Reaper of Souls Review: Death Comes For The Nephalem...
If you thought Diablo himself was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. Reaper of Souls introduces the long-talked about (but perpetually absent) Archangel of Wisdom, Malthael, recently resurfaced as the Angel of Death. Since his disappearance towards the end of Diablo II, the once-scholarly fellow has taken to wandering the lands of Sanctuary and the ancient halls of Pandemonium. Spoiler alert: he’s not pleased with what he found.
Somehow, I found that Malthael made a far more compelling villain than any of the demons ever did. Perhaps it’s because he genuinely believes he’s doing the right thing. Humanity, he claims, is tainted by their demonic blood. They’ve the power to slay scores of either angels or demons without pause, and the ability to choose which side they fight for. In Malthael’s eyes, all it would take for the Angiris council to be wiped from the face of existence is a few rogue Nephalem. As a result, the misguided angel has stolen the Black Soulstone; with it, he hopes to wipe clean the taint of demonic corruption from Sanctuary, starting with Westmarch.
That this will wipe out all mankind and empower him to levels never before seen (angel of death, remember) is just a happy accident, apparently.
Gameplay-wise, Reaper of Souls brings to the table plenty more of what Diablo fans love, complete with new monsters and challenging new boss fights. The final battle against Malthael is particularly memorable; without spoiling too much, he makes Diablo look like a harmless infant. Awesome, right?
Unfortunately, Reaper of Souls isn’t without a few shortcomings here and there. Enemies on higher difficulties still feel oddly balanced (to use the previous example, Malthael has several billion health), while certain foes (I’m looking at you, Primordial Scavengers) seem to exist only to be a total nuisance and nothing else. These are minor quips, though. As a whole, the experience is overwhelmingly positive.
I also had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with the Crusader class, which I absolutely love. Until now, the closest thing Diablo III’s had to a legitimate tank is a properly optimized Barbarian or Monk. The Crusader fills that niche, and does so admirably. Every ability in their kit seems designed to let them stand at the front lines and soak up damage, all while dishing out a respectable amount of hurt, to boot. Were I more cynical, I might even say they’re a bit overpowered at the moment.
Narrative-wise, Reaper of Souls is largely more of the camp everyone’s come to expect with D III. While the companion side-quests are excellent diversions (and great way to get to know your hires better), they actually form some of the higher points of the act; the fight against the Grand Templar was probably one of the toughest I’ve fought so far.
Reaper of Souls also adds Adventure Mode, a game mode in which all the game’s waypoints are locked and players can travel about doing bounties to collect powerful artifacts and epic rewards. It’s very fun, and a great way to farm for magic items. It also introduces a new craftsman, The Mystic, which can change the appearance of and modify the enchantments on your items.
As this review draws to a close, I’ll leave you with a simple statement: if you loved Diablo III, you’re going to love Reaper of Souls, as well. Truth be told, even if you were into DIII and got bored (like I did), Reaper of Souls might be just the spark you need to reignite your passion. Worked for me, anyway.
Now, I should be off. Those demons won’t slay themselves.
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A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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