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Path of Exile 2 is ready to go head-to-head with Diablo 4

Woman in robe and staff in Path of Exile 2 casting fire spell
Grinding Gear Games
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

It didn’t take long for Path of Exile 2 to catch my attention during my 30-minute Summer Game Fest demo. The action RPG opens with five classes standing side by side in handcuffs and with nooses around their necks. They stand on a rickety ship with rain pouring over them. It’s a spectacle. I was soon prompted to select a character. I went with the Witch, as she seemed like a more straightforward, offensive magic user than the Sorceress. Once I locked her in as my choice, all the other captives were put to death, and I somehow escaped thanks to a loose board in the ship.

It’s one hell of a start, and one that sucked me in to the world of Path of Exile 2 before it could even introduced its layered combat and deep abilities.

Path of Exile 2 is an ARPG similar to Diablo 4, but set in a very different dark fantasy world with its own priorities. It’s a top-down real-time action RPG where players fight cursed creatures across the continent of Wraeclast, unlock new abilities and gear to grow stronger, and learn more about the world as they go.

Path of Exile 2: Witch Gameplay Walkthrough

As the Witch, I cast fireballs from afar before wolfish hounds could pounce on me, dodging when they got too close. Eventually, I earned enough experience to unlock other skills like an electric spell that cast a wide spray of bullets and a wall of fire that damaged enemies as they walked through the flames. These were skills I unlocked on my own without an advanced build of the game, which hints at a satisfying progression system where it doesn’t take too long to unlock new abilities, find new quests or gear, and discover other tidbits to keep yourself entertained throughout the six-act campaign.

Path of Exile 2‘s world (like its trailers indicate) paints a dark portrait of people struggling to survive a demonic onslaught of creatures from who knows where. The small town I came across didn’t have much going on, but each NPC offered quick bits of dialogue that gave context to the world and offered quests for me to complete after I escaped my captors. While I didn’t get to explore as much as I’d like, the combat and rewards I encountered along the way to the next plot point made it feel like I wasn’t in a rush to unravel all of its mysteries at once.

It lacks the personality I’m used to from my favorite free-to-play RPGs like Honkai: Star Rail, but the aesthetic is so different that I can’t help but suspect there’s more to see past the 30-minute mark. Path of Exile 2 will feature a six-act campaign with a hearty endgame for players who enjoy min-maxing their characters. I only got access to the opening chapter, so I’ll have to wait to play later sections before passing too many judgments. For now, it seems like a robust free-to-play RPG for players who missed the Diablo 4 wave or want a new action-packed, dark fantasy experience.

Path of Exile 2 is coming to PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5.

Jess Reyes
Jessica Reyes is a freelance writer who specializes in anime-centric and trending topics. Her work can be found in Looper…
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