Have you ever felt like the days of good hack’n’slay titles are over? Were you fed up with how the third installment of the Diablo franchise turned out? If you answered one of these questions with yes, then you know how we here at sevengames.com felt... until we stumbled upon a little indie game called Path of Exile. The free-to-play title has been released for quite some time now, so we decided to see what the fuss was all about and give it a try ourselves. This review is by no means our way of giving the game a final rating, as we are well aware that it is still being worked on and that it is more than likely that it will see a couple of new content updates in its time.
More Than Meets the Eye - 7 Classes, 1350 Talents
Much to our surprise there’s no lenghty tutorial for us to go through. Once we log in, we’re good to go: We find our very first weapon on the remains of a poor soul that has died on the shores and start killing zombies right away. We’ve heard that Path of Exile was known for its eerie atmosphere, but boy, is it eerie! Everything’s just what we expect from a horror action RPG: We're presented with gloomy caverns, creepy monsters and dangerous quests that feel as if we are actually making the world a better place.
Speaking of abilities: Obtaining certain skills is handled very differently in Path of Exile. For our character to cast things, we need the respective gem and put them into an item that we currently have equipped. Then, they gain experience and level up just like our character. That way, we’re allowed to even use special attacks that would only be available to other class stereotypes in similar games. Melee warriors casting fireballs and freezing their enemies in place with icy attacks? But of course. A witch duel-wielding two sharp weapons? Yes, please! But enough numbers and theoretical talk; upwards and onwards with the hacking and slashing, we say.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Here We Come!
Take a boss fight, for instance: Do we focus on the main target first and only kill the other pesky monsters when we need our elixirs to refresh? That choice is entirely up to us. While the missions offered to us within Act I are not particularly challenging, it doesn’t take long before we seriously need to consider how to go about the task at hand. And that’s a good thing!