Path of Exile is a huge part of my life, and for a very good reason, it’s an ever expanding game, with a strong development team, and a very passionate community.
This review will seem very personal, and that’s because it really is, Path of Exile has been a substantial part of my life, I’ve met so many amazing real life friends, as well as in-game friends, and I have Path of Exile to thank for that. The developers of this growing free to play game, Grinding Gear Games, have done an exceptional job on this ARPG since its release, and I’m even friends with some of the games developers! #humblebrag
Anyway, back to the review, Path of Exile is an ARPG (Action Role Playing Game) that has a very intricate and deep character development system, the skill tree is huge, and that’s what I personally love about PoE, I love theory crafting builds, its what I’ve been doing for the past 6,000 hours I've put into the game…no typo there, literally 6,000 hours of nothing but glorious fun, oh, what is life.
Path of Exile is set in the world of Wraeclast, which like in any other action game is host to many deadly enemies. Ranging from your standard cannibals, to your ancient civilization constructs and corrupted enemies you will certainly have your hands full. There are four “levels” of monsters that you can encounter, Normal, Magic, Rare and Unique, these levels or classes of enemies have different modifications, whether it is increased critical damage, or resistance to a certain element, many of these monsters can destroy you very quickly if you aren’t paying attention. Every new league (a new heavily modified server) comes with a new range of different enemies, and, from my experience, they’re pretty goddamn tough!
There isn’t that much story to Path of Exile, however, the world is full of lore, historical structures and text that many explorers of the game can’t help but listen to (because, they’re all voice acted!). I myself do not know much about the story, but I will give you a very barebones version of it. So, basically, you’re an exile who well, was forced to abandon a wonderous civilization due to your character breaking a host of laws which ends up turning the townsfolk against you. Skip ahead and you wake up on the shores of Wraeclast. You end up possessing special abilities that gives you the power to fight against an ancient presence looking to destroy the world, the head behind all this evil is Malachai and you're tasked with taking his head and stopping his dark ways.
There are 7 classes which you can choose from, each class has its own starting point in its shared skill tree, the amount of flexibility you have with the skill tree is ridiculous, you have so much freedom and flexibility that you can mix and match completely opposite classes to create new hybrids. Imagine a Witch that focuses on melee based attacks or a Marauder who is not only a tank but also adept at spell casting. I personally have made close to 100 builds, each slightly different from the rest with their own unique play style. The Grinding Gears development team deserve a massive high five due to their continued support of Path of Exile, they are constantly adding different skills, and unique weapons/armour, which keeps they players (like myself) coming back for more.
Thanks to the recent expansion pack “Ascendancy”, The 7 existing classes now have subclasses that each have huge bonuses in different fields, for example, a Templar who is built around totems, can summon additional totems thanks to the Ascendancy feature. Grinding Gear Games are adding more functionality for this feature, so, there will be more skill tree nodes to take.
There is no currency so to speak within PoE, but there are many orbs that you can use to craft or trade with others, for example, one orb changes a white (normal) item, into a yellow (rare) item, with random stats/mods. There are many possibilities that involve the crafting of orbs, some players choose to never trade, while others are only interested in trade. The market/economy of PoE is forever changing, so, if you do choose to play, make sure that you know how and what to trade as players and orb needs/wants switch regularly.
The combat is very simple yet rewarding, you can use a variety of skills and/or curses to weaken your enemy, to kill them much more efficiently, you can cast aura’s that buff you, and your friends (if you choose to play co-op with them). Something I find myself doing is taking the lazy route and summoning armies of zombies to do my bidding, it's a sight to behold while I watch the chaos take place from afar.The boss fights are somewhat atmospheric, each boss has its own little arena/area that suits their theme which keeps things feeling fresh and new, the weather and lighting effects throughout these diverse areas further enhance each battle.
Oh, that’s something else i really should mention that changes the dynamic of combat. Support Gems are gems that support Skill gems, for example, if you want increased Area of Effect on a spell, you can have it, as long as the skill is an Area of Effect based skill.
You know, for a game that i’ve spent a lot of hours playing, i cannot think of a lot to say… I guess the main point of this game is its character customization and theorycrafting aspect. Given how large and flexible the skill tree is, and the large variety of unique weapons/armour you can have, and the fact that there are a lot of skill, and support skill gems in this game, just should give you more of a reason to try it!
End game is quite good in this game, for end game, you basically run maps, which are tilesets that you can, in a way, summon a portal to, and it consists of mobs of enemies, and a boss, with a few treasures in between. There is also Atziri, the games only dungeon (at the moment), so, there is hundreds of hours to be played!
To conclude, this game is amazing, the only negative i can think of, is some questionable balancing changes, and the lack of optimization (although, it should be fixed very shortly)
4.5 out of 5
Path of Exile is a large part of my life, much like how League of Legends is a huge part of someone elses. Don’t be afraid to give PoE a shot. It really is an amazing game.