Path of Exile is coming to PlayStation 4 this December. That’s pretty big news for an absolutely massive game. The free-to-play action-RPG is so far only available on Xbox One and PC.
The announcement comes just days after an eruption of nerd rage at the announcement of Diablo Immortal. Diablo and Path of Exile are awfully similar games. So this might slake certain fans’ thirst for a theoretical (but absolutely inevitable) Diablo 4. That’s assuming they don’t already play Path of Exile elsewhere. The game had something like 13 million players at last count.
I personally tried it for the first time on Xbox One about a week ago. And it’s certainly… big. The skill tree looks like a parody of skill trees. It’s a continent of interwoven abilities that you can mix-and-match with different attributes, similar to the Magicka series. Standard fireballs become bouncy waves of fiery destruction and so on. I can certainly see people getting invested in the game for a long, long time.
But it still lacks some of the polish a mega-studio like Blizzard can throw at a game, though. Path of Exile’s wall of tiny, text-based tutorials immediately confused me. It got so bad that I actually got stuck in the starting zone.
A big, transparent wall locked me into a tiny location and wouldn’t let me go to the next objective. Turns out I closed an on-screen prompt to socket a specific sort of gem into my gear without realizing it. I needed to do so before the barrier would let me pass. My quest objective failed to mention this, so I had to Google the problem to progress.
I get a similar vibe from Path of Exile as I do from Warframe—another quietly popular free-to-play loot game. I’ve played Warframe for years. All of its bizarre intricacies feel like second nature to me at this point. But my friends always complain about the same thing: it’s just too complicated for someone who’s never played before.
So I’m curious how this new influx of players will take to Path of Exile. The PS4 announcement doesn’t mention cross-play and the developers at Grinding Gear Games say they don’t plan to add it. So there won’t be a built-in base of veterans ready to guide new players. Although I’m sure some PC and even Xbox-ers will try out the new version.
And if you do jump to PS4, you won’t lose out on content. The new version “will also include Grinding Gear’s largest expansion of 2018, also planned for release on other systems in December 2018.” That’s quite nice.
I’m already having a great time with Diablo 3 on Switch, but who knows? Maybe I’ll be ready to try Path of Exile again come December.