Reviews: Gaming

Raising Diablo III from the dead

In Diablo III: Rise Of The Necromancer, it is great fun to see your skeleton army doing all the dirty work for you without your character being in the thick of the action.
In Diablo III: Rise Of The Necromancer, it is great fun to see your skeleton army doing all the dirty work for you without your character being in the thick of the action.PHOTO: BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

The Necromancer is back as a playable character, to lead your undead army

Fans of the 2012 hack-and-slash action role-playing game Diablo III, it is time to power up the game. The Necromancer is back as a playable character class.

As part of the new Rise Of The Necromancer (RON) pack, you will get to play the fan-favourite Necromancer. This is in addition to the Crusader, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Monk and Wizard that you can currently play.

The Necromancer made its debut as a playable character in Diablo II (launched in 2000) but it was not available to play in Diablo III. The character is much loved, as the Necromancer can control an army of undead minions to battle the evil forces of series villain Diablo.

Having played every single iteration, including expansion packs, of the Diablo franchise since 1996, I am excited to be able to play the Necromancer again.

Like the rest of the character classes, the Necromancer has a dual resource system in the form of Health and Essence.

Much like the Crusader's Wrath or Barbarian's Fury, it uses Essence - gathered by using basic attacks - for more powerful attacks.

There is also the Corpse system, which I love. Only when playing as the Necromancer do enemies become corpses (and not disappear) when you kill them. You can make the corpses explode to kill other nearby enemies, devour the bodies to restore your health, or resurrect them as part of your undead army.

  • 8/10

  • RATING

    PRICE: US$14.99 or S$20.99 (PC, the version tested; PS4 and Xbox One)

    GENRE: Action role-playing game

And having an army of undead to help in your battles is one of the highlights of playing as the Necromancer. It is great fun to see your skeleton army doing all the dirty work for you without your character being in the thick of the action.

The Necromancer has a mix of melee and ranged basic attacks, so you can decide how you want to play the character. I personally love to use the Bone Spikes basic attack from far. This attack summons bone spikes from the ground to kill enemies. You can also use the Grim Scythe melee attack to decapitate the enemies.

There are also Curse spells that you can use to slow down enemies, drain their health, or kill them if they are below a certain health level. The Necromancer can also rip bones from nearby enemies to create an armour, or launch a bone spirit that seeks out enemies.

There is so much you can do with the Necromancer that it is an absolute blast to play. And no character class in the game has been this fun to play, for me. The Necromancer has now toppled the melee-focused Crusader as my favourite Diablo III character class.

On the downside, the new pack is a little costly at US$14.99 (S$20.99). Unlike the last expansion pack, Reaper Of Souls, it comes with no new levels to clear, no new areas to explore and no new big bosses to fight in the campaign.

And, unlike World Of Warcraft where the character experience levels get bumped up with every expansion pack, Diablo III's experience level is still capped at 70 - granted that RON is not exactly a full expansion pack, as it is more like a character pack.

It does try to add some sweeteners. The RON pack gives you an in-game twisted half-formed Golem pet, a pair of cosmetic Wings of the Crypt Guardian, two additional character slots and two stash tabs (for PC only).

In addition, there are new aesthetic items to use, like the Necromancer portrait, banner, sigil, accent and blood master pennant.

• Verdict: In essence, Rise Of The Necromancer is just a character pack. Nonetheless, the chance of playing the Necromancer will surely entice the Diablo fan in you to return to the game.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'Raising Diablo III from the dead'. Print Edition | Subscribe