest Diablo II Build Looks Sharp

Diablo II's ponytailed Amazon runs, jumps, and even wiggles. The latest build of Diablo II lets her strut her stuff.

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If you like strong women, get ready for Diablo II's Amazon.

Arguably cut from the same cloth as Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, the Amazon is one of five character classes that will populate the upcoming title from Blizzard Entertainment, Diablo II.

Last Friday, on the eve of both Passover and Easter, this reporter stopped by the Blizzard North offices (where the game's development is taking place) to take the pulse of this new fighter.

The development team had just gone through one of its self-imposed "crunch" periods where artists, programmers, and coders sit down and meld what they have each been working on individually into a current build.

As I watched Blizzard North president David Brevik put the Amazon through her paces, it was obvious he was happy with the progress made most recently on this character.

The Amazon was in fine form. With Brevik at the keyboard, the Amazon was seen racing through the wilderness and exploring both a monastery and graveyard. The most impressive elements of gameplay obvious in this latest build are the character's ability to run, the ability to dress your character in various head gear and armor, the ability to choose and see various weapons in your character's hands, and the absence of load screens. The end result is a far more nimble character at your fingertips. Combined with the real-time shadowing and lighting, the entire feel of Diablo is enhanced.

One of the most interesting weapons was also working well in this build. The flaming sword sports a nice flame (OK, so it's got just a touch of that Duraflame look about it) and jacks up the fighting sequences impressively.

The Blizzard North team was indeed kind to allow a member of the press to wander the halls, talk to various team members, and catch much of the game's latest build. GameSpot News will have screens from this build later this week, so stay close to your computer.

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