Reaper of Souls is the expansion pack to the best selling PC game of all time, Diablo 3, which was released in May 2012. I like many players loved and could not wait for the sequel to Diablo 2, which was personally a childhood favorite of mine.
After the nostalgic factor wore off, Diablo 3 began to quickly show off all its imperfections and revealed many problems that where just underneath the surface of what could have been an incredible game. Now that Blizzard has had almost 2 years to fix Diablo 3, which is arguably there most controversial game, how has it evolved and changed? Actually quite a lot.
As someone who played Diablo 3 religiously for a while after realizing all the flaws in the loot system especially, I expected either not many changes at all, or legendaries coming out of everywhere. However, I can safely say that neither are the case. Diablo 3 feels a lot more smooth in progression and the loot is rewarding unlike the state it was in almost 2 years ago. The loot now has a much higher chance of dropping items that are based on the character you are playing as opposed to before where it was completely random. This would often mean that before “Loot 2.0” while you might be playing a Demon Hunter a Legendary would drop and it would be for a Witch Doctor.
Those who played before the patch know legendaries were very rare, so this would be extremely frustrating. Even the Legendary drop rate has been significantly improved. When you find your first Legendary out of crate it is pretty exciting, and harpers back to Diablo 2’s loot system. Over my time playing the game, I have encountered about 25 legendaries; still rare, but not as completely ridiculously as before. It’s great to see Blizzard take such initiative to fix this game. However, one thing to note is that this new “Loot 2.0” system was NOT added by Reaper of Souls. So what exactly does Reaper of Souls add?
Reaper of Souls adds a great new class called the Crusader, who is Strength based, using abilities similar to the Paladin in Diablo 2. The Crusader is probably one of the best aspects of Diablo 3. He or she is very powerful and gets some interesting abilities, such as the Heavenly sword.
In addition, the Reaper of Souls adds a new Act. In Act V you go through the city of Westmarch, where the Archangel Malthael goes mad and tries to kill all Nephalem using the Black Soul stone, which he stole from Tyrael possession. Honestly, the story feels a little like an afterthought and they only gloss over Malthael’s intentions. Another problem I had with the story overall was why would he break open the Blackstone when he is an Angel and knows that Prime evil’s are trapped in it? The game ends by even saying then they are free to walk the earth again. This just felt like incredibly lazy story writing.
I also feel like I am not spoiling much either, because those who have played Diablo 3 know the story was fair at best. I did love how as playing with a Monk I got to learn about their Ivgorod and how the Monk society functions. However, this was only briefly touched upon and I wish they would have delved deeper into this lore as it was interesting. It took me roughly 3 to 4 hours to complete Act V, which is very short especially, considering this is an expansion pack. I will say though that the environments in Act V are very cool, exploring Westmarch a blast and seeing how the reapers have transformed the city, is great eye candy. It feels very much in place with the other locations in the Diablo 3 universe. The sound is top-notch you hear guts and things exploding with gory details. In the sound department, the only thing that can fall flat is the music. In Act V the music can feel a little boring and stale, almost like as if you are listening to your grandfather’s classical music collection.
Finally, Reaper of Souls adds Adventure mode and Nephalem Rifts which to me are fun, but a bit overrated. During adventure mode, you complete bounties which consist of killing a certain amount of enemies in an area or killing a certain enemy, or unlocking a cursed chest. After completing this, you are rewarded with Blood Shards which you can take to Kadala in town and gamble for items. I haven’t gotten anything very good from using these blood shards and actually about only one useful okay item out of 500 plus blood shards that I have already used.
Additionally, after completely certain bounties you will also get a keystone rift. Collecting 5 keystone rifts will open a portal in town near a ghost name Orek which will teleport you to a randomly generated map where you must kill enough monsters to confront the Rift Guardian. These guardians have a better chance of dropping epic loot. The Nephalem Rift are supposedly randomly generated, and while they are all tile sets from the campaign mode itself. I noticed a lot of the same block pattern pieces from the story mode, which took away from some of the excitement for me and hence is not truly randomly generated. Still the monsters while also from the campaign mode are randomly jumbled from different tile sets, which was cool to see.
The Mystic is a new ally to help you on your journey in Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. She works like much of the other crafters in the game, like the jeweler and Blacksmith. Once you unlock her in Act V she can change one attribute per item so you may re-roll it for a better or more useful stat. This is huge especially when you discover an item that is almost perfect, but has one thing that could be better.
This can become just another to make your character even better. Secondly, she can Transmogrify any item to look like another, so you can customize your character even more so. This also works well because you can essentially build up a library of skins for Legendaries, even after you have long sold them or used them for parts. Besides this a few new items were added, including items for the crusader, and a new ability for each new class. I play as a monk so Epiphany is definitely a cool new ability, but not game changing in any way.
Diablo 3 has changed much for the past 2 years and for the better. The new loot system is significantly better and if you enjoyed Diablo 3 even the slightest you should give the new loot 2.0 a try. However, Reaper of Souls feels like a DLC pack and not a full fledge Blizzard expansion of the old days. If Blizzard would have added one or two more classes on top of the awesome new Crusader class, made Act V longer, and made the Nephalem Rift’s completely randomly generated as I mentioned before, then this expansion would have been a must buy.
However, as it stands now Reaper of Souls feels like a $20 dollar DLC pack in an age of DLC games. On the other hand, if you loved Diablo 3 then Reaper of Souls will give you more of the same. I played 50 or 60 hours already of Reaper of Souls and taken together with Diablo 3, I would highly recommend any fans of RPG’s to get back to or explore the world of Sanctuary. Now if you excuse me, I will do just that!
This review was based on a digital retail copy of the game for the PC provided by Blizzard.