Last year saw the release of two widely anticipated Action RPGs, Dungeon Crawlers, or whatever you want to call then with Diablo III and Torchlight 2. While I’ve written about both games and feel that each has their own unique ups and downs, to me Torchlight 2 was the better experience simply because it brought so much to the table at such a fair price. But it’s a new year and with it has come the release of a new dungeon crawler, Path of Exile, which is sporting the fairest price of all – free. The game is using microtransactions, selling “in-game perks and aesthetic upgrades” in order to keep the game free for everyone. I guess the question is whether or not the games loses anything compared to other similar games that come with a price tag like Torchlight 2 or its more expensive cousin Diablo III. So far the answer is a resounding no, Path of Exile, so far, is as robust as it’s more expensive counterparts.
I haven’t spent nearly as much time with Path of Exile (PoE) as I have with Diablo III or Torchlight 2. Still, even from my fairly limited view of the game, there’s much more depth and customization in PoE than both of the other two combined. The game’s skill tree allows for much more varied character growth, giving players complete control as to how they wish to strengthen their characters. It’s a lot like Final Fantasy X, where each skill point put you on a path towards other more potent abilities. Players can choose to focus on more than one path, but the bread and butter abilities, the ones that really shine, will take longer to acquire.
It’s also really dark. There will be no complaints about PoE being too bright or colorful. Everything feels cold and wet, I supposed that’s the point, and there’s none of the cutesiness that exists in the other two. So far everything feels pretty dark and hopeless which being the poor exiled soul I am makes sense.
There are six classes, each of which with their own abilities and styles. While all of the characters occupy the same skill tree, each one begins in their own unique area. Technically I could teach my Witch how to wear heavy armor and wield axes, but it would take so many points to get there it wouldn’t be prudent. It does however allow for a lot more hybrid mixing of classes, giving players the freedom to spec into whatever abilities they wish to use on whatever class.
So far it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience. The fact that it’s free has in no way detracted from any part of the game, at least none that I can see. Head on over to their website and sign up, it’s a pretty long install, but past that I can’t think of a reason not to give it a shot.