One to Watch: Path of Exile
by Words and Chaos
Path of Exile is indie developer, Grinding Gear Games’ grimdark Action RPG. Set on the continent of Wraeclast, you play – as you might expect – an exile. There are seven in total, each with their individual stories and strengths.
What sets Path of Exile apart from other ARPGs is the scale of the character building potential. If you’re the type of person that loved experimenting with new build ideas in games like Diablo II, you will not find a better game for in-depth build customization.
Gone are the typical pre-set ‘hit a level and gain an ability’ mechanics. Gone is the long slog down a semi-linear tree, so widely present in ARPGs for decades. Path of Exile’s skill gem system widens, drastically, the kinds of ability combinations and skills that a character can use. Nor is the tree a set of linear paths, but instead presents a wide web of nodes that can be shared and crossed over between classes. ‘Experiment as much as you want! Be innovative!’ says Grinding Gear Games. Did you want to play a Marauder with a wand, who summons zombies? Go ahead. Did you want a berserker Witch, carving through enemies with a poleaxe? Go ahead. Did you want to be a holy warrior with a passion for drinking blood and setting people on fire? Go ahead.
And finally, Grinding Gear Games has gone the extra mile by releasing the game as a free digital download. A game that is widely considered to be what Blizzard’s Diablo III should have been, is going for free. More than that, it’s not pay-to-win. There’s a cosmetic item shop and few add-ons, but none of the essentials have been chopped out of the game. You can’t buy power.
If you have any interest in Action RPGs, and are looking for something new, you really should check this one out. A word of warning: it may consume vast chunks of your time.