Easter’s long weekend has given us a chunk of gameplay time to play with a friend. After some SWTOR and TSW however we quickly realised we were going to get a bit bored with playing the usual games so it was time for something new, just to mix it up. I rarely play Action RPGs (ARPGs); we did get Diablo 3 as part of the year’s subscription ‘deal’ by Blizzard but we only played through the base game’s story once before leaving it behind. Path of Exile was on my list of games to try though as I’ve read positive things about the game’s systems and grim setting.
The obligatory solo-intro section is brief and relatively straight forward – although it seems a little more challenging than I remember Diablo 3’s intro being. I felt compelled to kite mobs a little to avoid too many hitting me at once. Afterwards we we’re partied-up as a trio and have been ripping through the game’s content ever since. I play a Templar and am currently leaning towards spell-damage and support with totems. We also have a Duelist that is fast becoming the plate wearing tank with a slice of pyromania on the side. The third character is a ranger that focuses on “ever more arrow damage”, oh and she teleports around for the fun of it.
The passive skill tree is infamous from what I’ve read about the game on various blogs – it is enormous to put it simply. The active skills come not from leveling your character directly but from gems that you slot on your gear. That’s a rather interesting approach – skills don’t seem to be owned by a given class in this game, the classes are more an attribute bias coupled with certain styles of combat (e.g. a Templar is Strength+ Intelligence and either melee or spell combat). The two systems together vaguely remind me of The Secret World’s “build your own class” approach.
Beyond the complex yet satisfying seeming gear+skill gem+passive character progression system, the game offers the usual mix of trash mob smashing, boss fights and challenges. The story does seem to be pretty good actually, the game has the same “listen while you fight” feature that I appreciated in Diablo 3. If you’re listening to a voiced lore entry you can hear the remainder in the background while playing – so very useful when you are inevitably ambushed by wandering monsters while trying to pay attention! That’s well worth having as the voice acting overall is of a high standard.
We’ve just finished Act 1 after about nine hours of gaming and will certainly continue to play the game in the short-term. I doubt I’ll be interested in repeat play-throughs in the near future but, as with Shadowrun Chronicles, it’ll be a nice game to have in the roster for when we fancy rolling new characters for some monster-smashing and loot-explosion fun.
Happy Easter everyone!