When I heard that Path of Exile, a Diablo-like, action RPG was coming to Xbox One, I was elated. Then I discovered it was going to be free-to-play, and my excitement deflated like a balloon pricked with a carving knife.
You see, I’ve been ignorant. Prior to Path of Exile‘s announcement for Xbox One, I’d been aware of the title but I’d never played it, let alone seen what it’s all about. Years of free-to-play games being anything but made the mere sight of the words akin to someone putting their sweaty feet forcefully inside my mouth. Still, I had an Xbox One Beta code sitting in front of me, and I really like Diablo, so I thought what the heck? Let’s give it a go. And I’m mightily glad that I did.
Path of Exile isn’t so much a free-to-play game, rather a game that’s just free. There at no pops up asking you to BUY THIS GREAT PIECE OF CONTENT, NOW! Or at least not that I’ve seen, anyway. Path of Exile just lets you boot the game up, create a character and then head off on a merry adventure full of quests, loot and murder. And I have to admit, I love those three things, especially when combined.
It’s not as accessible as the big hitter, Diablo 3 on console – Path of Exile is an action RPG that was built for PC gamers first and foremost, and it shows – but after an hour or so things begin to fall into place. I can see inventory management being a pain for the foreseeable though. There’s a reason why Diablo 3 did away with its square based pack system in favour of a flat 60 item limit for console players; it allows you to just get on with things rather than having to stop every time you find some decent loot, painstakingly moving items around a rectangular grid like some kind of medieval warfare-based sliding block puzzle.
Aside from that little bug-bear, however, Path of Exile is a delight if games like Diablo are your thing. Loot is handily colour coded so you have an instant indication of whether it’s worthwhile you picking it up or not, there’s a nice amount of enemy variety, character development has a great deal of depth, and there are quests aplenty to be discovered and completed. The game’s skill system is delightfully unusual too, with new abilities imparted to you by equipping gems into your equipment. I can find myself getting lost in Path of Exile‘s world upon its full release, and I’m looking forward to it.
I have to mention how beautiful Path of Exile looks too. Technically, it kicks Diablo 3 to the kerb, featuring much more detailed environments and character models alongside more realistic lighting. And what’s more, the framerate doesn’t seem to encounter any difficulties while the eye-candy is being thrown at you. Granted, enemy density is somewhat lower than that of Diablo 3, but it’s still impressive.
You’d be wise then, to jump on Path of Exile when it launches on Xbox One later this month. Though, if you’ve got a PC, you could avoid the wait and jump on that version right now. Not literally however, I’m speaking metaphorically – GameSpew will not be held responsible if you knacker up your PC or Xbox One by jumping on it like a loon. No, just sit down in front of your platform of choice, give Path of Exile a download, and simply enjoy. It’s free, it’s got a shedload of features and it’s fun, what more could you want?