This week’s game: Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls
Developer/Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
System: PC (Later Xbox One and PS4)
Genre: Action/Role Playing/ Dungeon Crawler
I have not forgotten about you PC players out there, so this week I have decided to spend some time focusing on the master race with Blizzard’s newest hack and slash romp, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. After the rollercoaster ride that was Diablo III proper, this outing promises a return to a seedier and darker Sanctuary, with a new slew of boss battles, new locations and more loot to pillage. Is this promise of a more Diablo II-esque adventure enough to bring you back into the role as the prized Nephalem or should you just sit back and let someone else save the world this time? Read on to find out.
After you defeat Diablo at the end of the D3, Tyrael recovers the Black Soulstone that holds the essence of the seven Great Evils (demon bosses) as he wishes to hide it from both humanity and angels. Going on an expedition deep into the earth, he and six others seal it away, only to immediately be ambushed by Malthael, former archangel of wisdom. As the ‘reaper of souls,’ he wastes no time in proving his namesake by literally sucking the souls of your companions, if not outright killing them first, and then sets his sights on Tyrael, letting him live only for Tyrael to reveal that they are both brothers. He then takes the Blackstone and vanishes, leaving a disheveled Tyrael and one lone Horadrim to their failure. Wishing to prevent the fall of both the human and angelic realms Tyrael then sends the surving Horadrim (Lorath Nahr) to locate you and have you hunt down the reaper and reclaim the Black Soulstone before it is too late. Heavy handed though the story may be, it is expertly crafted in gorgeously animated cutscenes that will alleviate some of the tension for newer players feeling that they may be lost in the story.
As big as the story is, it’s the combat that is the bread and butter of the series and luckily enough it is as addictive as ever here. After selecting your champion you point and click your way through new areas with the left mouse button, while using a combination of left/right click and buttons to attack enemies with hard hitting melee attacks, ranged magic attacks, arrows, and so o. To my discredit I am unable to word just how fun it all is on a piece of paper. You really just have to sit down and play it for yourself, as it can be dangerously addicting. In addition, the expansion gives each of the original classes new abilities and another 10 levels in which to strengthen them (in addition to the paragon levels, which are still around). Furthermore, a new character class called the Crusader joins up in the fight. This class is a mid-range caster/melee hero, wielding a shield in one hand and a flail or sword in the other, who is unafraid of either diving headfirst into the fray and pummeling demons with heavy attacks and law skills or blasting them from afar with spells (or strengthening allies).
On top of the combat additions and new class, a few more features have been added to ensure some longevity in the series for some time yet. In addition to the new chapter comes Adventure Mode. This new mode is a very welcome addition as it boils down the essential Diablo experience into bite size chunks for you to still have some fun whether you have only a little bit of time or a whole afternoon to burn. In this mode, bounties are handed out to you (like kill X enemies/ a certain boss/clear the area) through each of the acts from both games, rewarding your character with upon completion. It is a fun time sink that rewards you regardless of how long you spend with it and will definitely bring you back for more. Through those adventures (as well as the main questline) you may pick up some Rift Keystone Fragments that allow you open up a Nephalem Rift when 5 are collected. These unlock a 10-20 minute randomized dungeon where you must defeat enough of the dungeons enemies in order to summon a Rift Guardian. During these dungeon runs, legendary gear drop rates increase by 25% (not including the increased chance on Torment difficulty) so these are a boon for those looking for epic loot.
Bottom Line: Surprisingly enough, this game packs a heck of a wallop for the $40 asking price. While it may not seem like much – one new chapter, a new character, 10 levels and some new modes – there is a lot more under the hood that I have not even been able to speak about. While the online DRM is still annoying (sigh), the hiccups from before are long gone and now that the real money auction house has also gone (yay) jumping into a new adventure in Sanctuary is fun, as I don’t have a nagging feeling of “I could just buy the gear I’m looking for” in the back of my head. As an expansion, it works well, will provide endless hours of fun with friends or others if you choose to play online and definitely is the deep, dark and exhilarating Diablo experience fans have been waiting for. Buy it and enjoy.
J-Stars Victory Vs.
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