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By Leif Johnson
I flinched as a white pufferfish man attacked me by hurling blood, and it wasn't even its own. Moments before, it had sprinted past me to lớn munch on a pile of zombie corpses I'd left in my wake, and then it came baông chồng to lớn drown me in their entrails. I'd seen hints of it before, but this grotesque creature và its legion of cohorts served as the first definitive sầu indicator that I was venturing inlớn far darker territory than I'd seen in other contemporary action-RPGs like Diablo III & Torchlight 2. I realized then, too, that I wished khổng lồ kết thúc the existence of such vile things, và I was pleased to lớn find that Path of Exile usually made it fun lớn vì so.

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Had I not looked it up, I'm not sure I could have sầu told you where all this was taking place. Path of Exile has an overarching story, but its lush graphics and grisly combat overshadow it so thoroughly that you'll only piông xã it up by paying cthua thảm attention to lớn quest givers và lore objects. This is Wraeclast, a dumping ground of sorts for criminals và other unsavory types, namely the seven unfortunately gender-locked starter classes you see trapped on a prison ship on the title screen. (I lượt thích khổng lồ think of it as Robert E. Howard's take on Australia.) Even so, key moments manage lớn assert themselves. The voice acting is up lớn par, và one interlude that plunges the otherwise sunny world into darkness seems lượt thích a delightfully cheeky rebuke to players who click on objects without bothering khổng lồ learn about their sewansturman.comificance first.

Many, I suspect, will vị so anyway. Combat is rightly king here, và Path of Exile captures the spirit of the early days of the ARPG through the primal pleasures of carving through swarms of enemies with the help of the left, right, & middle mouse buttons. Most of the time it plays like a spiritual successor to Diablo II, shunning much in the way combat innovation in favor of the thrill of wading through piles of loot so thichồng that you'll have sầu lớn turn off thành phầm names khổng lồ see the enemies. Visually, it's at its best when you venture inkhổng lồ damp ruins and caverns under the weak guidance of what looks like a lone warehouse lamp; it's at its worst in the way your character appears khổng lồ be wearing dumpster couture for most of the leveling path.

Its innovations lie elsewhere. You'll find them partly in the way it handles its abilities, in that it dispenses them in the size of socketable gems that drop from monsters or as occasional quest rewards. Such a system grants meaning to lớn the torrent of loot by forcing you to match abilities with correctly colored sockets, with the upshot that you could find yourself conflicted about using an otherwise-awesome axe cộ if it doesn't have sầu enough red slots to lớn allow you khổng lồ use all seven of your active abilities. It's seldom a problem, however, since materials for orbs that convert comtháng items into lớn rares or rearrange the color of an item's sockets drop almost as frequently as the loot itself.

If there is a problem, it's that even novice dungeon crawlers will likely find both of the first two difficulty modes in the "Standard" league too easy. My opening hour may have sầu been fraught with moments when I was afraid to lớn take on more than two enemies at a time, but by the second of the three acts, I was slashing my way through minibosses with the same savage abandon I meted out lớn the rabble. I can't say it wasn't fun; Path of Exile's animations may laông xã the fluidity you'll find in Diablo III, but they bởi vì much lớn remedy that shortcoming with copious blood & sound thiết kế that deftly evokes the shattering of giant arachnid carapaces.

In time, however, the ease of combat betrayed the simplithành phố of its flow. With only a few exceptions (& a memorable final boss fight), Path of Exile's battle strategy consists of little more than beating baông xã swarms who threaten to lớn overwhelm you. The trùm fights that round off each of the three acts struck some caution in me for a while until I realized I could toss up a portal khổng lồ town - và thus the respawn point – before even leaping inkhổng lồ battle.

In fact, the greatest foe in Path of Exile is not a beast of the dark or of the dungeons, but rather the lingering desynchronization issues that sometimes trigger potentially lethal blows long after you thought you were in the clear. Their rarity in the Standard league renders them mere annoyances, but they're infuriating in the Hardcore league that forces you khổng lồ face Wraeclast's horrors with only one life.

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I've tried to convince myself that what I see as the ease of Path of Exile springs merely from the smart placement of my passive skills. This skill tree is a sprawling, intimidating beast, and it looks somewhat lượt thích a circuit board when zoomed out. It's here where developer Grinding Gear Games best reveals that it cares little for modern talk of accessibility and streamlining, và that labyrinthine setup does allow for some fascinating builds.

Seven starter classes are but starting points on the grid, & given enough time and experience points, even the wispy Witch could over up swinging two-handed axes with all the force of the hulking Marauder. Beat the chiến dịch for the first time và you'll also unlochồng the Scion, who can freely snake out from the center of the grid as she pleases. As great as all that may sound, it's also unforgiving, as there's no way lớn remix the entire tree aside from rare one-point refunds you'll occasionally find through side quests. If you botched your leveling path, you're essentially stuchồng with it.

Then again, Path of Exile's smart multiplayer kiến thiết means that you could just ask for help. You'll find other players in the hubs picking up quests và bartering items with vendors, & you'll see them clogging the trade channel with offers for weapons that'll be out of reach for days lớn come. That, in fact, seems lớn be why they're around, as Path of Exile boasts a unique bartering economy that fits its castaway milieu. Gone is the staggering inflation you find in games that rely on gold và auction houses; in their place, I found players asking for what they actually needed, chiefly in the form of the aforementioned orbs that alter an item's qualities.

It's also easy enough lớn bring others along on adventures through the notice boards in town, but even in my character's late 30s I felt no need to encác mục help. Instead, Path of Exile finds other ways khổng lồ employ the folks around you. You could battle them in PvPhường, for instance, but you only have a small window khổng lồ sample it in the 20s before the option's unlocked again two playthroughs later on the Merciless difficulty. Even then, leaving town breaks the agonizingly long queues, và battle itself involves laughably imbalanced matches on trương mục of the skill system.

It's more fun to scrounge with others for the lootable new maps that serve sầu as endgame nội dung past cấp độ 60, or khổng lồ participate in leaderboards for "leagues" with their own rulesets that refresh every four months (và retire the associated characters to lớn the normal, "Standard" league). Still, it's hard to lớn escape the impression that you're just performing the same grind in different settings & under different circumstances, but Grinding Gears' desewansturman.com ensures that such a thiết lập is usually fun.

It all works so well, in fact, that I'm still reeling from the knowledge that Path of Exile offers all this for không tính phí. Forget about experience boosts và skill resets; the usual suspects for microtransactions just don't exist here. What you'll find instead are offers for fluff such as dances and companion pets, revealing a desewansturman.com that clearly hopes players will donate cash out of appreciation for playing a game that's as good as a $60 off-the-shelf adventure for free. As it is, I admit I felt a little dirty while playing Path of Exile at times, almost as if I'd pirated it.

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Verdict

Path of Exile successfully captures the spirit of older action RPGs & updates it for an experience that"s as visually appealing as it"s fun. The combat itself doesn"t differ much from other examples in the genre, but Path of Exile distinguishes itself with a chất lượng ability system based on gems & a labyrinthine passive skill system that permits the creation of almost any type of character. Leaderboards, PvPhường options, and lootable challenge maps spice up the higher level content, và an unusual bartering system staves off inflation in its multiplayer aspects. Best of all, it"s free almost khổng lồ a fault, revealing a compelling alternative sầu path for free-to-play projects lớn come.


Chuyên mục: Thủ thuật game