Path Of Exile Is Not Just Another Diablo Clone

Path of Exile is a free to play, massively multi-player, Action RPG. Path of Exile bears resemblance to other games of its genre, like Diablo and Torchlight.

Recent addition to the traditional ARPG genre, Path of Exile has won over a bunch of hardcore fans with its formidably deep character development system.

Sure, its setting is a little grim, and it lacks the polish and distinctive style that a Switch audience might expect. But for pure hacky-looty depth, it's a winner.

Character development

Much ado has been made over Path of Exile's talent web, and while it's not really the second coming of skill trees and does frequently represent merely minor incremental improvements to stats, it's still an MMO marvel and fun to play around in. I'm a particular fan of the clever implementation of easily swappable socketed gems as a means to equip skills on your character.

Potion

Every Path of Exile character gets a belt where she can store potions. No big deal, right? The impressive bit here is the implementation. Empty flasks of varying sizes and for varying purposes (like health or speed) drop from mobs and serve as quest rewards throughout the game. Just equip the flasks, stab monsters in the face, and watch your potions refill as you go. No extra drops. No stacks taking up space in your bag. It's old-school, it's slick, and if you imagine that you're filling your vials with your enemies' essence and/or blood, it's FDA-certified organic.

Bartering

What was the last game you played that didn't have a basic PoE currency? As an economy junkie, I didn't think it would work in a dungeon-romper like Path of Exile, but it's a surprisingly fluid system. Instead of exchanging items for money, players trade for goods with enhancements and scrolls, even from NPCs. Sure, it's a little weird to be trading scrolls of wisdom (identification clickies) for weapons, but at least the game's avoiding a formal RMT market. Still, I'm coining "scrollcreep" and "scrollflation" to be safe.

Lighting

There are zones in the game where the sunlight hits the scenery from the side and lights up the water and trees like some glittering dawn. It's really pretty, even if it is incongruous in an isometric game that's otherwise mostly about gothic gore.

Cash shop

And this is not even a joke with a punchline lying in wait at the end. The cash shop is truly one of the least offensive I've ever toured, owing at least in part to the limited nature of the game, but hey, props to GGG anyway. Stash tabs are pretty cheap, and there's a ridiculous number of cosmetics - like pets, animations, and special effects - to buy, plus a luxury $1000 option to commission a custom weapon designed just for you. It's absolutely not pay-to-win; if anything, the game's not demanding quite enough from those folks who can manage to cope without a dance emote and blue fire spells. Still, there's a lot of angry chatter from players upset over the studio's decision to charge guilds for adding members.