There are few developers more renowned for their consistent quality than Blizzard. Known for some of the biggest PC and online multiplayer hits of all time, this Irvine-based developer has cranked out tons of cherished classics rich in content and replay value.
Nowadays, they're best known for timeless phenoms and esports staples such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft. Yet, they were once a smaller developer of humble origins quietly cranking out hidden gems dating back to the early '90s such as The Lost Vikings.
Let's take a look at the 10 all-time best games from this massively influential studio, according to Metacritic. We'll be focusing on mainline games rather than DLC packs and remasters.
10 Diablo II (88)
While this iconic series has a track record for quality, many diehards claim the franchises' second entry to be the highlight, despite its (marginally) lower score on Metacritic. It's easy to see why, as this dungeon crawler-on-roids contains a great balance of depth and accessibility, while expanding on the elements that made the first game so appealing.
You choose from one of 5 heroes, each with a distinct feel and set of abilites, as you embark on a quest to rescue the protagonist from the first Diablo. The diverse landscapes present an extremely rich sense of atmosphere, and there are a ton of unique, intimidating monsters to face-off against. The sense of progression, endless loot, and sheer breadth of customization help make for one of the best action-RPGs ever.
9 Diablo III (88)
This massive 3rd rendition of one of Blizzard's darkest, most beloved franchises reminds fans of what made Diablo so enjoyable. While the initial launch was rocky and rife with flaws and balancing issues, a series of updates have smoothed things out, making this game far closer in quality to the originals. Many of the classic staples are still here - the countless dark chasms and dungeons, the bounties of cool gear/loot, and a myriad of satisfying powers.
But Diablo III takes this terrific formula and updates it to more modern sensibilities, with sleeker visuals, tighter mechanics, and a super robust system of crafting and customization. There's also a solid, streamlined online mode with timed events and seasons, along with countless difficulty tiers to keep things interesting.
8 Starcraft II: Legacy Of The Void (88)
This game is just about everything gamers loved about Blizzard's hugely addictive sci-fi RTS, and more. Much like the Diablo series, the developers took the already solid foundation of Starcraft and greatly fleshed it out, injecting a new level of grandiosity. In fact, this sequel is so massive that its campaign was split up into a trilogy of its own, with Legacy of the Void being the third and final component of this epic space saga. This stand-alone expansion pack focuses on the always entertaining alien faction, the Protoss.
This version refines and adds various elements to the already expansive online mode, in addition to tacking on even more units in your arsenal to play around with. There's even the fun addition of a co-op mode, where friends can team up to take out hordes of baddies.
7 Starcraft (88)
While SCII definitely brings flashier visuals and more cinematic qualities to this renowned RTS franchise, the original Starcraft masterfully rides that line of accessibility of depth, without too much bombast or bloat.
This game is just endlessly fun and captivating with its refined mechanics, subtle nuance, and cool science fiction atmosphere. Even without factoring the addicting online element - which is still alive and well, the game offers 3 distinct, but equally memorable campaign modes. You're given 3 very different factions or "races" to play, each with their own strengths and appealing traits. It all blends together fantastically, and results in one of the best RTS titles to this day.
6 Overwatch (91)
What can you really say about Overwatch at this point? This is less a game and more an FPS esports phenomenon. Put simply, there's a reason this franchise has garnered countless millions of sales amongst several platforms; it's a feverishly fun and imaginative team shooter.
The game helped pioneer the concept of "hero-based shooters," which each of the 30 + characters largely possessing their own dynamics and abilities. This diversity of uniquely enjoyable heroes ensures there's something for just about every play style and preference. The solid mechanics, appealing colorful aesthetic, and unique blend of magic and gunplay make for a super fun and enduring multiplayer romp.
5 Warcraft III: Reign Of Chaos (92)
Warcraft III truly felt like a generational leap for fans of the first two entries in this classic fantasy RTS, and arguably an even better experience. The game makes the jump into the isometric 3D style, and was a sort of foundational springboard from which the MMO World of Warcraft would launch and propel into the stratosphere.
This sequel runs with the same appealing gameplay of pitting hordes of fighters against eachother and building up your base. At the same time, it fleshes out some more tactical elements to add depth, including additional upgrades, new factions (Night Elves and Undead), as well as customization of specialized hero units.
4 World Of Warcraft (93)
As the recent release of WoW Classic has reminded longtime fans, (while winning over new ones), it's tough to get much better than this tried-and-true MMO in its original state. While the series has seen something of a decline that started to become apparent with Cataclysm, this massive social RPG remains monumental both in its scope and quality.
WoW feels more like a majestic virtual reality trip rather than a video game with its elaborate environments and prominent social element - encouraged by raids that yield awesome loot. Despite its depth and scale, the game remains accessible and versatile with a pleasing art style, tons of varying quests, and action-oriented combat.
3 Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft (93)
While the "card game" concept may turn some gamers off, Blizzard manages to make Hearthstone feel both innovative and exciting. By the time this game was released in 2014, the Californian studio had long since proven themselves in the PC arena. So why not establish a base on the mobile front too? Well, they achieved just that, all the while proving that their mobile games can be just as gripping and nuanced as their flashier, more elaborate software on PC.
Hearthstone runs with a fun tactical approach that is reminiscent of Magic: the Gathering with a colorful Warcraft overlay. The game sets the table for some thrilling and addictive competitive face-offs with its balance of accessibility and complexity. This is largely why the game is one of the go-to's in the esports world today.
2 Starcraft II: Wings Of Liberty (93)
This long-anticipated 2010 sequel to the phenomenon known as Starcraft was a perfect reintroduction to this insanely fun RTS, which debuted over 10 years prior. While the 2nd and 3rd parts of the sequel trilogy would add and refine some elements and provide the epic Zerg and Protoss campaigns, this base game helped you get your feet wet again with the more accessible Terran missions.
This game brings back many of the familiar mechanics, military units, and iconic characters like Jim Raynor and Kerrigan. At the same time, the game ups the ante in a major way with a huge solo mode with epic cutscenes, more online options through a revamped Battle.net, gorgeous visuals, and a more RPG-esque upgrade system.
1 Diablo (94)
This dungeon crawler is so memorable and well-crafted that it's largely what put Blizzard on the map along with Warcraft. Several years after Diablo II and III have been released, diehard fans still return back to this timeless classic from '96.
Even disregarding the nostalgia, Diablo still holds up today with its rich and particularly eerie atmosphere, its craftsmanship, and its charmingly simple 2D visuals. The game keeps you coming back with its nuance, satisfying combat, and a plethora of colorful foes, while utilizing a more minimalist approach that's rarely overwhelming.