Reaper of Souls is the first expansion pack for Blizzard Entertainment’s smash hit game Diablo 3. It couldn’t come soon enough for me because, despite selling by the bucket load, it feels like a lot of players abandoned Diablo 3 a few short months after its release. Reasons for the mass exodus included the frustratingly punishing Inferno difficulty, as well as the controversial auction house that replaced thrilling loot hunting with the chore of farming for money in order to purchase better gear. Reaper of Souls thankfully addresses those complaints and gives us some extra content to boot.
The game’s plot follows on directly from the events of Diablo 3. The Lord of Terror’s demise should have heralded an era of world peace, but alas things are never that simple. Just when the heroic Nephalem thought he could take a breather and perhaps celebrate with a trip to Disneyland, the Angel of Death (known as Malthael) swoops down from the heavens and sets in motion a sinister plan. By harnessing the power of the Dark Soulstone Malthael intends to rid the world of human beings, as in Diablo lore the race of man is descended from demons. However much angels detest devils I feel it is harsh to punish all of us just because some people claim to be a demon in the sack.
Cue more frantic mouse clicking action as players command the Nephalem to slay legions of undead in the name of justice. The eradication of the auction house has removed the convenience of trading with fellow players, but it’s still a plus as the change means that the game’s onus is now squarely on bolstering your arsenal by scavenging drops from the carcasses of defeated foes. That works for me, as the thrill of adventuring for treasure is much more satisfying than hording gold to spend at an online market. Thankfully with the advent of Loot 2.0 you are less likely to acquire junk, so your character is constantly progressing as you consistently find better weapons to wield. That sure beats grinding for hours on Inferno difficulty only to have nothing to show for it.
Although Reaper of Souls does a lot of things right, I was disappointed to learn that this addition to the Diablo 3 saga is only one act long. Your average player will have no trouble blasting through the story’s content in just a few hours. Thankfully the addition of an Adventure mode, that allows you to tackle randomly generated levels, adds some extra life to proceedings. For your money you also gain access to a new class in the form of the Crusader. This armour clad holy man assaults demons much in the same manner that priests assault children. As a former World of Warcraft paladin I enjoyed the character’s play style, which allows you to soak up damage with a shield whilst at the same time dishing out righteous fury via divine spells.
If I recall correctly I gave Diablo 3 a rating of five stars, so I will give Reaper of Souls a score of four. It’s another stellar release from Blizzard, but I feel that I have to mark it down given its steep asking price. At the time of writing R.O.S retails for close to thirty quid, which is rather expensive for an expansion. Given its cost I would have liked a lengthier story and perhaps another new playable class (particularly when you consider that Diablo 2’s expansion contained two new characters.) Fans of Diablo 3 will welcome the end game content supplied by the Adventure Mode, but I think it’s a bit cheeky to ask us to pay for a feature that should have been included in the original product. Overall I would say Reaper of Souls is good, although I am expecting more whenever the inevitable second expansion comes out.