A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Dark, bloody expansion has nothing to do with positivity.
Positive Role Models
Hero goals don't go beyond killing monsters, collecting loot.
Ease of Play
Point of expansion is getting through a labyrinth filled with deadly traps; demands quick reflexes, patience since players who fail must start over from the beginning.
Violence & Scariness
Blood, gore focus of gameplay with rampant monster slaughter, players being shredded by saw blades, spikes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female monster characters appear scantily clad but aren't detailed, are seen from a distance.
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Products & Purchases
Completely free to play but offers prompts in load screen to buy things from in-game store. All in-game purchases optional.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Path of Exile: Ascendancy is a bloody downloadable add-on to the original Path of Exile, the focus of which is getting through a monster-filled labyrinth sprinkled with deadly traps. Gameplay is tough and forces players whose heroes die within the labyrinth to restart from the very beginning. Traps consist of things like spinning saw blades, spiked logs and floors, and pools of burning lava -- all things that bring player characters to graphic, gruesome deaths. There's nothing to worry about as far as sex or language, but the hyper-violent gameplay more than makes up for that.
Is It Any Good?
This expansion does justice to the hard-core base game by setting the bar high from the beginning. Though tutorial levels (Trials) give players a means to become acquainted with a new series of environmental traps, the main test that follows isn't for the faint of heart or short of temper. The base game's Normal difficulty allows players who die to come back to life and pick up where they left off. The expansion isn't so nice. One false move in the Labyrinth can mean a bloody, dismembering death, and heroes who die must start over from the very beginning, which can be extremely frustrating.
Only the most committed, patient gamers are going to get through the Labyrinth, which means many gamers will never access the expansion's new Ascendancy classes. These 19 new classes (three for each base class and one for the Scion class) give players access to elite Ascendancy skill trees that provide a slew of cool new powers. The thing is, to progress through these trees, players need to get through the Labyrinth not once but multiple times on harder and harder difficulties. This is great for the game's main audience (which consists largely of hardcore RPG players) but not so good for everyone else. Winning an Ascended class is the main point of the expansion, but players who don't (or can't) do this can take advantage of other new features such as the new Perandus challenge league, new weapons, items, and gems. Granted, while these other features are fun, that might not be enough reason to play Path of Exile: Ascendancy if you're not a card-carrying hard-core gamer.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.