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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls: Expansion to popular adventure game checks all of the boxes on your wishlist

Chris Holt | April 21, 2014
Diablo III () was a good-but-not-great dungeon crawler that managed to infuriate old fans and failed to satisfy critics clamoring for Blizzard to once again raise the bar. The game demonstrated the well-worn formula of dungeon crawling: you kill dozens of increasingly exotic enemies, find loot, sell it in town, and then repeat. Diablo III disappointed many because it didn't push the genre in any new directions; it simply kept to its formula but did it very well.

Diablo III () was a good-but-not-great dungeon crawler that managed to infuriate old fans and failed to satisfy critics clamoring for Blizzard to once again raise the bar. The game demonstrated the well-worn formula of dungeon crawling: you kill dozens of increasingly exotic enemies, find loot, sell it in town, and then repeat. Diablo III disappointed many because it didn't push the genre in any new directions; it simply kept to its formula but did it very well.

Blizzard's new expansion pack, called Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, is similarly solid without being spectacular. It checks all of the boxes on your expansion wishlist.

Blizzard doesn't like to simply add a new chapter to its games, but just as it has with World of Warcraft, a new expansion also signals a revamp of the entire game. So Reaper of Souls isn't just a new chapter in the Diablo universe, but a patch that addresses several issues with the first.

Gone are the old tiered health potions, the Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno modes, and the old randomized loot system. In their place we have the same health potions that work for all classes, enemies that scale with the player's level (higher tiers are more challenging, however) and Loot 2.0, which basically ensures that you're more likely to get loot that is useful for your class and of better quality, but less of it.

For the most part, these revamps make the game much more streamlined and your inventory less cluttered. I didn't have to make as many trips to town to sell equipment I was never going to use, and never grew frustrated that the legendary item I had found was for the wrong class. Of course, in the polishing process, classes and powers get nerfed, but the overall Diablo package is undeniably much more well-rounded and shinier.

There's also a new NPC character, the mystic, who lets you remix some of your weapons' skills or change the appearance of an item, giving the player more freedom and control of their look and playing style. Now my Demon Huntress has a sleek all white look and doesn't keep getting saddled with a ridiculous pointy helmet.

Though I've yet to meet someone who plays Diablo for the writing or plot, Reaper of Souls expands on and furthers the Diablo story in a predictable but fun way. The Nephalem player character, after defeating Diablo, now must confront the twisted Angel of Wisdom, Malthael, refashioned as the Angel of Death. Spoiler alert: You'll get to revisit some of the iconic locations of previous Diablo games (in new forms), meet new creatures (grim reapers, ghosts, zombies, monsters, demons), and then kill them. Since this is Blizzard we're talking about, the expansion had the potential to tell several new and interesting stories (further exploring the revolution in Westmarch, the templar order's corruption, who replaces the emperor in Caldeum, etc.) but instead settled on one very boring one.

 

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