Killing the Lord of Terror is never the end. Instead, it creates an all-new beginning. In Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, players must face Malthael, the Angel of Death, and he takes his title seriously. After some lengthy consideration, Malthael concludes that humans are the biggest source of evil, so he steals the black soulstone that imprisons Diablo to wipe out humanity, making angels the ultimate victors in the war between Heaven and Hell. The plot is a little thin, and it doesn't help that Malthael is boring as far as deific villains go. He spends the entire game proclaiming that he's death, and how he's going to kill you and everyone around you, yet the story and characters are almost incidental. What makes Reaper of Souls worthwhile is the fact that it is as much a Diablo III reboot as it is an expansion.
Got a Whole Lotta Loot
Many fans were disappointed with the initial release of Diablo III, and Reaper of Souls tries to win these gamers back by giving them a reason to experience the new upgrades. The Auction House was removed a while ago, and its departure marked the entry of a revised loot system, Loot 2.0. Creatures drop fewer items, but there is an increased chance of them being Rare or Legendary, and also more likely to suit the character class and level you're playing. That means less time selling junk items, more time adventuring and replacing your gear more frequently. Players will pay closer attention to their weapons and armour, since some enhance specific abilities. These properties encourage players to change up their styles and try out different powers to take advantage of these bonuses. You can also pay a new crafter called the Mystic to replace an item's special property with a randomly generated one. The emphasis on loot brings the focus of Diablo III back where it belongs, and players get rewarded for jumping into every cavern and side quest they come across.
Crusader With No Remorse
Reaper of Souls introduces the all-new, flail-waving Crusader class. Coming from a clan of extremely dedicated warriors, Crusaders absorb a lot of damage before smashing evil in the face. A Crusader's abilities balance between defence, healing and smiting groups of foes with a righteous wrath. Although they're good to have while fighting bosses, named creatures and ambushes, they don't add a lot of dimension to the game unless your group is in dire need of a tank. However, long-time fans may enjoy having a class that is somewhat reminiscent of the Paladin from Diablo 2.
Evil Never Rests
Once you strike down death incarnate, you'll unlock Adventure Mode. With the expansion, replay value extends beyond trudging through the campaign again. Adventure Mode offers short quests like hunting a named creature or clearing out a dungeon. Complete enough of these and you'll earn a key that unlocks a Nephalem Rift, which is a challenge level pieced together using random map tiles, creatures and bosses. Adventure Mode lets players earn big loot and XP towards the newly raised level cap. However, you don't have to be anywhere close to level 70 to beat Reaper of Souls, since enemies spawn according to your character level.The game still requires a constant Internet connection, but getting onto the servers isn't a problem anymore, and Diablo III doesn't suffer from the issues it did when it first launched.
Reaper of Souls transforms Diablo III into the game it should have been when it first released in 2012. Dungeon crawling is thrilling again with the renewed emphasis on loot, and regions like Westmarch bring back that old, dark feel from Diablo 2. Some might say that a one-act expansion is too little too late, even with Adventure Mode, but they miss the point: Death gave Diablo its soul back.
GAME's Verdict: 9/10
- Revised loot system gives Diablo its soul back
- Adventure Mode lets you play challenges for big loot
- Expansion captures the classic feel of Diablo
- Malthael isn't an interesting villain
- Game still requires an always-on Internet connection
- The new Crusader class doesn't add much