Dungeon-crawlers, otherwise known as hack-and-slash ARPGs, is a genre that sees few new releases today. Some ARPG fans have stuck with Blizzard’s Diablo 2 this entire time while some have migrated to Path of Exile, a free-to-play spiritual successor to the acclaimed title.
While Path of Exile has a massive amount of content and frequent updates, burnout and boredom can still happen when completing the Atlas or delving for the dozenth time. Fortunately, there is a solid selection of ARPG alternatives that Path of Exile fans should try out while they wait for a new league or want a change of pace. Here are ten great titles that Path of Exile fans should check out.
Roguelikes have seen a surge in popularity over the past few years due to their accelerated progression curves and addictive gameplay. On paper, Hades’ blend of roguelike systems and ARPG combat are antithetical to the genre’s focus on gearing and character building.
In practice, it is one of the most addictive and thrilling ARPGs one can buy. Hades does a brilliant job of incorporating randomized dungeon delves with meaningful character building. Enemies spill out gold and build-enabling items that let players continue their run. When a player dies, they get to make small, permanent upgrades that will make their next run slightly easier. Packed with a satisfying story and beautiful art style, Hades is a must-play for ARPG fans.
Victor Vran ARPG
ARPGs that focus on cooperative play are a rare sight in today’s market, especially ones that allow split-screen co-op. Victor Vran ARPG is one of the few ARPGs that fill this niche currently. While it doesn’t have any new tricks up its sleeve for the genre, Victor Vran’s ability to be played in split-screen co-op on PC and console makes for a great afternoon of dungeon-delving with friends.
Warframe is not a dungeon crawler nor is it an isometric RPG. Warframe is a free-to-play third-person looter shooter that has a solid amount of similarities to Path of Exile. Buildcrafting is a core part of Warframe’s gameplay rhythm due to the game’s massive roster of Mods, effectively passives that can alter an item’s behavior.
Each Warframe, effectively a player’s class, offers a suite of abilities that focus on a certain playstyle. Players can turn entire armies to particle dust with Nova, freeze time with Limbo, or punch enemies into oblivion with Atlas. The game lacks an in-depth endgame system, but the amount of content Warframe has on offer is worth experiencing during the end of a Path of Exile league. The game is also free, so players can try this fast-paced looter shooter for no cost.
Titan Quest is a great alternative to Path of Exile and Diablo 2 if players want a fast ARPG to play. In Titan Quest, players get to battle notorious creatures and gods from Greek mythology as they complete the campaign.
As with Grim Dawn, Titan Quest is much more fluid with its class design that lets players create any character they wish. Players choose between two class archetypes and invest points into any skills or passives they wish. While it certainly shows its age today, Titan Quest’s unique setting and fluid character customization make for a great ARPG alternative to other dungeon-crawling juggernauts in the genre.
Diablo 2 is the closest game to Path of Exile that one can find. Grinding Gear Games took heavy inspiration from Diablo 2 when developing PoE, hence why both games share so many systems.
Players can choose one of six classes as they carve their way through hordes of creatures. Just like PoE, gear plays a major role in developing builds in Diablo 2. Mods also exist for this ARPG classic if players have gotten bored of the game’s core systems. “Path of Diablo” is a great mod for those that want a new suite of skills and abilities based on Path of Exile.
While a massive departure from the first two games, Diablo 3 is a great casual ARPG for those that want an alternative to Path of Exile. Instead of managing dozens of progression systems, players can focus mostly on their gear and Greater Rifts. It might not have the immense depth Path of Exile has, yet the game’s lack of meta-progression systems and intricate gearing make it a fantastic ARPG to play during the last month of a Path of Exile league or whenever a player experiences burnout.
Those looking for a casual ARPG to play with friends should give Torchlight 2 a try. This game has a colorful art style that compliments the gory combat quite well, interesting item modifiers, and a whole suite of mods to install. Its character build variety is certainly lacking with only four classes to choose from, but the plethora of mods available for Torchlight 2 more than makes up for that.
Players that reach endgame can also experience Torchlight 2’s endgame that is similar to Path of Exile’s mapping system minus the Atlas. Those sick of Path of Exile and Diablo 3 should give this a shot.
Last Epoch is an early-access title that is shaping up to be a fantastic ARPG. Compared to other games in the genre, Last Epoch differentiates itself with its skill tree system. Every skill in Last Epoch has its own augment tree that allows for in-depth customization without compromising itemization or adding unnecessary bloat. Those that want a hybrid between Diablo 3’s gameplay and Path of Exile’s customization should give Last Epoch a chance.
Lost Ark takes the addictive hack-n-slash loot elements of an ARPG and sets them in an MMO setting. While that might be a red flag for some, Lost Ark manages to get the core fundamentals of ARPGs right.
Players choose from one of six classes that have multiple advanced classes, each focusing on specific playstyles. Besides the game’s satisfying abilities, Lost Ark also sprinkles a few MMO classics into the ARPG genre such as raids and multi-man dungeons. Unfortunately, the game is not available to western markets at this time, but players can try the game out by using a VPN.
For Path of Exile players that tire of the game’s clear speed meta, Grim Dawn might be a breath of fresh air. This game is much slower than Path of Exile without compromising build diversity.
Grim Dawn lets players choose between one of seven Masteries—nine with both major expansions—that each have unique skills and passives. However, players get to choose a second Mastery at level 12. Those that like Path of Exile’s passive skill forest might enjoy Grim Dawn’s Devotion system, which groups build stats and unique passive effects together as constellations to make build crafting much less intimidating. Combined with the game’s itemization, Grim Dawn is a great offline alternative to Path of Exile.