We’ve collected all the available Reaper of Souls reviews into a wiki article, for one stop shopping (clicking). The article compiles 60 reviews, but a few of them don’t list a score. Metacritic only lists 45, but they’ve got an average of all of those, and it equates to… 86. This is interesting since 1) Diablo 3’s Metacritic average is 88, and 2) practically every RoS review says “big improvement over Diablo 3.”
Video game review scores are something of a running joke, with fans just assuming that any review of a major title will be an 8 or higher, unless the game launches with critical, crushing errors. (And maybe not even then.) That’s not true of every site, of course. Our friends at IncGamers post honest and (when justified) negative reviews, but across the industry score inflation is obvious.
That said, I don’t think Diablo 3 was necessarily evidence of that, except perhaps that critics didn’t mark it down for Error 37 technical issues since they assumed the company running WoW would get B.net’s shit together quickly. (Which they did, best I can recall. Most people could play Diablo 3 fine after the first day or two.)As for the game itself, most players and critics enjoyed it at first. There were haters who downvoted the reviews and Amazon.com scores due to the real money trading, the Auction House, and online-only, but those were ideological votes issued before most people had even played the game. For people who actually formed their opinions based on the gameplay, the feel, the graphics, the huge variety of skills, the level design, etc… those were all awesome in the early days. The problems with Diablo 3 vanilla because obvious with more play time, and over the months people rightly objected to the the bland itemization, lack of end game activity, difficulty issues, skill balancing, etc. But those weren’t factors (pro or con) in reviews posted a few days after launch.
With that history it’s ironic, though not real surprising, that Reaper of Souls is getting lower average scores than Diablo 3 did. It’s too soon after launch to offer any real objective overview, even including Beta test time, but in the opinion of most players Reaper of Souls is a much better game than Diablo 3 was, especially in terms of the end game, balance, difficulty, and other areas that Diablo 3 proved lacking. But reviewers and most gamers grew negative about Diablo 3 over the months/years, and that’s how reviewers who gave D3 an 88 can say RoS is a huge improvement… while giving it an 86.
It’s a different story with the user reviews. No one would confuse fan scores with objective truth, not after Diablo 3 had thousands of fan reviews and a 1.5/5 score on Amazon.com days before it even launched… but comparing the D3 vs. RoS user scores shows a huge improvement for the expansion. Here are the Metacritic.com user review pages for Diablo 3 and Reaper of Souls.
I have to say, there’s a real lack of imagination in the negative RoS scores on Metacritic. The zero point scores look like the results of an inept astroturfing effort, where, to paraphrase a famous philosopher, Pay attention meathead, you’re saying the same shit he said! They’re practically cut and paste, with every one complaining that Reaper of Souls is an overpriced DLC, that it’s only only 2 hours of new gameplay, etc.
There’s a valid debate to be had over how much content is enough for an expansion, but no one is offering it in the Metacritic comments. They’re all too busy saying RoS has 2 hours of content, while furiously ignoring the Crusader, Adventure Mode, Nephalem Rifts, Bounties, hundreds of new legendary items, all the new skills and passives, massive rebalances to existing skills, the whole new itemization, Paragon 2.0, etc.
Re-Reviewing Diablo 3
What do you guys think? What was your initial D3 score, what would you have given it after 6 months, and what would you give RoS right now? Do you think your opinion of RoS will rise or fall over time? What if we’ve got a cool ladder system and good PvP in 6 months? (Yes, I know, but it’s fun to pretend.)