Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition review

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition review

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition review

by August 12, 2014

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls feels less like the series finale of your
favorite TV show and more like an exciting one-off episode. And as far
as expansions go, that’s totally fine. If you’ve been playing D3 again
in anticipation of all the new content, you might be left wanting. But
for those who’ve lost touch with Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls polishes the
gameplay to addictive kill-and-loot perfection, making this the most fun
the game’s ever been.

Since you killed Diablo (yet again) at the
end of Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls pits you against a new villain:
Malthael, a fallen archangel who sees humanity as a scourge upon
creation. As the Nephalem, aka the people’s champ, you’ve got to fight
back against Malthael’s army of reapers and their raised minions in the
added Act 5, starting with the burning city of Westmarch. While hacking
and slashing your way through creepy cemeteries, overgrown swamplands,
mystic ruins, and otherworldly battlefields, you’ll appreciate all the
grisly little details (like alleyways overflowing with dead bodies) and
the abnormal color palette of browns, purples, and deep blues. Act 5 may
only have a handful of new environment types, but the majority of them
feel markedly different from the Diablo 3 vistas you’ve no doubt played
to death at this point.

If
you’re looking for an epic tale concluding the war between angels and
demons, Reaper of Souls’ plot will be a bit of a let-down. By chatting
with your followers from the preceding game, you’ll gain access to
nifty, Loyalty-style missions that further their subplots.
Unfortunately, these feel annoyingly unresolved, even if they do offer a
welcome bit of backstory. The overarching plot about Malthael feels
similarly serialized: you get some interesting insight into the Angel of
Death’s mentality, but Act 5’s ending comes off as abrupt and
inconclusive. With all the cliffhangers, it feels like no attempts were
made to hide the fact that–if everything goes according to plan–this
expansion is just one of many. Hey, at least there’s a boss fight
against a bazooka-wielding fallen angel along the way.

While the
additional Act is entertaining enough, the new Crusader class is easily
Reaper of Soul’s biggest strength. This platemail-clad knight engages
hellspawn from melee or mid-range–but whichever you choose, the
Crusader’s focus is always on fighting huge groups of enemies at once,
soaking up damage with your shield before using sweeping AoE abilities
to annihilate your foes. Smiting demons with the Fist of the Heavens or
clearing out a room with Blessed Hammers made from holy energy looks and
feels righteous, and the Crusader’s combination of tanky fortitude,
utility spells, and ally-saving abilities make it a nice addition to
Diablo 3’s roster.

Ultimate Evil Edition sweetens the already good deal

If you were vaguely interested in the couch co-op of Diablo 3 on consoles, but held off for whatever reason, the Ultimate Evil Edition is a strong reason to finally take the plunge. It bundles in the original game with everything from the Reaper of Souls expansion stacked on top, and brings the hack-‘n’-slash fun to PS4 and Xbox One in addition to the PS3 and 360. If it’s in the PC version–Adventure Mode, Nephalem Rifts, what have you–it’s here, including up-to-date patches so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on future refinements. The Crusader class plays great on a controller, with its capacity to wade into the fray, soak up tons of damage, and clobber monsters until none are left standing. As before, the instantaneous jump-in co-op makes multiplayer demon killing simple and exponentially more fun.

On top of the Crusader’s emboldening playstyle, they’re also some of the
most well-written characters in the game. Both the female and male
Crusader voice actors are superb, portraying warriors with a deep-set
loyalty to a religious faith without being overzealous or fanatical.
They’re empathetic without feeling soft, and have a penchant for making
witty observations that genuinely made me laugh. Listening to the
Crusader’s dialogue across all the Acts (yes, it’s more than just Act 5)
is a treat, and their savvy remarks sound decidedly more self-aware and
relatable than the borderline-ridiculous seething of the Demon Hunter
or the Wizard’s haughty quips.