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'Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls' Review: Much Improved

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Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (PC)

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"Diablo 3" was like that super hot bipolar chick you met at the bar that you know could make your night a wild one, but in the end, it could be more trouble than fun.

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Between the mediocre loot system, the problems with the auction house, the always-online gameplay and surprisingly easy play-through difficulty, there was little incentive to play the game once you beat it.

The game's first DLC offering, "Reaper of Souls" however is essentially like the right type of medication for this crazy broad. With a cool new story, the improved loot system and less fetch quests, "Reaper of Souls" is good enough to take home to mom and dad.

Although it’s more a polished offering of the same old gameplay fans of the series have come to appreciate and love, you won’t find it to be dissatisfying. The work under the hood of this game was needed and with it comes a more accomplished and polished feeling "Diablo 3" didn’t have at times. A lot of that started with the visuals. “Diablo 3” wasn't the graphical showcase many expected, but it still offered a hearty hack-and-slash adventure with a great, but predictable story. “Reaper of Souls," continues the trend with more tried and true gameplay and more killer adventure.

The opening cinematic for "Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls" is just as pretty as the intro for the first game. As Tyrael and company prepare to move the Black Soulstone to the depths of the world so no one can harness its power, Malthael, the Angel of Death, decides to cleanse the world of all humans, eliminating any possibility for Diablo's return.

Sounds a bit wacky at first, but it makes sense considering that in this world, humans are descendants or angels and demons.

With death on the rampage, the trusty Nephalim is called back into action to destroy him. The first few stages showcase Death’s abilities, by having seemingly friendly soldiers morph into seeds of evil before your eyes. Unlike portions of "Diablo 3" where you could just destroy everything and not have to think all that much, "Reaper of Souls" forces you to think a bit more. Because of this, equipping your character with the right skills and being comfortable with it is a must. At times, there are so many enemies on the screen that you'll feel like it's a more arcade beat-em-up experience, but the fun is always there.

With so many more enemies comes more loot as well. Considering one of Diablo 3’s biggest issues was the loot system, the changes made in “Reaper of Souls” change the game entirely. In a matter of about 25 minutes, you'll quickly realize your new gear simply isn't going to cut it anymore. Luckily, there are plenty of enemies more than happy to give you their stuff upon their death. Bonus side quests as well offer awesome weapons, armor and rings to ensure your survival. The amount of gems in the DLC as well is staggering, making it even easier to customize your favorite weapons. With so many different things to do and experience, it's hard to find many qualms with "Reaper of Souls."

Fixing so many of the mistakes of its predecessor, “Reaper of Souls” is a well-rounded update.

The game’s new adventure mode as well eliminates many of the problems the auction house created and instead makes finding cool loot fun and not about who has the most cash.

Even considering the fact that the new Crusader class requires you to play through the original game, the good time never wavers. With some cool abilities, such as being able to use two-handed weapons as one, it’s obvious the class is a powerhouse once leveled up. The new powers and pure strength of the new character as well make it a nice reunion to revisit "Diablo 3" all over again before embarking on a new adventure. That, or you can find a friend to power level you. Always a choice between light and dark.

Graphically, "Reaper of Souls" is the same animal, but new animations and some cool enemies make for a more surreal visual experience. The color palette for the game, although still dark and grim, features lush reds, oranges and blues, from the powerful good and evil weapons to the fire and lights shining and burning, "Reaper of Souls" is pretty.

With a new story weapons and character class, "Reaper of Souls" is a welcomed addition to the acclaimed series. Although it doesn't revolutionize the genre or the game, it provides hardcore fans and newbies with a fun and accessibly deep RPG experience they'll remember for a long time.

The Good:

Demonic Difficulty Returns: For those who thought "Diablo 3" was too easy, you're in for a surprise here.

Tons of Cool Side Quests: There's plenty of ways to get lost in the small things in this DLC. From clearing rooms filled with hordes of monsters to protecting researchers from baddies, the side quests are a nice way to get more of the killer gameplay.

Fun Story: Although the door is always open for another DLC, the story here could stand up well until another game is released. You'd never think that just one more act could add so much to the game, but after a playthrough, you'll still have that glint in your eye. It’s enough to make you start from the beginning with the cool Crusader class.

Improved Loot System: In minutes your year from the last game will be useless and luckily you won't have to use the Auction House to get the best gear. Between the new adventure mode and improved loot system, you'll get what you need in no time.

The Bad:

Still Always Online: The fact that "Diablo 3" is still always online is a bit perplexing. Although multiplayer is a blast, there are plenty of people who prefer to escape to this world by themselves. Forcing them to have an online connection to play a game they've already paid for is a joke.

Slowdown: Due to the always-online nature of the game, you're sure to come across some slowdown, especially if you live in a home that uses a ton of bandwidth and especially of you're on public Wi-Fi.

Bottom Line: If you grew up on this series, the latest DLC won't let you down. If anything, it'll get you excited all over again.

Note: A download code of the game was provided to Examiner for review purposes.

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