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Computer Last Epoch Review

A Time-Bending Action RPG with Rich Customization
 
 

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General Information

The world of action RPGs has seen many contenders over the years, with titles like Diablo and Path of Exile dominating the genre. However, a new player has entered the scene, offering a fresh take on the genre with its time-bending mechanics and extensive customization options. Last Epoch, developed by Eleventh Hour Games, has recently emerged from a five-year Early Access period, and its 1.0 release has garnered attention from battle-weary fans of Diablo 4 and Path of Exile. In this review, we will dive into the world of Last Epoch, exploring its gameplay, character customization, and endgame content.



A Fine Balance Between Accessible Action and Complex Customization

Last Epoch strikes a fine balance between the approachable, high-speed action of Diablo 4 and the intricate character-build diversity of Path of Exile. One of the standout features of Last Epoch is its skill system, which manages to be both easy to understand and highly customizable. As a player, you have the freedom to fine-tune your character's abilities according to your playstyle. Whether you prefer a sword-and-shield-wielding Sentinel, a spell-slinging Mage, or an undead-summoning Acolyte, Last Epoch offers a range of standard characters with distinct playstyles.

Embarking on an Epic Campaign

The journey in Last Epoch begins by choosing one of the five standard characters. Each character has a unique identity and playstyle, ensuring that no choice is a bad one. Once you've made your selection, you're thrust into the visually stunning world of Eterra. Eterra is a high-fantasy realm plagued by evil gods, undead armies, and a malevolent void threatening to devour the planet. The campaign, which spans roughly 20 hours, serves as a starting point before delving into the game's engaging endgame content.

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Unleashing the Power of Last Epoch's Combat System

Last Epoch's combat system is a joy to experience, offering a mix of isometric hacking, slashing, spellcasting, potion-guzzling, and loot hunting. While the game follows the traditional action RPG formula, it introduces several unique mechanics that add depth and strategy to the gameplay. For example, the inclusion of a regenerating shield called Ward and a mana pool that can dip into the negatives for natural cooldowns between spells creates a more methodical combat experience compared to titles like Diablo 3 or Diablo 4.

The Influence of Chrono Trigger: A Storytelling Device

Last Epoch draws inspiration from the classic time-traveling RPG Chrono Trigger, both in terms of its story and setting. The narrative revolves around preventing the inevitable destruction of Eterra in the future. As players progress through the main quest, they traverse different eras, securing the game's time-traveling Epoch and attempting to alter the course of history. While the story may not reach the storytelling heights of Chrono Trigger, it provides a serviceable explanation for the action-packed events unfolding on-screen.

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The Path to Mastery: Customizing Your Character

Last Epoch offers an impressive level of customization for each character class. As you progress, you can specialize your character into one of three subclasses, fundamentally altering their playstyle. For example, an Acolyte can become a Necromancer, focusing on summoning undead minions. The skill system in Last Epoch is a treat to explore, with branching Passives that gradually unlock as you complete side quests and level up. These Passives can be combined with the separate points used to customize your skills, allowing for a deep and nuanced character-building experience.

The Thrill of Loot and Gear Customization

In Last Epoch, gear plays a crucial role in shaping your character's power. The game's crafting system adds excitement to loot hunting by allowing you to rebuild entire pieces of equipment using glyphs and scrolls. The inclusion of items that introduce new mechanics further enhances the sense of discovery. For example, a belt that unleashes a wave of frost every time you use a healing potion can drastically change your approach to combat. Last Epoch's extensive itemization system ensures that gear hunting is not just about finding support for your build but also sparks inspiration for new character specializations.

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Building Your Own Destiny: Skill Trees and Playstyle

Last Epoch provides players with the ability to mix and match up to five skills, unlocking new skill trees and playstyles. This system allows for the creation of unique character builds and encourages experimentation. Whether you prefer to summon swarms of Wraiths as a Necromancer or focus on mobility and precise bow-and-arrow attacks as a Marksman, Last Epoch offers an incredible range of possibilities. The flexibility to respec or swap out skills adds to the game's depth and allows players to adapt their playstyle to different challenges.

Monoliths of Fate: The Endgame Challenge

Last Epoch's endgame content, known as Monoliths of Fate, provides a challenging and rewarding experience for players who have reached level 100. These time rifts, inspired by roguelikes like Hades, offer different themes and rewards. The real prize lies in the Blessings obtained at the end of each Monolith. These global buffs can enhance loot drop rates, experience gains, and even character stats. The procedural generation of islands and the variety of boss fights keep the endgame fresh and engaging, even for players with powerful character builds.

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Exploring Traditional Dungeons and Beyond

In addition to the Monoliths of Fate, Last Epoch features traditional dungeons and an arena mode for players seeking different challenges. While the dungeons offer unique mechanics and boss fights, they may feel like an afterthought compared to the Monoliths. The loot found in these areas may not be as enticing, and the need to find single-use keys to access them can be frustrating. However, the game's forgiving death mechanics, which allow immediate respawning without penalties, help maintain a sense of progression and minimize frustration.

Microtransactions and Factions: Optional Enhancements

Last Epoch includes a microtransaction system that offers purely cosmetic items. These items, such as skins and accessories, allow players to personalize their characters and town portals. While some may argue against the presence of microtransactions, it is important to note that they do not impact gameplay or offer pay-to-win advantages. Additionally, Last Epoch's Factions system provides an extra layer of choice, allowing players to join either the Merchant's Guild or the Circle of Fortune. Each faction offers unique benefits, such as trading with other players or increased drop rates, further enhancing the customization and gameplay experience.

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Performance and Visuals: A Feast for the Eyes

Last Epoch impresses not only with its gameplay but also with its performance and visuals. The game runs smoothly on a range of systems, including gaming laptops and powerful desktop setups. The high-contrast art style favors color over realism, resulting in visually stunning environments. From the encampment at the End of Time overlooking a spiraling black hole to the Mediterranean cityscape of Maj'elka, Last Epoch's world is a sight to behold. Even during intense battles, the game maintains its smooth performance, ensuring that players can fully immerse themselves in the action.

Verdict: A Timeless Adventure Awaits

In conclusion, Last Epoch offers a compelling and deeply customizable action RPG experience. Its accessible yet complex gameplay mechanics, extensive character customization options, and engaging endgame content make it a worthy contender in the genre. While the storytelling may not reach the heights of its inspirations, the rich world of Eterra and the thrill of exploring different eras provide a captivating backdrop for the game's action-packed battles. Whether you're a fan of Diablo, Path of Exile, or simply seeking a new RPG adventure, Last Epoch is a title that should not be missed.

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