Review: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Does Diablo III, let alone the Diablo universe really need an introduction? Not really but if you really need it, here you go: So you are a hero and you always end up fighting Diablo. Happy now? Well, that's not exactly true for the much anticipated expansion that we are checking out today, Reaper of Souls. When launched in 2012, the original Diablo III came with much fanfare but also many venemous comments and critiques. I won't say how many hours I spent burning, freezing and just plain obliterating the many enemies of Sanctuary but I will say that almost my first play through, I just kept feeling like I was being punished or maybe better described as the carrot-on-the-stick syndrome but the carrot was nigh unreachable, unless I went to the Auction House to buy gear. I am pleased to say, with the Auction House gone and drop rates up, THIS feels like the Diablo III we all wanted and then some. Apart from the beautiful yet dark (just like we like it!) campaign, the game really opens up after you beat it. Upon kicking some serious Death arse, you open up Adventure Mode and Nephelem Rifts, the true heart and soul of Reaper of Souls (Pun intended) -- Now, don't get me wrong, the campaign is HUGE improvement of much of vanilla DIII but most people will rush through it.
I can't emphasize enough the rewarding feeling that RoS has compared to the original game. Through Nephelam Rifts, Adventure Mode and playing the campaign at harder and harder difficulties, the rewards, improvements and fun just keep coming. Yes, it still sucks to run into a super tough pack of Vortex Arcane Extra Health Super Duper Unbeatable packs of elites and that has never been fun but at least they have the possibility of dropping some good loot! Also, chests, pots and bosses have a bigger chance of dropping Legendaries (Finally) -- Overall, this is the game you've been seeking and for the first time in years, I can't wait to see what Team Diablo has in store for us next... (!)
See all those legendaries? That would never happen in the original game..
Graphics and Sound
The original game was definitely a mixed bag back at launch. Overall, Diablo III is a gorgeous game with some lush backgrounds, spooky environments and a lot of bright, flashy colors. Something was missing though and that was maybe a little bit darker and atmospheric environments. Along with that, there are no real time lighting effects for spells, etc. That being said, Reaper has a lot better looking and darker environments IMHO. The marshes are fantastic, the event areas are spooky and creatures more intimidating and grotesque. While the real time lighting is still lacking and dissapointing in 2014, the game is no slouch. Effects are stunning and overall, I was very pleased tearing through Westmarch and other worlds as I popped around the game. Be sure to check out the 1440p screenshots and video footage below to get a test of our Wizard in action. A large step in the right direction, now give us higher end graphic options in the next game!
Apart from the lush graphics, the sound is improved, especially in the music departmeny for Reaper of Souls. The sound effects and voices are just as impressive as the first game but once again, seems a tad more polished. There is a ton of dialogue to dive into in between missions and I really enjoyed hearing it all. Another step in the right direction and let's hope someday Blizzard can hire back Matt Uleman and then we'd be in geek heaven..
Moody. Dark. Delicious.
A polished Blizzard game is always a treat and Reaper of Souls fits that bill nicely. Regardless of how polished a game is, the fun factor always wins out and in this case, I am happy to say that Reaper of Souls is a ton of fun. No more grinding baddies for hours on end just to trash compact 3,000 uniques that are worthless. Instead, I always had something to do and it was just SOMETHING to do, it was a fun, exciting and getting upgrades was an absolute blast. Also, some of the Legendaries I received were an absolute riot. A wand that laughs at you when you die? Check. A super awesome trinket that resembles Deadmau5? Check. Other surprises are in store but I won't ruin the.. fun. That's right, this game is FUN and I can't recommended it enough. Perfect? Nope. But a huge step towards the Diablo III we always wanted and a precursor to hopefully cooler and cooler stuff to come. Good job Blizzard, you have restored this fan's faith.
In the end, Reaper of Souls is exactly was Diablo III should have been at launch: Fun, fast paced and chock full of loot in a dark and atmospheric setting. Is the game perfect? Absolutely not but it is a huge improvement on the vanilla version of Diablo III. Whether you want to play the campaign over and over or roam adventure mode til your hair turns gray, there is always some fun and rewarding to do in Reaper of Souls. Well done Blizzard, now we're headed in the right direction..
4.5/5 Stars -- Digital Hippos Highly Recommended