I bought Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls for the PS4 in April of 2015. My brother, in-law, and I played it to Chapter 2 in the month, but the game was dropped shortly thereafter. I think I can probably attribute the reason to the fact that Desert levels suck in any game ever. But I digress.
We picked it up again around New Year ’16 with new characters. Perhaps the character switch up was all that we needed, because this time the game was played all the way through to the end.
What kind of game is Diablo? Diablo is the king of loot. To say it made the genre what we know today is an understatement. If you’ve never played a game in the genre, you definitely owe it to yourself to at least give one a shot. For our group personally, we played a lot of Dungeon Defenders (a Tower Defense/Loot Game hybrid) when it released. A lot. So while none of us ever actually played a Diablo game until Reaper of Souls, the loot genre wasn’t entirely new. Which probably works for the better, because there is a lot of loot in this game – so much that if we didn’t already have some experience under our belts to know that not everything is worth holding onto, sorting our inventories would take metric tons of time. (So much that it becomes a tangible, weighable object).
Which brings me to the first thing I have to say about the gameplay. The menu system SUCKS for local multiplayer. It’s a wonderful menu! But when you have three players that want to fiddle with abilities and different builds, the global pause that comes alongside one person’s opening of the menu gets to be too much. Especially after end of chapter boss battles when multiple rare items are dropped – ones that are worth spending time looking at. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say thirty minutes went towards menus after each big boss we took down. It would have been a much smoother experience if a.) each person was able to look through menus when the game was paused or b.) the game kept moving for the other players. I don’t want to let the negative overshadow the good, but I seriously can’t say how much I hated the blasted pause menu.
Gameplay is fun. It’s repetitive. It’s grindy. It’s Skinner Box. It’s fun. With lots of different abilities, combos, and gear that will further break abilities down into new things altogether, it’s not hard to spend countless hours killing things to get loot that will let you kill things faster. Sounds like horrible game design, but I swear it really is fun if you find a liking to the gameplay loop. My character was one of the Crusader class. For a bulk of my time, he used abilities that decreased the resource cost of everything, while also increasing the attack speed of everything else. This allowed him to use countless shouts that dealt damage in a large area. But just hours before then, my entire Modus Operandi was throwing Hammers and summoning spirit partners. It’s really cool being able to change up your entire gameplay by changing out just one or two skills.
The game is never hard unless you intentionally jack the difficulty way up. There’s a lot of micro-management to keep you involved, but it’s not difficult. I especially liked the ability to change game difficulty up or down in-game by one notch (out of fourteen difficulty options). We would keep it as high as possible, but if things were too tanky, taking too long to kill – aka not being fun to spend time on – we’d bump it down one peg. Once some better gear was obtained and we had at least one guy that could clear hordes out faster we’d put it back up, seamlessly.
I liked the music in the game. Mostly ambient or orchestral. The nature of the game sadly means you won’t get to hear much of the score through all the sounds of war. There were a few stand-out tracks that would play in story scenes though; ones that made me seek out the soundtrack on Youtube.
As is standard place in Blizzard games, there’s actually a lot of story. Characters are named, plot points are shared through character conversations, and a greater sense of world is built through it. Though we didn’t really pay much mind to any of it. Not to say it’s bad, but our focus was simply on the gameplay loop instead. So if you like some story in your games, Diablo 3 will not disappoint. If you don’t? You’re still in the clear, as you don’t need to take part in anything outside of the main game unless you feel like doing so. Much like how there are hundreds of hours of content beyond the main game that one does not need to play in order to get a fun experience from the title.
Partially due to the difficulty (read: time spent clearing hordes), but mostly due to the fun of others, I can’t say the game is very fun to play alone. Not for me, anyways. And the online is unfortunately riddled with hackers who can – and will – skyrocket your level up through a hundred hours-worth of play in a minute. This single-handedly destroys the intended gameplay loop. So, while I think Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls was a fun game to play through, I can’t bring myself to suggest it to anyone who plans on playing alone. If you like the idea of starting out immensely strong, or simply prefer single-player titles you can still find some fun. With friends, though? The gist of everything? Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls is a most definite suggestion if you don’t fall into the negative case of wanting to play online with random players.