Diablo III Reaper of Souls: Ultimate Evil Edition
Price: $60 (PS4/XB1) $39 (360/PS3)
Platform: XB1, PS4, 360, PS3
A copy of the game was supplied to us
Diablo III has been out for a couple of years, and on consoles for almost a year. If you happen to have missed it, or just haven’t touched it since launch, The Ultimate Evil Edition is the perfect place to start.
Shortly after Diablo III launched on PC it was made clear that the loot and auction house systems were breaking most of the late game of the game. When Diablo III came to consoles last year the improved loot system, local co-op and the ability to play completely offline addressed most of my grievances. Now with the additional story content, additional modes and difficulties the Ultimate Evil Edition might be the best version of Diablo III yet.
The Ultimate Evil Edition of Diablo III Reaper of Souls is a fully encompassing package. All of the content from the core Diablo III game is included. The first four acts tuned for a greater loot experience, dubbed “Loot 2.0.” What this really means is players will have a higher frequency of rare item drops, as well as items that are tuned to the selected class. When playing the ‘late game’ scenarios, replaying areas on different difficulties to earn better gear for your character, the potential for new and interesting loot is at a much greater frequency. When playing Diablo III 1.0 on PC I only received one legendary drop in my 40+ hours of playtime. Within the Ultimate Evil Edition I have found over a dozen different legendary items.
Local Co-op is great. Diablo III is meant to be played with others, and having the ability to have a friend come over and enjoy the experience from the same console is great. The only strange part of local co-op is the way that the loot is distributed. Unlike playing online where both players get their own instance of the loot, when played locally the gear is all shared, but distributed according to the players’ main stats. This means that the right gear goes to the player whose character is most able to use the gear immediately. Up to four players can enjoy all of Diablo III locally.
The added story missions that come with Reaper of Souls pick up right after the end of Diablo III. Before Tyrael and the gang can secure the Black Soul Stone, the Angel of Death has come to claim its power. It’s all kind of cheesy and a little over the top, but it falls in line with the previous Diablo narratives. The new in game enemies line up with the typical Diablo foes. Ghost skeletons, ghouls and a variety of new monsters stand in the way of victory. The entire act takes a few hours to complete for the first time, listening to the optional lore and exploring some of the optional quests that pepper the dungeons. Unfortunately to get to the new Reaper of Souls act you need to play through all of the previous four acts. To get to the late game adventure modes you have to have all of the acts completed. Despite the over the top story, the quality voice acting and gorgeous pre-rendered cinematics help build an enjoyable experience.
The Reaper of Souls expansion also adds one new class to the Diablo III formula. The Crusader class plays like a hybrid the damage sponge barbarian and more spell focused class like a monk or wizard. The different customization options let players adapt the crusader to fit their play style. When I started with the crusader I played like a tank, staying in the middle of enemies attacking, and boosting stats of myself to be able to recover quickly. As I progressed I stuck a balance with ranged attacks, stat boosting and up close tanking for the ultimate demon killing machine. If you want to truly customize your play through you are going to want to enable elective mode. This lets you map any active skill to any of the action buttons, mixing and matching from different categories.
You can link your Xbox and PlayStation accounts to your Battle.net account to reap an ingame legendary item. It is unclear if Blizzard will offer continual bonuses for linked accounts, or if this is just a one time deal. Playing online isn’t required of the console versions of Diablo III but there are some interesting mechanics for those who do. When playing in your and you are killed by an elite enemy a nemesis will form. These powerful creatures invade your friends’ games. If you defeat it not only does great loot drop for you but a piece of loot drops that is labeled as a gift for your friend. Being able to share legendary drops with your friends after defeating an enemy that killed them is a great mechanic.
The PlayStation versions of the Ultimate Evil Edition have some extra content in the form of a special Last of Us themed area in Adventure Mode as well as a Shadow of the Colossus themed armor set. Not huge exclusives, but worth mentioning just to highlight the nod to the comarketing Sony and Blizzard have done with Diablo III. No matter which version of the game you play, you are going to get the same general experience. Both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 versions run at 1080p and keep a decent framerate for most scenarios.
The Final Word
Diablo III Is a great game, and Reaper of Souls offers new story driven content as well as giving plenty of reasons to jump back into familiar areas with new challenges thanks to adventure mode. While the story can be a little cheesy at times, the combat mechanics and improved loot driven replayability make it easy to sink hours and hours into leveling up and mastering all of the different classes. The Ultimate Evil Edition is the best version of Diablo III that I have played. Even if you have already played a lot of the game on PC, there is a lot of new content mixed in with the engaging Diablo III systems.
– MonsterVine Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – Great