Last Epoch Review: An isometric RPG soaring through time

The time for a new ARPG is now.

Developed by developer Eleventh Hour Games, Last Epoch takes the isometric ARPG genre by storm but doesn't do anything really to reinvent the wheel, and for good reason. In a genre dominated by the causal-friendly Diablo 4 and the hardcore Path of Exile, Last Epoch does manage to etch its own imprint right between both games on the undisputed middle ground.

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Gameplay

If you're familiar with classic ARPGs like Diablo 2, you'll find the core gameplay of Last Epoch quite familiar. While it doesn't revolutionize the formula, it does introduce several noteworthy changes to genre conventions. I'll delve into those shortly.

In Last Epoch, your adventure begins by selecting from five distinct classes: the eccentric Mage, the crafty Rogue, the primal Primalist, the grim Acolyte, and the steadfast Sentinel. Each class offers unique gameplay experiences and extensive customization options, ensuring that no two players' experiences are alike. A crucial aspect of this customization lies in the Masteries system, which functions as advanced classes. Each of the five classes presents three different Masteries to choose from, greatly expanding the possibilities for building your character.

The build diversity in Last Epoch far surpasses what's available in Diablo 4 thanks to the unique classes and their Masteries. Every skill in each class comes with its own Path of Exile-like skill tree, adding another layer of complexity. You can specialize in five skills of your choice, unlocking their respective skill trees. Whether you want your skeleton archers to shoot fire arrows or poison arrows, or explore other possibilities, the options here are vast. Despite the added complexity, delving into these skill trees is well worth it for the depth they bring to crafting your builds.

Related: How to Fix Stuck in Loading Screen in Last Epoch

Even though it might seem overwhelming at first glance, Last Epoch manages to make everything rather manageable. The game excels at directing players to the right places at the right times without leaving them lost in the UI. Despite its complex build system, Last Epoch's design keeps things straightforward, and it is this unique balance of simplicity within complexity that distinguishes Last Epoch from Diablo 4's oversimplification and Path of Exile's overcomplication.

Moment-to-moment gameplay in Last Epoch is the same as all other ARPGs. You kill monsters, loot items, equip them, and slay more monsters for even better items. This simple gameplay loop has existed in this genre for decades, and Last Epoch does nothing to change it (not that it needs to). Again, if you've played any high-budget ARPG since Diablo 2, you are aware of everything Last Epoch has to offer from a core gameplay perspective.

5/5

Story

Rarely does the story of an ARPG matter in the grand scheme of things, and that can also be said about Last Epoch. You can absolutely play this game without a single clue as to what is happening in the story. The start of the plot is largely unremarkable, and it doesn't do much to change that until later on. However, Last Epoch does something most ARPG storylines fail to do, and that is exceed in drawing your curiosity.

In Last Epoch, even if you set aside the story, there are intriguing moments that pique your interest, largely thanks to the game's unique time-travel plot. You find yourself traversing the past of a world already destined for doom in the future. Jumping between timelines like a game of hopscotch; you encounter threats millennia apart, facing technologically advanced soldiers one moment and ravenous packs of dinosaurs the next. It's an inherently unconventional setup, yet the whiplash from shifting timelines draws you deep into the game's rich narrative without demanding your full attention from the outset. It's an impressive feat of storytelling, really.

5/5

Multiplayer

Regrettably, while Last Epoch offers a promising cooperative experience, accessing it requires logging into Eleventh Hour Game's servers. Persistent login issues, frequent disconnects, and delayed area transitions have plagued the online gameplay experience in its entirety. As of the time of this review, attempting to engage in coop play with friends is nothing short of a frustrating ordeal.

Last Epoch does offer an offline mode, which serves as a saving grace for players looking to dive into the game. However, this mode comes with significant drawbacks that diminish its appeal. The most notable issue is that offline characters are strictly confined to offline play; they cannot transition to online gameplay at any point. This departure from the standard ARPG formula is perplexing. Additionally, offline characters are unable to engage in Last Epoch's trade system, an undeniably disappointing limitation.

2/5

Related: Developers Hint at Last Epoch Coming to Consoles

Graphic and Performance

Last Epoch impresses with its polished graphics and smooth performance, delivering a visually stunning experience that looks fantastic even from an isometric point of view. The meticulously crafted environments, from lush forests to desolate wastelands, are brought to life with vibrant colors and intricate details. Character models and animations are fluid and well-designed, adding to the overall aesthetic appeal.

On the performance front, Last Epoch shines with its optimization efforts, ensuring that the game runs smoothly across a variety of hardware configurations. On my GTX 3060, i9-10850k at 4Ghz, and 3GB RAM, I had no trouble maintaining 60 FPS or higher at max settings.

5/5

Audio and Sound

Have you ever pondered the chilling sound of blood being forcibly torn from a living creature's body? Last Epoch informs your experience with great audible detail so you don't misunderstand a beat. This holds true for every sound effect accompanying skills and abilities in the game. Each audio cue is a treat for the ears—especially the sizzling sound of flesh being seared by a Mage's Fireball. Yum.

However, while the sound effects excel in bringing the game to life, other aspects of the audio fall short of expectations. The voice acting often lacks clarity, with voices occasionally sounding muddled or misplaced, detracting from the immersion of the narrative. Similarly, the music, while not inherently flawed, fails to leave a lasting impression, lacking standout tracks that truly captivate attention. As a result, both the voice acting and music contribute to a somewhat underwhelming aspect of Last Epoch's otherwise stellar sound design.

3/5

Verdict - An impressive middle-ground ARPG that's not too simple nor complex

Overall, Last Epoch is a standout title in the ARPG genre, offering a compelling blend of interesting storytelling, compelling exploration, and deep character customization, all without being too simplistic or complex. With its innovative time-traveling premise, stunning visuals, and addictive gameplay, it's a must-play for fans of the genre looking for something familiar, yet different from the norm.

For more information relating to everything Last Epoch, check out Everything included in Last Epoch Ultimate Edition on Steam right here on Pro Game Guides.

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About the Author

Darrus is a creative-minded individual with a passion for all things gaming. As a seasoned Game Guide writer that has been writing for the past 10+ years, and an active Narrative Designer for 5, he charges headfirst into the line of fire, taking on anything the industry has to offer him. The RPG genre is his home base.

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Last Epoch Review: An isometric RPG soaring through time

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