Having only just entered open beta testing, Path of Exile is another online game that has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the community. Players clubbed together to raise over $1 million to make the dreams of Path of Exile a reality; and that time has finally arrived. Hailed by many as the Diablo 3 equivalent of the free-to-play world Path of Exile is an action RPG that promises to deliver intense combat, highly detailed environments and deep character progression.
Path of Exile wastes no time in giving first impressions as players are greeted with a very unique character creation system. You're aboard an unknown vessel, exiled from your homeland with little more than the clothes on your back. You can select from a variety of classes including Marauder, Witch, Templar, Duelist, Shadow and Ranger, each conforming to a typical MMORPG archetype.
The game continues to impress once you load into the beautifully rendered game world. For a free-to-play game Path of Exile really does look amazing; from the gentle waves caressing the shorelines to the hordes of undead that want to ravage your body parts, everything looks crisp. The high quality graphics continue into practically every other area of the game, from the equipment and items your character uses to the NPC's and surrounding villages.
Despite the fact the game world looks amazing the beginning experience can feel a little lackluster when compared to the rest of the game. You'll find yourself mashing your left mouse button until you learn new abilities, but you can pick these up within the first 30 minutes of play; that's if you can find a weapon compatible with your ability. As this is a new player experience review I didn't really get far enough to experience any abilities as the first ability I found didn't work with any of the available weapons.
The real strength in Path of Exile lays with the class and leveling system. Although all players must choose their base class, the potential for each is almost limitless. Using a freedom-based leveling mechanic players are free to spend their leveling points in any way they choose. This can be defining the predefined strengths of your class, strengthening its weaknesses or even branching out into stats and effects offered to the other classes. I've played a lot of online titles but very few offer the innovation and depth provided by the leveling system in Path of Exile.
The beginning of the game hosts a variety of other features including the ability to group easily via message boards in town, and the option of changing the difficulty of quests to reap better rewards. As with all our initial reviews here at XMMORPG, the below opinion is based on a new player experience and does not reflect the end-game content or any features that a new player would not experience in their first 30 minutes of play
- High quality graphics
- Action RPG mechanics perfected
- Innovative sphere-grid like leveling system
- Huge variety of items
- Supports group play
- Combat can feel lackluster at the start
- Several crashes during video recording
- Minimal item space