Path of Exile: Atlas of Worlds

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Path of Exile: Atlas of Worlds Game Poster Image
Bloody end-game expansion for hard-core players only.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players fight to survive brutal fantasy land, but only by being just as brutal. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players are criminals inside a continent-sized penal colony who do nothing but kill.

Ease of Play

Expansion can only be played after getting through main game three times amid increasing difficulty. Because of this, only hard-core players will ever get to see the Atlas. 

Violence

Violence is point of gameplay. Every minute is blood-soaked, with weapons, sword, magic, graphic depictions of enemies being cut down, pools of blood, burning, electrocution, dismemberment shown.

Sex

Some monsters appear partially clad, nude, but are seen from a distance, not in great detail. 

Language
Consumerism

Purchases promoted on login screen but are completely unnecessary to succeed. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Path of Exile: Atlas of Worlds is a downloadable add-on to Path of Exile, an online single-player or co-op multiplayer action role-playing game (RPG) characterized by dark nightmare-scapes and graphic violence. Only very skilled and hard-core players are likely to access this content. Players who do will engage in constant combat, killing men and grotesque monsters using swords, axes, bows, and elemental magic. When killed, heroes simply vanish and respawn in a preset location, but enemies are shown bleeding, burning, being electrocuted, and being dismembered. There's no bad language, but the game is very bloody and features naked or half-naked enemies. Multiplayer gameplay is unmoderated, potentially exposing players to inappropriate content.

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What's it about?

PATH OF EXILE: ATLAS OF WORLDS lets players confront another of the legendary Forsaken Masters and gain access to the mythical Atlas of Worlds. The Atlas slowly unlocks as players explore existing end-game maps, find new ones, and work their way to the center. It also challenges them to defeat the four Guardians of the Void before taking on the core boss, a map-obsessed madman called the Shaper. In addition to the ability to modify and upgrade existing maps, the new expansion offers players 30 new maps, 19 new bosses, a host of new weapons, and a new Essence Challenge League. 

Is it any good?

The core game involves wading in blood amid nonstop violence, so it's no surprise that the expansion does the same. That said, the gory gameplay stays fresh thanks to the clever addition of 30 cool new maps and a personal map tool that lets you direct your own destiny. Path of Exile: Atlas of Worlds has found a great way to extend the main game's replayability: by giving players an ever-changing experience based on exploration and luck. Advanced players start at the edges of the Atlas and fight their way to the center through increasingly difficult maps. As they go, they collect more maps of varying rarity and combine low-level maps into higher-level ones, or they alter maps to suit their tastes. The new maps include places such as a beach, a factory, a jungle, a tomb, and many other beautiful and challenging locations. Maps contain new Essence scenarios (part of the three-month Essence Challenge League) where you can kill monsters for valuable essence, which you can use to craft cool new weapons.

All of this is great stuff, but the only problem is gaining access to it. The Atlas of Worlds doesn't unlock until you've played through the main game 2.75 times (through Act III on Merciless difficulty), which means many players will never gain access to it. Grinding Gear Games unapologetically made this game for the hard-core player, and Atlas of Worlds more than confirms that.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about hard-core games. Is it fair for some games to exclude less skilled players? 

  • Think about how the presence of blood affects your enjoyment of games. Is the blood necessary? 

  • Discuss graphic violence in games. Does seeing a lot of violence dull your reaction to it? 

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