Path of Exile Game Review

  • Gameplay
  • Combat
  • Graphics
  • PvP/PvE
  • Story

Alternate Title: PoE
Developer: Grinding Gear Games
Publisher: Grinding Gear Games
Type: MOARPG
Model: Free-to-play
Platform: PC
PvP: 1v1 Duels, Capture the Flag, A free-for-all Arena, The Cut-Throat race, Tournaments
PvE: Quests, Instances

Path of Exile Review - Is It Worth Playing?

I’ve played my fair share of MMOs and MMORPGs over the last 2 years of running the MMOByte Youtube channel.
I’ve had some terrible experiences and I’ve had some very memorable ones.
Interestingly, some of the most entertaining of experiences were not even in full-fledged MMOs at all, but rather in games like Warframe and Path of Exile.
And while they can be viewed as an MMO or an MMORPG because they both definitely have very noticeable elements or traits of the genre embedded inside the core of their gameplay – the fact remains that they’re not.. really.

Path of Exile is a free to play multiplayer online action role-playing game. So it’s an MORPG. Minus the initial M that would have made it an MMO. The game was developed and published both by Grinding Gear Games and went into Open Beta in 2013.
The game grew to such acclaim and popularity since its launch that it makes most MMO look like an offline game you play with a friend or two, averaging hundreds of thousands of concurrent players every day.
To put that into perspective, MapleStory 2, in less than three months has 10,000 to 20,000 players concurrently playing on average, and that is the biggest MMORPG release of 2018.

Now, to preface this, I do want to point out that I’m not – nor do I claim to be, someone that has played the game extensively. This isn’t a review – it’s an overview of the game I experienced over the first four or five hours with my wife, MrsStix.
There might be a mistake here or there and it’s almost a guarantee that there are things missing – such as endgame, because honestly.. I never made it that far although I do hope this video does well enough to warrant continued playing of the game for follow-ups.

Now, if you’ve played a Diablo game then Path of Exile will likely feel familiar to you. The game borrows very heavily from the Diablo series, in particular, Diablo II.
The entire world, outside of encampments is completely instanced off, meaning that you won’t see players that aren’t within your immediate party anywhere outside of those small camps.
This doesn’t mean the world feels empty though. Not only can players mingle amongst one another before going out into the field, it’s also possible to form parties with other players you’re engaging with and head out on missions together. This does include a modicum of danger, however, especially when your partner.. in my case, my loving wife, is too busy off looking at shinies on the ground to come over and help me when I am in dire need of her assistance.
Yup. She was too busy spamming left-click on all the items and beckoning the undead to do her bidding to come to the assistance of her husband.. who, admittedly, is running around pantsless and shoeless. Which could have also attributed to my.. untimely demise moments earlier.

Path of Exile has 6 unique classes. The Templar, the Shadow, the Marauder, the Ranger, the Duelist, and finally, the Witch.
Each class has their own unique playstyle, from hiding in the shadows, to commanding the undead, to.. well, smacking people with large objects.

The game also offers various modes referred to as “Leagues“. Standard, Betrayal, and Hardcore Betrayal. At least they’re the Leagues available right now – after the new Betrayal expansion hit the live server.
Leagues, essentially, represent individual game worlds that your player exists and plays through. You play alongside other players in the same league as you and cannot interact with anyone outside that specific league.

You begin your journey on a beach, having seemingly just washed ashore. You subsequently watch one of your shipmates get eaten right in front of you and.. well in my case, club the.. zombie? cannibal? to death.
After which begins a lengthy tutorial that you can skip, thankfully. I believe that’s actually a new feature as when I initially tried Path of Exile two years ago there was either no skip tutorial feature, or no tutorial all together.

Path of Exile employs a very interesting gearing and inventory system, both. Each piece of gear can have its quality upgraded, and can have unique “gems” placed within them so long as the colors match the socket they’re being placed into. This, in turn, provides new skills, passives and other beneficial buffs to the player. The inventory uses a grid-system that is very limiting, but not bad. It’s very reminiscent of old-school RPGs that had limited bag-space.. which admittedly I always had difficulty with.

Because I have bad inventory management.

As I mentioned earlier in the video, encampments are instanced off areas where hordes of players group, can interact, take and complete quests, buy, sell, and trade.

The skill system in Path of Exile, though.. I’ll admit, it’s very daunting at first glance but the amount of customization it provides is almost immeasurable. My Marauder, at least to begin with, could choose between going DPS or Tank.
I had to think carefully because each route opens up its own unique path with its own unique selection of boosts and bonuses. This allows players to customize quite a personal character, though – something I wish was more common in MMOs.

The vast majority of gameplay takes place in outdoor instanced areas. The first half hour my wife and I spent navigating the beach, massacring deadly crustaceans, skeletal archers, and.. yes, on occasion, even dying to them.
Especially when you don’t take enough notice of your HP.

You get gear in the game primarily through loot-drops. You kill monsters and equippable gear drops. You can equip quite a large selection of gear, especially during the early areas of the game, and this makes for some.. well, very, very difficult choices of what to keep.

From what I could tell – and please do correct me if I’m wrong here, there was actually a lack of an official, traditional currency in-game. By that I mean the game lacks gold, coin.. anything similar to that.
You’re capable of trading scrolls, crafting materials and various other items but a lack of a solid currency struck me as very strange. It would be significantly more difficult to discern the importance of an item without a solid currency like gold.
But it seems to work for Path of Exile so who am I to judge, right?

Path of Exile actually has various PvP modes: 1v1 Duels, Capture the Flag, A free-for-all Arena, The Cut-Throat race, and Tournaments. These modes are there to cater to a variety of different likes and dislikes.

The game, although seen mostly from an isometric point of view is very beautifully detailed. I honestly didn’t expect to see such beautiful environments in a game like this – and was taken a little aback every time I got to a new zone that had a new aesthetic to it.

Admittedly, the questing system in-game wasn’t bad. I’m sure it has the traditional “kill x amount of monsters” and “fetch x amount of items” subtypes in-game but from what I could tell, outside of the main-story, all other quest-types were avoidable and optional. I mean, that doesn’t mean that “kill x amount of monsters” is a bad quest to undertake, though. Especially not when this is the kind of destruction you get to enact onto your enemies. The sheer destructive force of our two classes is.. terrifying.

There were some very cool quests we opted to do though in the first several hours of leveling. Those took us from small little hidden caves to deep dungeons inhabited by cultists, cannibals and undead.

Then there were puzzles.. one of the most enjoyable aspects of the gaming genre all together for me. Granted, they weren’t anything too difficult, at least, not at this level, but having to maneuver around traps and puzzles made for an entertaining change of pace.

My wife found it slightly more difficult than I did, running head-first into the traps a few times but.. okay, maybe I did as well.

Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed my first several hours in Path of Exile.
I loved having the freedom to run where I pleased, unlocking different areas, ignoring regions all together. It was a thrill you don’t often get out of MMOs these days.
Everything about Path of Exile screams quality. A quality I have definitely not gotten enough of yet. A quality I wish other games, especially MMOs adopted.
Alas I don’t think they will. So if you want that sense of quality and you don’t want to play games like Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft, then you should definitely try Path of Exile out.
It’s tiers above your normal MMO and you likely won’t regret it.
If you want to see more gameplay and want me to continue my experience through Path of Exile, let me know and I’d love to acquiesce if the demand is high enough.

Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz / AMD Sempron 3600+
Video Card: Nvidia Geforce 6600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 3470
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB

Operating System: Windows 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 GHz / AMD Opteron 2218 or better
Video Card: Nvidia GT 240 / ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro or better
RAM: 2 GB or more
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB

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