Friday, October 25, 2013

Wonderful carnage

Diablo 3 made a few changes, perhaps console conceits, that I wish were featured in Path of Exile. For starters I miss playing this kind of game on a controller. It brought an immediacy to how the game felt and made recovering from panic situations a bit easier. For example, I know where all the button on an Xbox controller are without looking down at my hands. I can also touch type. But in the heat of the moment when I need to hit 1 for a health potion and end up hitting Q, casting my exploding corpses spell instead, I feel a little too far out of my comfort zone. This was never an issue in Torchlight II because I never accumulated enough abilities to make this mistake. Path of Exile has enough different and interesting skills that I want to get them all in. Double strike - single attack - corpse explosion - cleave works great for crown control but it hurts my hand.

It is not always easy to tell which of two pieces of similar equipment is better. Gem socket color is part of that but there are also separate stats for armor and evasion. Some armor has both, other only offer one but it difficult to compare them. In Diablo 3 I knew if I would equip the item before I even picked it up, Path of Exile forces me into two different menus just to see if I want to keep it in my limited inventory to sell later. It's definitely old school and not necessarily in a good way.

All of this is forgiven for one reason: corpse permanence. Think way back to Doom. How satisfying was it to walk back through a level and see the pile of bodies you created? If I remember correctly Diablos 1 and 2 did this, as did Titan Quest, but most other action RPGs do not. Path of Exile keeps your level instance intact for as long as you are using it. This means that I can clean a level out, portal back to town, and all the carnage I had wrought is still there. It would be even nicer if the bodies interacted with my character and environment but it is also nice that the game runs just fine on my crappy system.

Path of Exile should not be free. I hope the developers have found a way to make money from this, they certainly deserve it.

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