The open beta of this game had been previously reviewed here, and it was quite promising. Now that it has been fully released as a finished product, Grinding Gear Games seems to have come full circle with Path of Exile. However, it’s their ongoing development and support that makes this game a hit in the MMO world. We give this game one more look to see if it’s still what people say is “the game Diablo 3 should have been”.
Most of the things that have been stated in the review of the open beta remain mostly the same in this release version. The major things that made Path of Exile good are still there, but there are now more features to make it even better. For instance, Path of Exile is now available on Steam, so you can have the benefits of Steam integration like automatic patch downloads, being able to interact with Steam friends in the game, and many more. If you use Steam for acquiring and playing your games, then this feature should be great for you.
You still get the dark and ominous setting of Wraeclast with all the evolving maps and variety of enemies, extensive character customization options, hack-and-slash action RPG gameplay similar to that of Diablo and Torchlight and backed up by a complex system, the huge skill tree, unique currency system, and so on. There are also other additions like new items, new active skill and support gems, new hardcore leagues and events, and many others that will keep the game interesting in the long run. For this release version though, it’s all about polish and convenience.
One of the most prominent additions in this release is the new prestige class, the Scion. She is a daughter of the nobility who kills her husband on their wedding night, which gets her exiled to Wraeclast. After being bound by her birthright, she is now free to fulfill her true potential, which is nigh limitless due to her versatility and use of Strength, Dexterity, and Vitality as her primary stats all at the same time. This class is not for beginners, which is why it has to be unlocked by completing normal mode with any other class. By the time you are able to unlock the Scion, you would have learned enough about the game to be able to play that class properly.
Perhaps that’s the one big flaw about this game, which is how intimidating it can get for beginners, especially those who have not really played a lot of online RPGs. Gamers who have played a bit of Diablo or Torchlight before is perhaps the category that fits the minimum requirement for picking this game up, even though it does do well enough in teaching new players about its mechanics. Another thing is how the player-versus-player part of this game does still need to be worked on. Perhaps implementation of more PvP features will come in the foreseeable future. Right now though, if you’re into challenging other players, then you’ll find the current system to be a bit rudimentary since Grinding Gear Games has seemed to focus more on the other aspects of the game before this one.
However, those flaws are offset by the best thing about Path of Exile’s final release, which is that it remains free-to-play. To think that such a feature-filled online role-playing game could still be made available for free and open to just about anyone who is interested to play it is quite astounding, even in this day and age when other free-to-play games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 are incredibly popular all over the world. What Path of Exile has over the other F2P titles is what Grinding Gear Games calls ethical microtransactions, which just shows how much they care about the people who play this game and how they don’t want to take money through just any conventional way that other developers and publishers normally
Perhaps it’s not right to see this game as a World of Warcraft killer because that’s not what it was made for. This game is for MMORPG connoisseurs who want to see something different and have more meaning behind every mouse click aside. With continuing support and a very active online community, this game should make you feel at home if you are after the same kind of experience that World of Warcraft players rave about, but want something that fans say is more progressive and substantial.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8.5/10