Path of Exile: Ascendancy adds some significant things to the ever-evolving ARPG in the form of Ascendancy classes, a smattering of new skills, items, and abilities, enchantments, and the Lord’s Labyrinth – a sort of roguelike challenge that you only get one life in before you have to start the whole thing over. The Labyrinth’s layout changes daily, so in essence players get a unique, challenging experience against Emperor Izaro and his dangerous allies each day.
In addition to these core features, along with Ascendancy comes some new leagues that players can start in, the Perandus Challenge Leagues. These are available to both new standard and hardcore characters, and make the leveling and exploration process significantly more entertaining. Players will encounter Perandus chests and caches as they explore, often guarded by dangerous minions. These treasure troves contain various loot, but all contain some amount of Perandus coins.
Players can collect these coins and trade them in with the wandering Cadiro Perandus, who often has extremely powerful items to sell for these valuable coins. If you don’t want what he’s hawking but have a friend who could use that amazing piece of gear, invite them into your game and have them shell out their hard earned Perandus coins. This system is a great way to get some potent epic items while you go through the leveling process, and yet another option for acquiring some really choice pieces of gear later on in the game.
And then there’s the traps. These contraptions added to this expansion were probably intended to bring some puzzle elements to the Trials of Ascendancy and Lord’s Labyrinth, but in practice are quite frustrating. While the annoying lag that plagued Path of Exile for years is long gone and you shouldn’t have any issues maneuvering around towers of blades, spike wheels, and flame floors, these obstacles are mostly just uninteresting to move through and a pain to keep track of. It’s not a good feeling when you’re halfway through the Lord’s Labyrinth of the day and accidentally wander into a lethal trap – you’re back to square one, and it doesn’t often feel like you had much control over it. The rest of the features in the expansion are great additions, but I’m really not feeling the traps.
Path of Exile is loaded with so much to experience at this point, with many of the coolest parts of previous leagues carrying over in such a way that almost every screen has something special on it – it’s overloaded in a good way, with elite enemies and piles of well-guarded loot. With the new Perandus leagues just getting started, it’s great time to give the free-to-play ARPG a try.