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Path of Exile has become one of my favorite games over the years. It’s one of those rare experiences that offers anything I want at any given point. Do I want to freak out over numbers and stats? PoE’s massive skill tree and item customization has more depth than I could ever fully comprehend. Am I in the mood to turn off my brain, listen to podcasts, and kill thousands of weirdo monsters? Yep, that’s definitely in there. Or maybe I’m looking for an engaging story with memorable charac– well, okay. Maybe not ANYTHING. Still, the action/RPG is a satisfying, rewarding experience that’s provided me hundreds of hours of entertainment. If you’ve been curious about the game, the recent start of the new Heist league makes it a perfect time to check it out. Don’t worry – if you don’t know what that means, I’ll walk you through the basics.
What Is Path Of Exile?
First, let’s go through the big-picture stuff. Path of Exile is an action/RPG from Grinding Gear Games. It’s deeper than something like Diablo III, but it features the same kind of “running around all over the place, casting magic whatevers or bonking monsters on the head with melee weapon” stuff that makes the genre so enjoyable. Better still, it’s free to play, in a generous way. The bulk of the available microtransactions are purely cosmetic. You can definitely drop some bucks on quality-of-life improvements, such as additional storage tabs or inventory slots that automatically sort loot, but you can get by without spending anything.
What’s A League (And Why Should I Care?)
About four times a year, the developers release a new league. These are themed to some kind of gameplay gimmick that adds new systems, drops, and gameplay loops. In the past, leagues have added things like monster-collecting, farming, and mining. When a league is over, some of its features may stick around in the next league. Others are gone forever. It creates a really interesting structure to the game that almost feels like a bunch of weirdly disparate elements that are bolted on top of what came before. It shouldn’t work. Sometimes it doesn’t; the start of a new league is dependably unstable, at least on console, and I crash out of the game about once an hour for the first few weeks. And yet, I keep signing back in for more.
What’s This New League About?
Anyway, the new league, Heist, just went live on console this week. It’s been out a little longer on PC. The gimmick for Heist is that you can work with a team of thieves to plan and commit a variety of randomized heists, Oceans 11-style. You worm your way through the target location, killing guards before their alert level gets too high, find the prize item, and escape with the loot (and your life). I’ve only done one so far, but it was more fun than I expected. Once I grabbed the item – a vase in the tutorial mission – the alarm was triggered and I had to fight through crowds of reinforcements. I’ll definitely be doing a lot more of those in the coming months.
What If I Get Stuck? (Seriously, That Skill Tree!)
Aside from getting fresh content on a regular basis, something I really appreciate about Path of Exile is its active community. If you have a question, odds are that someone has made a multi-episode video series with all the answers. There are an abundance of builds out there from smart, obsessed fans who spend a ton of time min-maxing. I usually spend a day or so watching YouTube videos of various builds before committing to one; this season, I’m going with a necromancer (again), because I am lazy. I know that the skill tree can be overwhelming, but a free tool called Path of Building makes it a lot easier to try out various things before committing your skill points. Or, better still, most of the people who make builds do so in a format that’s easy for Path of Building to import – from there, you can turn off your brain, kill monsters, and just put the points wherever the build creator says. Easy! Now you just need to carve out a few dozen hours…
Path of Exile is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. And it's great.
The Last of Us was an iconic addition to the PlayStation lineup and with its sequel out this year and a TV series on the way, Ellie and Joel are back in the spotlight. While the sequel was met with mixed reception, The Last of Us journey is far from over because a new tabletop adaptation has been announced.
The Last of Us tabletop adventure comes from a partnership between CMON and Sony Interactive Entertainment. If CMON sounds familiar, you may remember this company from its work with Sony in the past for both the God of War and Bloodborne adaptations.
This is the first time The Last of Us has been adapted into a board game officially. With this game, the suspense and sense of danger will be felt in a different way not on a screen. Unfortunately, we don't have a look at the set quite yet or what sort of miniatures it will offer, but if it's anything like its Bloodborne experience, it will be incredibly detailed and will honor the Naughty Dog series beautifully.
The Last of Us's universe is incredibly emotional and CMON aims to recreate that same evocative response to that world with this experience. “Remembering the impact The Last of Us had on me when I first experienced it years ago, and then being completely stunned by The Last of Us Part II, I knew this was a narrative experience we wanted to bring to the board gaming table,” says Geoff Skinner, VP of Entertainment and Head of Licensing at CMON. “We are honored to have the chance to translate a modern classic of the video game industry into a unique and compelling board game experience. The Last of Us is a series that many of us at CMON have followed from its inception and we are eager to adapt the stirring character-driven player experience to tabletop, letting fans explore the world and story in a entirely new way.”
It'll be exciting to learn more about The Last of Us tapletop experience. Hopefully we'll get a closer look here before the holiday season kicks off.
Let's get spooky, because Nintendo has just revealed that the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Halloween event is officially on the way. Candy, costumes, and big 'ol pumpkin heads are dropping soon when the Fall update arrives on September 30.
With a brand new trailer, Nintendo showed off a bit of what islanders can expect to see when the latest update arrives, including pumpkin farming, festive Halloween directions, a spooky-inspired celebration, even more dreams goodness, and so much more.
Costumes are also on the way, which is to be expected given previous Halloween events for this franchise. Players will be able to celebrate by gorging on candy and scouring pumpking patches while crafted limited-time items to make that island even more unique.Click here to watch embedded media
A NookLink app update is also on the way, so really there is no excuse to not have your island be a massive spook-fest 24/7, whether it's October or not. Nintendo mentioned in the reveal that players will be able to use the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app for in-game reactions, so get ready to up that costume game with a good 'ol fashioned "grrr" face.
The new update looks incredible, and you can see every thing in store in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Halloween event trailer above. What are you most excited to see when the Fall update arrives later this month? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below!