Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Review

Death. You can use this word to describe many of the situations that you encounter when playing the latest installment in the Diablo universe. Perhaps it’s a feeling you feel when you kill an elite mob and a legendary doesn’t drop. Perhaps it’s that moment you’re running from a boss on Torment yelling “Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap!” Or maybe that moment you’re not playing the game yet you think about it at school or at work and a bit of your souls dies on the inside. Regardless of what the reason is, you must embrace death in Reaper of Souls. Why? Because death is good and the newest expansion makes it feel so good.

Yes.... Give me all the loot!

Reaper of Souls’ story has great potential and right from the outset the premise grabs your attention. However, the intrigue lasts for only an hour or so before it falls apart. Perhaps even earlier. The Black Soulstone having trapped all the great Evils in the world is hidden away by the Angels and the Horadrim but is quickly found out by a betrayer of the High Heavens: Malthael. This fallen Angel, now embodying death, mysteriously appears in front of one of gaming’s most iconic character, Tyrael, to mysteriously steal the Black Soulstone. You are now tasked to retrieve the missing item and stop Malthael’s plot.

The conflict presented in Reaper of Souls is different from the one in Diablo III primarily because you are fighting an Angel, though he is a fallen one. The narrative premise of how he fell and descended into madness, his motivations, the actual plot that Malthael creates are all lacking and I say that quite literally. There are audio clips that explain the bare backgrounds of the story revolving Malthael and the Westmarch, the land you roam free in Reaper of Souls. It’s extremely disappointing as the reason driving Malthael is explained in a single line. The method of defeating Malthael is mind-numbingly dumb and more importantly the entire narrative feels extremely rushed. Granted this is an expansion but there is no sense of pace and it feels like you watched a condensed Lord of the Rings trilogy in 10 minutes.

You must fight with all your might.

Luckily, despite the game’s narrative failings, the actual play is quite enjoyable. Prior to the expansion’s launch, Diablo III received a massive overhaul through a patch called Loot 2.0. It changed the formula of how drops worked as well as changing how people approached the campaign. To start off with, loot became much more meaningful as you will see less frequent common drops and many more drops that might be useful. Of course, once you acquire better loot and items to equip the game becomes a hunt for the perfect drop that you can use. Finding loot has never felt more rewarding because it gives you the instant gratification of finding a good drop if you’re poorly equipped but at the same time if you’re decked out with awesome goodies then you must work hard for the perfect loot.

Even if you get drops that might be considered garbage they are not all worthless and it’s all due to the addition of the Mystic. Much like how Blacksmiths gave you the ability to craft items and Jewelers gave you the ability to add modifications to existing item’s socket slots, Mystics allow you to reroll one property on an item. It’s an extremely useful tool that gives you the ability to control the quality of the item but not abuse it to arbitrate searching for better loot. Got that almost near perfect loot but you’re 1% off from the max fire damage? Reroll that sucker and go for the max percentage!

The Mystic is a great addition allowing players to perfect their loot.

Diablo has always been about loot. Loot is the focus in all of the newest additions found in Reaper of Souls and Reaper of Souls gives you the option to not only modify your loot but interesting ways of acquiring new loot. The addition of Act V beefs up the current campaign with a good chunk of content and it’s definitely a welcome addition. The environments exudes a sense of grim and dread with its gray and blue colors reminiscent to Act I. However, once you complete Act V you have the option to unlock Adventure Mode.

Adventure Mode is where the real loot hunting begins. You are able to freely travel around all the areas and Acts in Diablo III and Reaper of Souls while completing Bounties. Bounties will range from rescuing NPCs to killing Elite mobs. Blizzard attempted to diversify the missions but in the end it’s all a means to an end. What is the end? The loot. It’s all about the loot. Still, it’s nice to have an interesting set of missions that doesn’t drag on too long and in this respect Reaper of Souls succeeds. After completing a set of bounties you are given a treasure trove of drops. Of course you are also given unique set of items that will give you more opportunities to earn loot. The most notable are rift keys that open up Nephilim Rifts.

Yes! All the loot! All the loot!

Nephilim Rifts are runs through a random set of dungeons. Inside you will find a ton of elite mobs that will drop the loot that you might be searching for. After killing a certain amount of enemies you will summon a rift master which is the boss of the rift run. More often than not, these rift masters will drop something of worth.

The biggest addition in Reaper of Souls is the newest class, Crusader. This hulking beast is a walking tank taking all the damage with little to no problems. The Crusader dishes out a ton of damage as well through the usage of holy spells, hammers, and summoning of soldiers. While the Crusader is fun to play when maxed out, there is little personality to the class. Many of the spells lack the "oomph" of other classes and the class just feels like a huge meat shield. Even so, the class does add diversity to the existing set of classes and rounds out the gameplay style quite a bit. 

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is a great expansion packet with a ton of content and changes that make the return visit worthwhile. Having said that, the game is not without problems. The failed narrative, the server lag, and the relative simplicity of searching for loot can all be marks against the game. Even so, the refreshing new ways of approaching the loot hunting formula found in Reaper of Souls is good.