Ryan Smythe ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Healthcare.gov could have learned a few things from the initial launch of Diablo 3. Server issues locked players out of their new game, setting the stage for a troubling run for Blizzard. The awful, terrible, miserable real-money auction house coupled with the infuriatingly poor drop rates made the successor to the fabulous Diablo 2 fail. It was terrible. Yes, pieces of it, like the graphics and general gameplay were up to par, but overall it was an unquestionable failure.
Enter Reaper of Souls. The auction houses are gone. Monsters now scale to the player’s level. The new Crusader class is badass. Adventure Mode is amazing. But most importantly, loot drops. Oh, the loot drops. Within about two minutes of playing, every single one of a player’s old equipment can be replaced by gear nearly twice as good. Killing a basic monster and seeing a legendary item fly out that almost makes up for the troubles Blizzard has forced upon its fans. Almost.
This is the game that should have been released two years ago. Simply taking care of the frustrating loot drops and useless auction house does more than add enjoyment; it lets players focus on the devilishly fun game they’ve had for years. Now that every chest can hide something wonderful, the gameplay begins to flex its muscles. Every hit makes a solid thud, transferring the feeling god-like power of the Nephalem into the fingers of the player.
Very few games are successful in transferring the feeling of power from the screen to the player. The best instance of this is the Arkham series, where the developers have created a world where anyone can pick up a controller and feel like they are the Dark Knight. Diablo 3 is one of the very few games that can count itself in this category. There really isn’t anything quite as satisfying as watching the screen fill up with an overwhelming horde of demons, only to fall upon reaching the player. The character feels powerful; YOU feel powerful. All of this has been there since the beginning. It just took the updates in Reaper of Souls to fully reveal them.
The other updates in the expansion pack simply act as icing on the cake. As previously mentioned, the new Crusader is amazingly fun. Playing a lot like the Paladin from Diablo 2, its preferred setup is a shield and mace/hammer. Unlike the all-offense Barbarian, this class offers an incredible amount of defense and healing. It’s a tank, and like all tanks, it’s insanely fun to wreak havoc with.
The other key addition is the introduction of Adventure Mode. This mode allows players to accept bounties to open Nephalem Rifts. Completing a bounty provides amazing rewards, and gives endless replayability for anyone who has already completed the story mode.
The addition to the storyline, however, is weak, at best. The first four Acts have a very forgettable plot, and Act Five is nothing different. The Reaper of Souls, Malthael, has stolen the Black Soulstone, and the Nephalem needs to stop him. It’s uninspiring and, at times, downright boring.
However, not even these problems can take away from the fact that Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls is one of the best games out at the moment. It’s outrageously fun and endlessly replayable, making it more than worth the price. What makes it even better is that it works on a Mac.
Overall Grade: A+