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Blizzard has finally released an expansion to the world’s fastest selling PC game of all time Diablo III. I jump straight into the action as the world of Tristan is threatened by evil once again.
I sit here nearly 48 hours after the midnight release of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, at level 70, and with the final boss fast approaching. I feel that it hasn’t really taken me that long to get here and, after playing solidly for five hours feel that the grind up to 70 should have been longer, though I think back to the release of Diablo III two years ago and am fortunate that I’m actually able to play the game on release day. Anyways, I started the Reaper of Souls at level 60 and at paragon 86. For those who don’t know that means I’ve leveled my character to top level plus another 86 levels on top of that. I had spurts on and off the game since its release though the past two weeks I have been very focused on hitting a high paragon level in preparation for the release and also obtaining a good gear set so that I don’t get crushed instantly in the new act.
After Diablo is defeated by the Nephalem (the player character), Tyrael recovers the Black Soulstone that contains the essence of all seven of the Great Evils. Knowing it is too dangerous to leave it in the hands of mortals or angels, he and six Horadrim take the Black Soulstone back to Sanctuary and attempt to seal it away where it can never be found – deep in the tomb of Rakkis, the first King of Westmarch, the kingdom established to the west of Khanduras. However, the group is ambushed by Malthael, former Archangel of Wisdom and member of the Angiris Council, who had disappeared after the destruction of the Worldstone twenty years earlier after it was corrupted by Baal the Lord of Destruction (at the end of Diablo II) Now calling himself the “Angel of Death,” Malthael kills all but one of the Horadrim and incapacitates Tyrael, and takes the Black Soulstone. Your job is to get it back and prevent the world from an almost definite end.
The new expansion has brought us a host of new features. The crusader class has been added which has been inspired by the paladin from Diablo II, a new chapter added, a raised level cap (60 – 70) and the new type of crafting known as transmogrification based loosely around the transmog feature in World of Warcraft allowing you to copy other items looks and place them on your own armor. There are a host of other additions which you can read about here.
You’re placed straight into a new town in the new act of Reaper of Souls, that looks very similar to the awesome towns and settings seen in the previous four acts in Diablo III. As you venture your way through the town and further into the expansion you come across a host new enemies and also those enemies that will feel very familiar to you, performing the same spells and the same effects that they did in Diablo III to try and stop you in your path to stop evil. The graphics in Diablo III have always been good in my opinion, filled with mystical and magical surroundings in an almost oil painting setting whilst also looking sharp and refined and there has been no exception spared here. I was able to play at a steady frame rate on my laptop and 120fps + on my PC without any hitches. The surroundings and the way you interact with items and the world is of course the same as Diablo and you’re able to interact with multiple features in the game like armor stands, broken floor pieces, and untouched crevices in the world that unlock item drops, gold and also in the rare case a legendary piece.
The sound effects and audio in the Reaper of Souls is second to none, and as with all Blizzard games really is at the top end of the spectrum. The noises and effects of enemies, the player characters (which are very British at times) spoken audio are a treat on the ears and the musical score sits beautifully under the fast paced action and even when just hanging around the town.
The game was massively improved with the introduction of patch 2.0.1 which added a new set of difficulty modes, better item optimization, changes with stats and a multitude of other enhancements. This update brought a lot of players back to the brand including myself and now with the addition of new content I’m feeling hooked again and will surely be playing into the forthcoming months. The game feels refreshed and with something new to tackle should bring a host of the original players back to Tristan. The bosses in Reaper of Souls do however feel slightly unbalanced. It took myself and two other players in a three man party around 23 minutes to kill the second boss Adria and according to my friends the final boss has over three billion HP. This does feel a little bit overpowered although with the levels being gained and the new armor to be dropped as you progress, the player characters are only going to get more powerful so to say unbalanced may be a little premature as I’m still about the hit up the final boss.
I found Diablo III: Reaper of Souls a great addition to the series and feel the game has become new and exciting again which is a feeling evoked by all the other people playing the game that I have spoken too. I’m extremely looking forward to finishing the game so that I can unlock even more paragon levels and get my gear up to a decent standard. I’m yet to try out the new class but the feedback has been great from the people I have played with and the transmogrification feature is a nice addition in customizing your character’s appearance. Although I am a short way from completing the game I’m a little disappointed the 60 – 70 leveling gap was so short. In a mere three hours I was already at 68, and just another couple at 70 but of course this is where the paragon levels will then take effect. The game is as addictive and as engrossing as ever and with the words PVP and arena being muttered on the lips of fans and blizzard employees alike, now is as good as any time to get back onto a game that has been gathering dust on a lot of peoples shelves! Trust me, you will be hooked again!