Developer: Blizzard |
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game |
Release Date: 03/25/14 |
Genre: Action/RPG
Blizzard has released the long-anticipated follow-up to Diablo III with the expansion Reaper of Souls. This provides players with a brand new Act, number 5, that picks up the story where the game last left off. Players will be able to continue through Act 5 with their level 60 characters and journey against the Angel of Death Malthael.  The journey won’t be easy as Blizzard throws just about everything imaginable at the player: dark and eerie environments, super challenging boss fights, and the level cap being raised to 70. 

As players progress through Act 5, they will quickly discover that their once prized loot is worthless. For the uninformed, loot refers to the weapons, armor, and accessories a character has equipped. What once was super powerful in the original Diablo III is now underpowered in Reaper of Souls. Big changes occurred to the loot system shortly before the release of RoS. In the Loot 2.0 patch, Blizzard shut down the auction house where players could buy and sell equipment, made “Legendary” items bind to a players account, and also bound gold to a players account. This significantly changed the landscape for how players approached the game and setup Reaper of Souls with a fresh start. Some liked these changes and others didn’t. The jury is still out on how well binding items will work out but so far I have enjoyed the changes. Loot 2.0 also increased the rate at which “Legendary” items dropped. This provided players with more of the “epic loot” they love and kept players hooked on Diablo III. 

Another big change that Reaper of Souls brings to the table is another class: The Crusader. The Crusader is a male or female warrior that uses a Shield and Holy powers to vanquish the foes in the world of Diablo. They are one of the best tank classes since a shield is required and they have the unique ability to be able to equip a two handed weapon and shield at the same time. This is the only class in the game capable of this feat. Sadly, in order to play the Crusader, players will have to start over at level 1 and progress all the way to the new level cap of 70 to reach the end game content.

Speaking of the end game content, Reaper of Souls has plenty for players to do once they hit the magical Level 70 and defeat Act 5. Players can then undertake Bounties. These are quests setup on the map of all 5 acts where you can go to any checkpoint and defeat a certain monster, clear out a specific area, etc. Once you complete a series of these in each act, players are given loot and keys to access Nephalem Rifts. Nephalem Rifts are the real joy of the new endgame for Diablo III Reaper of Souls. Here, players go into a randomized dungeon that can be upwards of 10 floor deep. They must fill up a meter by killing random monsters. Each floor is themed to a specific tileset from the game and is changed up to include different weather or lighting from the original game. The monsters are also different. So you might very well see Reapers invading an Act 1 area that weren’t there in the game. After filling up the meter, players will face off against a random “Rift Boss.” Upon killing the boss, they will drop random loot and blood shards. 

Blood Shards are a new form of currency that a vendor named Kadala accepts. She appears in every town hub in the Adventure mode and will randomly roll a piece of loot, of your choosing, to outfit your characters. Yes, there is even a chance that she will roll a piece of equipment as a Legendary. With all this loot, you are bound to come across pieces that aren’t exactly to your liking. The Mystic is a new character that will let players re-roll a single stat into a randomized new stat. This can turn an Intelligence item into Strength or takes Vitality and give more Critical Hit Chance. Each time you re-roll a stat, it costs materials. These are gathered by playing through Nephalem Rifts and Bounties. Rinse, repeat, and continue trying to obtain the perfect set of gear for your characters.

Diablo III Reaper of Souls is one of the most rewarding and addicting games I have encountered in a very long time. In fact, I fully anticipate this being my new “go to” game when I have any free time. Though some found Diablo III to be a bit stale and missing something when it originally came out, Blizzard has continued to refine the formula and now they have truly created the successor to Diablo II. Reaper of Souls should continue the fine tradition of Diablo for many, many more years. Now if we could only get a commitment out of Blizzard regarding another expansion so the story wouldn’t be left up in the air…

By Kaleb Rutherford – 04/10/14
ESRB Details: Rated for Blood & Gore and Violence

Screenshots for Diablo III Reaper of Souls Review