Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer Review – Bodies go Boom

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GAME INFO

Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer

27th June, 2017
Platform PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher Blizzard Entertainment
Developer Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo III has had a fairly mixed life. Launched to a huge reception, selling 3.5 million in its first day, great things were imagined. Then came the issues. Always online connection requirements mixed with too few servers and stability issues. The money-grabbing antics of the real-money auction house combined with the limitations on drops. I also remember playing it on launch. While I found it enjoyable, I also found it just that bit too linear and, frankly, boring.

Over time, issues have been fixed and Diablo 3 became the game that it always should have been. Although I never actually played Reaper of Souls (until now), it released to great acclaim. Patches have improved the game a lot since I played it on release. The game just functions that much better. There are more areas to explore and drops have improved.

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All this is good, but what about the Necromancer? One of Diablo II’s best characters and Diablo III’s most requested. It’s time to raise the dead, raise Diablo III and see just how good this new content pack is.

It’s strange, that’s the best way to describe it. The content is absolutely fantastic. That much is certain. However, the price is prohibitive at best. Costing £12.99/€14.99/$14.99, it’s very expensive for what you actually get. Despite this, the Necromancer is by far the best character I’ve played on Diablo III. I’ve found it considerably more fun than my Barbarian, Monk or Wizard.

The problem comes with what you actually get for your money. Of course, you get the necromancer. But what else do you get for what is the cost equivalent of a high-priced indie title? Not a great deal. There are no new areas and no new game modes. In reality, there is no actual rising of any necromancers. You simply play through the content that is already there. What you actually get for your money is the new class, a pet, two character slots and two new tabs for your in-game stash. In addition is a few cosmetic items like character wings and a portrait that goes around your characters face.

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Frankly, the value for money is abysmal. That is unless you feel like being somewhat generous as Blizzard released a patch to coincide with the release of Necromancer. In this new patch comes the release of two new zones, as well as a new feature with challenge rifts. In addition, four new waypoints, with bounties, have been added to adventure mode. Of course a host of new equipment for the necromancer has also been added, dropping even for those without the pack.

If there’s one thing that can be said for the Necromancer, it’s that it’s ideal for Diablo III. Hack and Slash ARPG’s like Diablo are all about the massacre of hordes of enemies and the collection of their loot. The new abilities that come with this new class are astoundingly adept at this. From the firing of bone shards or lances across the map to the raising of skeletons or a golem to fight by your side. The best skill, though, is Corpse Explosion. It wreaks absolute devastation against any enemy caught in the blast.

Not every skill seems as useful as those mentioned. One skill, Skeletal Mage, seems more a waste of your secondary ability when compared to Bone Spear or even Death Nova to a lesser extent. Unlike regular skeletons, they aren’t permanent, they’re fixed in position and don’t follow you. Despite the relative use of some abilities, each and every one of them capture the essence of the Necromancer.

For the most part, you’ll be fighting at range. You can consider the class a mixture of the Wizard and Witch Doctor. It takes on the role of a summoner but also with the ability to take on a more active role, dealing extensive direct damage. This is done by the aforementioned abilities that quite literally fire bones at enemies or the use of a scythe. Of the defensive skills, one of the more interesting literally rips the bones out of an enemy and uses them to shield you in armor.

What’s more interesting with the Necromancer is just how you can adapt your play style to the duality of the class. One of the great aspects with the skeletal warriors is that they are physical entities. What this means is that they take a lot of enemy attention, leaving you reasonably free from harm. It also means that you’re able to cast your ranged abilities relatively free from harassment. Should you want to fight up close, you’re more than able to with the scythe or death nova, again using the skeletons for cover.

What helps sell this character pack the most is the level of detail that’s actually gone into the class. Although there’s no new story, the class has been made to fit in with all of the currently available story. Voice acting, unique animations and the Necromancers personality interacts with everything in a new and fresh way. It shows that at least some level of thought has gone into the class. More than that, the new addition of usable corpses that drop on the battlefield is a whole new feature of the game designed just for the Necromancer.

It actually makes the Necromancer feel somewhat more involved than other classes in the game. From my experience with my three other characters, I never actually felt that watching the battlefield was as important. Of course, it’s still easy enough to spam abilities like mad and you’ll likely still win the fights. However, actually watching the location of fallen enemies to explode. Watching the position of your summoned horde and how they’re faring. Even targeting particular enemies with your horde. It’s a lot more tactical than any other class in the game.

Despite the prohibitive cost, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the expansion has reinvigorated my interest in Diablo III. It’s still a shame that for the cost of £13/€15/$15, so little has been added. At least that’s true if you don’t count what has been added in the patch. Although I’m willing to give that some consideration, it’s certainly true that you get it whether you buy the pack or not.

Besides the new class, possibly the most useful aspect of the DLC are the two extra character and bank slots. These will be useful for any long-term and Diablo III players. Those, like me, not so active? Likely not. I haven’t used all my current character slots or stash space so extras are okay, but not essential. Were this two-thirds of the current price I’d say jump right for it, it’s a fantastic new class. As it stands, it all depends on how much you like Diablo III and how much you want to play as the Necromancer

PC version reviewed. Copy provided by publisher. You can get the expansion for PlayStation 4 via Amazon.

7

Rise of the Necromancer brings in what could be the games most entertaining class yet. Hugely adaptable with the ability to both summon minions and be active in the battle, the Necromancer has an excellent duality. However, this new class pack is very expensive for what it offers. Wether it's worth it or now will be very much down to how much you like Diablo III.

Pros

  • The Necromancer is arguably the most entertaining and fun class in Diablo III
  • A lot of detail has gone into the class, ensuring it acts and reacts in its own personal way to the current story
  • Great attention to detail with the skills, animations and how the Necromancer interacts with the world

Cons

  • No new story, mission, area or quest content introduced with the DLC
  • Aside from the class and two extra character and bank slots, extras are purely cosmetic
  • Prohibitively high price for what you actually get in the DLC
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