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Path of Exile
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Path of Exile is a downloadable online single player or co-op multiplayer action role-playing game (RPG) characterized by dark nightmare-scapes and graphic violence. Players explore a dangerous world where they engage in constant combat, killing both men and grotesque monsters using swords, axes, bows, and elemental magic. When killed, heroes simply vanish and respawn in a preset location, but the monsters and people whom the heroes kill are shown bleeding and burning as well as being electrocuted and dismembered. There's no bad language, but sections of the game feature lakes of blood and naked or half-naked humanoid enemies wearing S&M-style gear. Multiplayer gameplay is unmoderated, potentially exposing players to inappropriate content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In PATH OF EXILE, players are thrown into a penal colony after being exiled from their home country. There, they must join with other exiles and fight almost nonstop to survive. Along the way, they discover remnants of an ancient culture called the Vaal, a culture characterized by magical technology and human sacrifice. They also find themselves in the middle of a war among rival bandit factions and absorbed into the schemes of a powerful Templar and his terrifying minions.
Is it any good?
As a descendant of the legendary RPG Diablo II, this adventure has that game's tension and colorfully grim aesthetic but builds on those elements with its own brand of hard-core, ultraviolent play and massive skill-progression overkill. Though its bloody sadism could be too much for younger gamers, older ones are bound to enjoy its randomly generated, danger-filled dungeons. Tossed into the embattled region of Wraeclast, players must learn to fight off bandits, mutated monsters, wildlife, and legions of the undead while finding a way to fit in with established settlements. Players can adventure alone or cooperatively and can access an in-game chat system as well as a set of integrated Twitch streaming tools. The main objectives are to kill, loot dead bodies, and barter whatever valuables you find on them. Enemies drop an absurd number of items, which means that looting and selling become tedious chores, but at least this is somewhat relieved by a variety of interesting enemies and locations.
The core of the game is its extensive skill system, which enables players to customize their characters by combining passive skills in countless new ways. This, combined with the game's gem-socketing system, allows players to create powerful hybrids that go beyond the usual tank/healer/damage-dealing classes. The art direction and sound are fantastic, though both make combat extremely gory and graphic. In spite of this, players could well become numb to the violence due to the sheer excess. And though there's no bad language, there are plenty of hellish visuals and scantily clad, demonic women. Path of Exile is definitely what older role-playing fans are looking for.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about role-playing. When you role-play, do you prefer characters who are good or bad?
Think about what the word "exile" means. How would you feel if you had to leave your home and could never return?
Discuss cooperative gameplay. Do you like adventuring by yourself more or with a friend?
- Platforms: Windows
- Pricing structure: Free (Free with optional in-game purchases.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Grinding Gear Games
- Release date: October 13, 2013
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.