Evil never rests and once again it is up to you to save the world again in the latest Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls.
DIABLO III: Reaper of Souls is Blizzard Entertainment’s long awaited expansion for its top selling action RPG.Continuing the story from where Diablo III left off, a new threat has emerged in the form of the titular Reaper of Souls, Malthael who intends to eradicate all of humanity and end the long conflict between heaven and hell.
Definitely not one of the most original story ideas but that is all the excuse we need to jump back into the fray, slay monsters and most importantly get more epic loot.
New and improved
Diablo III’s auction house and loot system is a point of contention with many players.
Fortunately, Blizzard has addressed many of these problems with the 2.0.1 patch, released last month, which is available for Diablo III even without the expansion installed.
The changes made to the game are definitely for the better and Diablo III plays a lot better now. At the heart of those changes is the revamped “Loot 2.0” system that facilitates better item drops that are relevant to your character class.
This completely changes the pace of the game, making it more streamlined and combat orientated. You are also not tied down to managing your inventory which used to get filled with so many useless items.
This means less frequent trips into town to sell items and more time spent out exploring and slaying demons.
The game’s difficulty setting can also now be changed at any time so you can switch from Hard to Expert if you feel like giving yourself a challenge.
Other new additions include the new Mystic artisan who specialises in transmogrification, or the ability to modify the appearance and property of items thus increasing player customisation options.
The only real complaint we have with Reaper of Souls is that the always online requirement means you are at the mercy of your Internet connection and Blizzard’s servers.
Though Reaper of Souls had a relatively smooth launch we did experience a couple of play sessions where the connection was atrocious and practically unplayable.
Onward to Westmarch
ROS’ campaign mode serves as the fifth act in Diablo III’s story and you will need to battle new foes in the form of Malthael’s Reapers, fallen angels and their army of undead soldiers.
Joining the original five heroes of Diablo III is the new Crusader class, a heavily armoured holy warrior character that closely resembles Diablo II’s Paladin.
It is a very versatile class that goes beyond just bashing enemy skulls in with melee attacks, the Crusader is also a very capable mid-range fighter with area-of-effect skills that can decimate groups of demons.
Naturally, the Crusader is well suited for defensive players too who like to soak a lot of damage with the Iron Skin ability and provide support to other characters by way of buffs.
The Crusader can also work as a great crowd control character who can rush into big groups of monster and Smite multiple enemies with lightning and can even call on a celestial steed to brush past foes when cornered.
Act V holds many challenges and interesting new locations to explore and the added enemy variety is a welcome addition.
In terms of length we expected Act V to be as long as some of Diablo III’s longer acts, but alas it lasts approximately five to six hours at most.
You will fight at least two sub bosses before facing the main boss Malthael himself in the halls of Pandemonium Fortress, which was last featured in Diablo II.
Once Malthael is defeated, the game does not end there. No, this is just the beginning as you will finally unlock the Adventure Mode.
No End in Sight
Die-hard Diablo III fans can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief as you are no longer relegated to playing the story mode all over again to gain levels.
In the all new Adventure Mode you can take your hero, regardless if they are high level characters or a fresh new character, on a monster slaying journey through Sanctuary with no restrictions on where you can go.
Possibly the best part about Adventure Mode is that you can seamlessly travel between locations at will. There is no need to rely on the old Waypoint system, every character has the ability to teleport on the spot.
You can teleport to all corners of Sanctuary up to the High Heavens with the simple press of the ‘M’ key to bring up the local area map.
The Adventure Mode’s map is populated with bounties, randomly generated objectives that you can undertake to earn rewards. Bounties can include helping a civilian in distress, killing a powerful enemy or eradicating an area of all enemies.
Whether you play alone or together with friends, Adventure Mode is a whole lot of fun.
We had a blast partying up with some friends and exploring well threaded dungeons but with more firepower to back us up and better rewards at the end of fights.
Complete all the bounties in the area and you will earn bonus a Horadrim Cache, a treasure chest of coins, gear as well as Bloodshards, a new type of currency that can be traded in to buy mystery items from a new trader, Kadala.
It's akin to gambling your hard earned Bloodshards for the chance to own a legendary item but more often than not you will get junk items.
Bounties are just one part of the Adventure Mode. Along the way you will pick up Rift keystones from fallen monsters, collect five and you can unlock a Nephalem Rift.
You will never know what is on the other side when you step through the rift as the levels are randomly generated and so are the enemies that populate it.
One moment you may be walking through the deserted streets of Tristram and the next you could be in the sewers of Westmarch.
It is a true test of your Diablo III prowess as enemies are generally tougher and once you kill enough enemies you will need face the all-powerful Rift Guardian.
Of course, greater risk carries greater rewards and it is all the more satisfying when you enjoy the big pay off after taking down the end of level guardian.
If you have a level 60 character and have completed Diablo III several times over, then Reaper of Souls is definitely the game for you.
While the main story is relatively short, you can blow through it within five or six hours, but the new Adventure Mode is more than worth the price of admission.
The new Crusader class is definitely very interesting and is a great supporting character and is fully capable of taking care of monsters on its own.
Diablo III’s end game has been greatly improved and this practically extends the game’s shelf life by months with an endless number of bounties to complete and challenging Nephalem Rifts to complete.
So hunker down and gear up, Reaper of Souls will definitely keep you busy for many late nights to come.
Pros: New story campaign; new Crusader class; Adventure Mode offers lots of replay value.
Cons: Campaign is short; still experience lag occasionally.