21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The BEST of the Hack and Slash Games,
This review is from: Path of Exile [Download] (Software Download)
Path of Exile is the absolute best of all the hack and slash games out there right now... and it's completely free!
First of all, this is the best kind of free. The only things being sold do not affect gameplay at all. You can buy some alternate art for some weapons/armor/skills or a dance animation for your characters. You don't need to spend a dime to play the entire game forever (but once you realize how awesome it is you will want to give Grinding Gear Games your money anyway).
As far as the gameplay itself... it has the most incredible skill system I've ever seen. Every skill is on a gem that you socket into your equipment. This means any class can use any skill. On top of that you can link support gems to skill gems to modify the skill. For example, you can cast a fireball with a fireball skill gem and it will shoot out one fireball that explodes for area damage. You can support it with Greater Multiple Projectiles to shoot a spread of 5 fireballs that all explode for area damage. You could alternately support it with Fork so that you shoot a fireball that splits into 2 fireballs when it hits an enemy. You could combine all 3 to shoot a spread of 5 fireballs that all split into 2 fireballs when they hit an enemy... That's just a small example, there are dozens of skills that can be combined in all kinds of ways!
On top of that you have a giant passive skill tree (about 1350 passives) that let you customize your characters in any way you want. This includes anything from the simple +10 Strength up to the keystone passives that have drastic effects on your character (such as Blood Magic which removes the need for mana and makes all of your skills cost life to use instead). Building a character in this game is incredibly fun and offers a ton of options.
One of my favorite things is the race system. Several times a day there are races in which players create new characters and have typically an hour or so (races range from 12 minutes to 1 week with 1 hour being the most common) to reach the highest level they can. Players earn points based on the level they achieve with bonus points awarded to those in the top 20 overall/within their class or for being the first to complete specific objectives like the first to kill certain bosses. The points accumulate over a full season (about 2 months) and earn you Unique items as rewards.
The final thing I'll mention is that there is no money/gold in the game. There are currency items that you use for buying/selling/trading. These items all have different uses ranging from identifying items to modifying the stats on items to changing sockets on items and more. It's a very interesting way of handling currency in a game.
If you enjoy hack and slash games at all, you owe it to yourself to play Path of Exile.