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.
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.
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
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.
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
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:
Much Needed improvement
next up is…