It's very important to preface this by saying that I'm writing this review for Patch 2.4.0 of the Reaper of Souls
expansion for the PS4. The last time that I regularly played Diablo III
before this was in 2012 when the base game was on Patch 1.0.4. I was ultimately disappointed at the tepid follow-up to Diablo II
that Blizzard had delivered (which I will elaborate on and reserve for the Diablo III
review), but I still felt that it was an enjoyable-enough game that I stuck with it for several months. These days however, the addiction is real. There is that constant lingering feeling that I need to get home ASAP so that I could further level up my Demon Hunter to Level 70. This, after I've already levelled up a Monk, a Witch Doctor, and a Wizard all to max level and then some.
The level of improvement in the game 3.5 years after - both in terms of gameplay and content - is undeniable. The new Crusader class, for starters, is a fun throwback to the Paladin from Diablo II
. It can tank fairly well and deliver boatloads of damage at the same time, with skills and strategy diverse enough from the other classes to distinguish itself among the bunch. The new act, Act V, is huge. It's not something that feels tacked on just for the for sake of calling the product an expansion. It feels grand and immense in terms of scope, art design, and production values. The size of it almost feels like putting Act III and IV from the base game together.
The endgame is also much more fleshed out: Upon reaching Level 70, you stop the normal levelling process and start levelling up "Paragon" levels where each level gives you a paragon point that you can allocate to slightly improve one of several character attributes. While this payoff for paragon levelling might seem significantly less enticing than for normal levelling, one should note that it isn't the main focus during the endgame anyway. At this point, the preoccupation of most players are in doing the following:Completing Bounties:
Once you are finished with Story/Campaign Mode, you unlock Adventure Mode. In this mode, the entire world of Diablo III
is opened for exploration for any of your characters, old or new. Along with this, five "bounties" per Act are available for completion, and for every Act where you complete all bounties, Tyrael
rewards you with a "Horadric Cache" which may contain everything from gems, crafting materials, crafting plans and designs, magical, rare, legendary, or even set items. Not to mention that as you go along completing the bounty missions, you also rack-up all of these sort of items anyway. Roaming the open world of Sanctuary is like Story Mode on steroids.Nephalem Rift Runs:
"Nephalem Rifts" are a feature of Adventure Mode where you can enter a portal that takes you to a randomly generated map, and you simply run through it, destroying everything in your way. As you beat mobs of minions, including elites and bosses, there is a progress bar that tells you how close to completion you are, and when it hits 100%, a "Rift Guardian" comes out, which you then have to kill to complete the rift. And of course, throughout this pandemonium, you get tons of loot, and experience points. Rift runs are like bounties on steroids.Greater Rift Runs:
Greater Rifts are like Nephalem Rifts on steroids.
Now, as you go about doing all these bounties and rift runs, you also accumulate plans for set items and legendary items that you can craft c/o the Blacksmith, and this is where the appeal of the endgame really lies - in collecting everything that you need to collect so that you can craft the items to build your character to your satisfaction.Kanai's Cube:
This is another aspect of the game that I haven't explored in much details, but it's basically like the Horadric Cube from Diablo II
. You can use it with certain "recipes" to gain powers to further boost your character.Seasons (PC only):
This is basically the ladder of the game. Periodically, Blizzard starts seasons for the game where you can start a new character and level it up to make it stronger throughout the season, and you're ranked amongst other players. Unfortunately, this is not available in the console version and I'm bitter about it so that's all I'm going to say about that. Great stuff for the PC players though.
Having said and raved about the great things in the game though, I think that the single best thing that Blizzard has done to improve the game is what they removed from it... and that thing is the "auction house." What this removal has done to make the current incarnation of the game great will have to be reserved for the base game review, but suffice to say that the current incarnation of Diablo III
is more than satisfying for someone like me who has been a hardcore Diablo fan for the longest time. sure, it still treats a lot of things differently - you can't allocate your stats and there is no skill tree like in Diablo II
- but these things aren't things that turned me off from the base game anyway, so with all the improvements that have been made, I think that the Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls v2.4
we have now is finally the worthy successor to Diablo II