I'm a huge Diablo 2 fan, I've played that game countless times with different characters because I just loved the character building. Naturally, Diablo 3 was a no brainer for me to get last yea but it did not scratch that Diablo 2 itch. A great game in its own right, but not the sequel we were expecting. Then there comes Path of Exile, a Free-To-Play Action RPG that comes out of nowhere and has become the answer to satisfy hardcore Diablo fans. It's now on open beta and I'm loving every minute of it.
Is it a Diablo clone? Not even close. Grinding Gear Games threw in a couple of unique features and game mechanics to set it apart from all the other action RPG's out there while retaining the addictive nature we love out of games like this.
There's a lot of new concepts in this game that it actually takes time to get your bearings. Like for the example the passive skill tree. I've spent a good amount of time with this game already and I still feel like I'm nowhere close to understanding what each node in the tree does, and the possibilities of builds for each class is quite a hand full. You need to take your time with Path of Exile, plan it out, when you get an idea on what build or gear you would like to work on, the addiction takes over.
Path of Exile has three acts in total(third act was just implemented for Open beta) and has a good amount of content for a Free-To-Play title. Visually, the game doesn't look appealing at all at this point. The enviroment is bleak, the atmosphere is dark, and the character models is nothing compared to games like Torchlight 2 or Diablo 3, but don't let that shy yourself away from this game, it's the gameplay that you should be looking at among everything else.
You have complete freedom in developing your Path of Exile character. Not only does the massive passive skill tree provides a good amount of viable builds for each of the six classes in the game, the skills you have and of course the gear you wear can all be fixed to your liking.
Skills in the game come in a form of skill gems. In order to use that specific skill gem, you will need to attach it in the right color slot in your gear in order to use it. That alone gives all classes the ability to use any skill in the game. This is a game mechanic hardly seen in games and is very similar to the materia system in Final Fantasy 7 if you guys recall that amazing game.
There's so much to talk about in this game that it's hard to put everything in one post. The ability to upgrade normal items into a random rare, the ladder system, the potion system, the simple pvp, and a barter system that replaced currency (trade an item for another, even with NPCs). What I noticed after playing Path of Exile during closed beta and seeing the improvements done when the open beta started is that Grinding Gear Games is definitely on the right track in creating an addicting Action RPG that would make players play for hours and hours on end. This reminded me very well in my Diablo 2 days and that I want games like these to feel like; Picking a build, leveling him up while going through three difficulty levels, and climbing up the leaderboards for a bit of competition. Then, start over again with something completely different. The gameplay is deep enough that the replay value is high enough for players to stay invested in this game for years to come.
Should I try it?
You definitely should if you appreciate games like Torchlight and more importantly, Diablo 2. The developers goal with this game is to provide a deep character progression and a unique experience for the hardcore players in this genre. Don't expect a compelling story, don't expect a visually stunning video game, expect this to be an action RPG that would draw you in with its complex game mechanics and well designed gameplay. If you like hunting for the best gear the game has to offer for your character and if you want a game that is easily replayable over and over, this will do the trick. It's free to play so there's nothing to lose really. I urge you guys to give it a try, you will not be disappointed. The game is just in Open Beta and I can't wait for the further improvements and additions they will make in the coming months. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to work on my next Ranger character.
You can create your Path of Exile account by clicking on this link. Once your registering, you can start downloading the game client.