Reviewed by Charl “PottyZA” Potgieter
I hated Diablo III at launch, but I’ve fallen in love with Reaper of Souls. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is everything an expansion should be and has, in combination with the free game updates, made Diablo III a much, much better game than it was two years ago.
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Reviewed on: PC
Also available on: PS4 (TBD 2014) and Xbox One (TBC)
If we had to give it a numerical score: 9.0/10
What I loved:
- Continues the already great story of Diablo III
- Good soundtrack that suits the mood of the game well
- Free pre-expansion patch (free to all owners of Diablo III) improved the game a great deal
- New Loot 2.0 system makes the quest for epic loot so much more rewarding
- New Crusader class offers yet another way to play the game
- Plenty of content to keep you going
Not so much:
- The game still relies on the server-architecture introduced in the base game: lag spikes are frequently an issue and no offline play is available.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, along with the numerous free updates which were rolled out before release, is exactly what long time Diablo fans have been waiting for. It changes so many aspects of the base game for the better: Difficulty levels work in an entirely different way, the paragon system (introduced not long after Diablo 3’s launch) now applies to every character on your account instead of on a per-character basis and last but not least, the real money auction house is gone.
One can’t review Reaper of Souls without first looking at the massive changes brought to the loot system by the “Loot 2.0” update: I replaced almost all of my Demon Hunter’s gear within the first 30 minutes of fighting through the new content. The Loot 2.0 system has greatly increased the chances of dropping epic loot, so expect to see many more Legendary items than you may have if you played Diablo 3 back at launch.
Reaper of Souls’ story picks up some time after the main adventure from Diablo III ends and follows the player character’s quest to defeat the angel of death, Malthael, and his evil plan to absorb the souls of all living beings by using the black soulstone which the player used to trap Diablo at the end of the base game.
The new areas in Reaper of Souls are outstanding examples of Blizzard’s attention to detail. Westmarch’s streets are littered with corpses, burning ruins and possessions that were left behind by the population who tried to escape the reaper invasion. The Blood Marsh is a harsh swamp with suitably disgusting-looking creatures. The Pandemonium fortress and surrounding areas return from Diablo II and looks more than suited to serve as the home base of the evil Malthael. The environments are all new and in my time with the game I never noticed any re-used areas from the original game.
Reaper of Souls adds a new Adventure Mode to the game, which allows players to pick regions from any act in the game to complete Bounties. These bounties are randomly generated missions that task the player with hunting down a boss enemy, completing certain area-specific events or clearing the area of enemies. Upon completion, players are rewarded with gold, experience, powerful items and rift keystone fragments. The fragments are required for the newly added “Nephalem rifts” which are randomised encounters which have enemies and areas that are taken from any act in the game. The inclusion of an increased level cap (it’s at level 70 now) helps you strengthen your character even more while fighting through all the new content.
The new character class, the Crusader, is a good addition to the roster of classes in the game. The Crusader specialises in a more defensive style of play and typically fights with holy magic, large weapons and shields. He is a hybrid between a melee and caster class and is somewhat similar to the Paladin from Diablo II, making the Crusader perfectly suited towards serving as the tank for a party of players. In addition to this new class, the old classes have been reworked: so expect some new skills, or that your old skills will work slightly differently.
The main story of Reaper of Souls should keep you going for about 4-6 hours depending on how you play, but there is more than enough content to keep you busy for an exponentially longer time. Blizzard has added more than enough to keep you playing Diablo III for some time to come.
Overall, Reaper of Souls is a great expansion to Diablo III and improves the game much more than I ever thought was possible. It isn’t plagued by the same issues that made me dislike Diablo III so much at launch and the server issues, while still present now and then, aren’t nearly as bad as they were. I would easily recommend the game to any Diablo or action-RPG fan.