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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.

The new act took me a few hours to burn through, and it only took me likely about 5 hours to upgrade my character from level 60 to 70, the new level cap. Some of the new levels have some great set pieces, including a battle in the a town square of Westmarch, a satisfying showdown with an old enemy in the blood marshes, and a final dungeon that is a great throwback to earlier Diablo titles.

There are misses, too. The blood marshes themselves are a generic swamp with some of the more annoying enemies and obstacles the Diablo series has offered, and the new content seems short on imagination and variety.

Reaper of Souls has a new class to play, the Crusader. He/she occupies a tank role similar to the barbarian, but with great crowd control and toughness bonuses — making it a favored class for parties.

The biggest addition, aside from the new chapter in the campaign, is Adventure Mode. Adventure Mode is unlocked after completing the campaign and tasks you with completing certain bounties across the entirety of the Diablo III chapters. You can go kill the Butcher Boss in Act 1 or clear out a specific cave of enemies, for example. These are good short bursts of action, a kind of "best of" tour of Diablo 3, and completed bounties earn you coin and experience. After completing enough bounties, you'll unlock a Nephalem Rift, which is a randomized dungeon with a hyper-strong enemy at the end. It's a great way to earn high quality loot.

While these are great fun for high-level players who want to further deck-out their characters, they also only come after you've beaten the game. Essentially, they're incentives for core Diablo players to stick around but there's no specific end goal or pay-off other than loot. This is fine for some who simply want more ways to play the game and make their character better, but others will likely clamor for an end-game.

Blizzard has been good in the past about patching launch issues, but the version I've been playing has a great deal of bugs and issues to address. The game crashes during loading and some of the loot drops are infuriating — craftable items that require hundreds of materials to make and common white items (you'll likely dispose of) are often bizzarrely not labelled as crafting materials — creating some needless headaches. In other words, the item crafting system has become much more robust, but a lot more unwieldy.

Now that Blizzard killed the auction house, these game issues are much more glaring: you simply can't just rely on other players (especially with legendary equipment) to help you the same way you could. The auction house had issues (allowing players to use real money would be at the top of my list) but it provided a way for players to sell equipment they weren't using to players who didn't want to spend the hours farming to find the randomly dropped items.

 

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