A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is a combat-driven action role-playing game. Taking on the roles of classic fantasy heroes fighting the forces of hell, players face an almost endless procession of evil creatures -- including skeletons, zombies, and demons -- that they slaughter with medieval weapons and magical attacks. It's extremely bloody and gory at times, though a raised-camera perspective keeps the experience noticeably less intense than if it were presented as a first- or third-person game. Note that the $40 base game, Diablo III, is required to play this expansion.
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What's it about?
The first major expansion to Blizzard Entertainment's blockbuster dungeon-crawling role-playing game, DIABLO III: REAPER OF SOULS picks up where the base game left off, adding a fifth act to the original game's story. The game begins with Malthael, the Angel of Death, stealing an evil artifact called the Black Soulstone that contains an incredible evil. It's up to the player's character to put an end to Maltheal and retrieve the relic before he can fully exploit its dark power. In addition to a fresh chapter, the expansion introduces a powerful new character class called the "Crusaders," each of whom brings with him (or her -- as usual, players can opt to play as a female character) an abundance of large weapons and equipment, such as the flail and great shields. There's also a new equipment artisan, the "Mystic," who can alter the player's weapons and armor. The addition of a new "Adventure" mode, meanwhile, allows players to take on new quests throughout all five acts and provides incentive to revisit earlier locations.
Is it any good?
If you've been looking for a reason to jump back into Diablo III, this is it. The new act is lengthier than previous ones, adding several hours of fresh campaigning across darkly beautiful environments that include graveyards, underground tunnels, and burning cities. The new Crusader class is a boon, too, especially for those pining for a character who's a bit stronger and more defensive in nature.
But the real highlights are under the game's hood. Monster intelligence has been tweaked so enemies are always a proper match for your character, regardless of level or location. The maximum-level caps have been raised, so you can keep growing your characters. And the treasure or "loot" system has been refined so you have a better chance of finding high-quality equipment and weapons along your journey and less chance of cluttering up your inventory with worthless junk. It doesn't change the dungeon-crawling formula enough to win over new converts, but for those who enjoyed the original Diablo III it makes what was already a pretty good game even better.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about games that let players choose male or female avatars. Is this important to you? If you have a choice, do you always select the gender that corresponds to your own? Do you think playing a game as a member of a different gender might help you better understand the opposite sex?
Families also can discuss social gaming. Do you prefer playing Diablo III alone or with friends? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of playing alone and with others?
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