Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Review

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I can safely say that the term “Reaper of Souls” for the new Diablo 3 expansion has got to be a Blizzard title. Between addictive pastimes liek World of Warcraft and it’s CCG HearthStone, I can safely say that even if the word “Diablo” and the number 3 didn’t precede it, I would call Reaper of Souls something that personifies Blizzard’s business model-to a tee. If you ever lost months of your life to leveling a WoW character you know what I am talking about. If you did not, congratulations on actually having a life. Either way, you might have heard of Diablo 3, as it came out a few years back. You might have also seen the trailer for Reaper of Souls splattered in front of your favorite internet video. You probably already know this, but to be clear as possible Reaper of Souls is not a new game by itself; it’s an expansion. If you don’t own Diablo 3, you won’t be able to play Reaper of Souls. It is what console gamers would call DLC, or downloadable content, and what DVD owners might call the extended version. You get more levels, more chances to advance your character, and a new class of character to play with to boot. I do not know why they won’t let you make a brand new 35th level “Crusader” class character instead of forcing you to begin the game anew to play with the new feature. Blizzard did it well with Death Knight. Why not the Crusader? More on that later.

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In the off chance the trailer didn’t make the plot clear, you basically beat Diablo in the end-spoilers! (Well… not really. What else was gonna happen?!) and his soul stone is basically bad news waiting to happen, so the ex-archangel Tyrael (real spoilers) takes his posse to seal it, but his brother the Grim Reaper kills everyone besides him and takes the soul stone for nefarious purposes, and you come back just in time to see him turning people into ghosts to make a private army. You need to solve the mystery of why he took the stone and what he plans to do. So yeah; instead of facing Diablo, you face an evil angel of Death. Who wants to raise an army of the dead. Play the game to find out why; I’ll update once I’m done.

The expansion leaves off where the original ended, and will set you back 40 dollars to play the game for longer. Question of course is, should you even bother? ‘

Here are a few reasons why you probably should.

 

Adrenaline Pumping

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Diablo is all about the hack and slash; period. It is what the industry would label a game that is built for abnigation; basically a way to fill time when your burnt out and don’t feel like doing anything challenging or complex. In the same way normal women knit and a normal man might whittle, gamers tend to grind levels as they kill monsters and collect loot. Diablo 3 was always a game that made this experience as easy as point and click. Diablo 3 was no exception, and the Reaper of Souls expansion does nothing to change this-at all. In fact, the only thing that remains and the thing Reaper of Souls is very true to is the Diablo 3 tradition of making each click create a dazzling animation that kills things in a show of blood. They even reinforce this idea of “Hack and Slash to the Extreme” by literally giving you small achievements whenever you do this especially well. Words like MASSACRE litter the screen if you kill enough enemies in a few seconds. This is obviously to make you feel empowered with every kill and with excessive use of the core mechanic of click, kill, and collect. Since the looting system has been vastly improved with the 2.0.1 patch, this means that you can spend less time trying to learn macroeconomics for online bidding and more time killing and looting monsters as well as stress. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls follows these core qualities in the same vein, and you hit the ground running by killing undead and rescuing civilians from undeath at the hands of evil reaper ghosts. You literally delve through dungeons loaded with huddled town guard and civilians and a boss battle even ends with you rescuing the women and children. This, and the heroic dialogue your character will give makes it a power fantasy as well as a mouse powered stress ball. If you loved the elements of Diablo 3 beforehand, your in for a treat.

Assuming you can handle the Bad

Linear System

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The ups of Diablo 3 are back, and so are the downs. The down that stuck out the most with this game was the simple fact that when it came to leveling your character, you have no options. None. No skill branches, no skill points, no nothing. This does not improve until you get the paragon system at level 60; this is the Reaper of Souls remedy for the infamous level cap syndrome that plagues all RPGs. Once you do, you actually have a pretty good selection of what you want to improve and why. I wasn’t able to test this system unfortunately, so until I can update this post,  I’ll have to settle for second hand research. I will share my experience once I get there.

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The Dungeons do very little to relieve this, as it basically amounts to little more then a narrow alley/catacomb/graveyard/pick a gloomy medieval backdrop where you hack through monsters like a machete through the reeds. Such straightforward gameplay enhances the “action” portion of the game, but does little to add depth or make an “adventure”.

Much needed improvement

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That being said, Reapers of Souls does make Diablo 3 a better game. While expansions do tend to have the same function as DLC most of the time, this expansion seems to actually expand the game mechanics. You get 100+ levels with the paragon system, you can remake weapons based on enchantment with the Mystic, and even add replay value to the game with a brand new class. This actually works for the game as a whole, and I would recommend this highly to people who played the game before and was disappointed. Where the auction house fell, the Reaper of Souls rise. And he saw that it was good.

Last two paragraphs were brief, but sometimes less is more. To recap:

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Diablo 3:Reaper of Souls

 

Adrenaline Pumping

 

Linear System 

 

Much Needed improvement

next up is…

qos-featured-image

 

1 comment

  1. ryan's video game reviews April 7, 2014 3:26 pm  Reply

    […]  To be clear, the game is still in alpha. Judging by how well that alpha is selling on Steam, and how little has been added so far, it might be a long time until it breaks out of alpha. Nonetheless, the dev team seem to be updating regularly about it, and if they aren’t lying on their blog, it does appear they are coding new things. Still, there is only one map, and even if you wiki the map and learn its ins and outs, your going to do a whole lot of exploring in this game before you put it away. Like a hiker who forget his camping gear and unmentionables, you will see a world almost barren of life, save for the few sociopaths who settled near you and the wildlife that wanders through the woods. It is very easy to get lost in this game, and is not for those of you who get simulation sickness from first person games. But if you can handle the cursing tween and the wide open world, you will be wandering through the woods like Lewis trying to find Clark after the fallout. What’s interesting is that the mechanics of building and finding new recipes to build with encourages you to explore every nook and cranny rather then just “settle in”. That picture above is of a city built entirely from other players, and I gotta feeling you can stack them higher then that. If any of you are starting to get a minecraft vibe from this game, keep in mind that unless you get a mod for said game, you will not be able to compare it to rust. Like I said earlier, you can make guns in this game. You can build a revolver, a bow and arrow, a pipe shotgun, or a hand cannon at the beginning of the game. you need to find metal and cloth and whatnot, but that’s only a matter of time and effort. Both of which you will have plenty of. If your the kind of gamer who likes to delve deep into the rabbit hole of a game’s intricate details, you need to play this game, and keep playing up until they finally finish the beta. If that kind of thing bores or intimidates you, see my review of Reaper of Souls. […]

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