Last Epoch review

by on February 25, 2024
Reviewed On
Release Date

February 22, 2024


Last Epoch has been in early access for almost five years and in that time has grown from just another Diablo-alike with an interesting skill system to a huge, intricate ARPG that occupies the coveted middle ground between Blizzard’s mass-market mammoth and Grinding Gears’ free-to-play Path of Exile, which arguably out-Diablos Diablo IV. Last Epoch isn’t quite the Diablo killer some are lauding it as, but it has so many quality of life elements that elevate it into the higher tiers that it comes very close.

I don’t want to harp on too much here but the biggest element for me is the Offline Mode. I play ARPGs exclusively solo, and the fact I have to share my world in Diablo 4 and deal with poor connections and online glitches in a game that can literally be played 100% solo is the worst part of Blizzard’s game. Well, besides the shamelessly predatory cosmetic shop, of course. Path of Exile has it too, but as the free to play base game makes the cash shop less egregious and the online element integrates properly into the story. That I can choose Offline Mode in Last Epoch and have several characters share gold and stash rights there, while also being able to switch into Online Mode if I choose to is a major boon. My only gripe is you have to have separate character lists.

Last Epoch review

But what about the actual game? Well, Last Epoch is a pretty standard ARPG when viewed from the ground up. You create a character from 5 gender-locked initial classes, Sentinel, Rogue, Mage, Primalist, and Acolyte, and venture into the world of Eterra, where a magical catastrophe sees you hopping back and forth through various eras of time to save the planet. I’ll admit I struggled to follow the story a bit. It’s just such an afterthought in many ways, with none of Diablo 4’s cinematic grandstanding or cutscenes. There’s little characterisation in Last Epoch, with NPC portraits not fully resembling their sprites, and often sharing faces, which is weirdly jarring. Most of it is voiced, though, including documents you find scattered around that divulge lore or backstory.

Thankfully, Last Epoch’s gameplay does most of the talking. After selecting your starting class you’re dropped into the thick of the action, killing, looting, and levelling up. Character appearance doesn’t change as frequently as in other games in the genre, but Eleventh Hour Games have added different looks for armour, weapons, and helms which weren’t there when early access began. Far deeper is the class progression, which frankly has to be seen to be believed.

Last Epoch review

After reaching a certain milestone, which has been brought forward dramatically since early access, you can opt to continue levelling your base class, or specialise into a locked Mastery. For example, the Acolyte can become a Necromancer or Warlock, while the Rogue can become a Sharpshooter or Falconer (which is the path I chose because it’s cool as hell). These Masteries come with their own skills and stat boosts to completely alter the way you play.

What’s more though, is that while you’re unlocking new skills at set levels, you can also choose to specialise in up to 5 specific skills. You can pick any skill to do this, and when you do it opens up massive individual skill trees unique to that ability. So, for example, I chose to focus on my Rogue’s smokebomb, and was able to add a whole heap of extra uses to it. It can heal me while I’m in it, blind and slow the enemy, or I can modify it so it appears where I fire it, not where I’m standing. The Smoke Bomb skill has 30 nodes in its tree, some with multiple tiers – and every skill in the game can be given this treatment.

Last Epoch review

It makes the idea of a “meta build” almost moot. Yes, there are better ways to build and certain skills will work better with others, but the sheer depth of character progression in Last Epoch is a step beyond almost every other game in the genre, perhaps with the exception of Path of Exile. Perhaps the only downside is that, while you can respec whenever you like, the Mastery is locked, so you will need multiple characters to experience all the classes. And as there’s no option to skip the campaign and just play in the world like in Diablo 4, you’ll be repeating a set path multiple times over without a great deal of deviation.

There is some diversion, though, allowing you to pick different paths through the eras as you search for Epoch Shards, the primary goal of each overarching story quest. Ultimately that probably won’t matter, as the meat of Last Epoch is found in developing your characters and experimenting with skills and gear.

Elsewhere you’ll be crafting items, and Last Epoch already comes with a separate inventory for crafting items. It’s initially quite a complex affair until you get your head around it, and crafting specific items to plug a gap in your build becomes a satisfying, more straightforward experience. Certain factions you meet in the later game offer different rewards and services, so by the time you head into the endgame you’ll have an ironclad hero ready to take on anything.

Last Epoch review

Quite how the endgame will hold up I’m not sure of yet, having barely tampered with it at the time of writing. But there are multiple activities such as Dungeons to run for loot and XP, either Offline or Online. There will be seasons, called Cycles, to add new content and challenges going forward, but Diablo 4 has shown how hit-and-miss such a model can be. Hopefully, Eleventh Hour will take lessons from the games that came before when fashioning their future updates.

After five years in early access, Last Epoch has launched into 1.0 with a resounding bang. It offers a great deal of content and build diversity, perhaps almost to a fault in some ways, and the general gameplay is enjoyable and engaging. It’s aesthetically a very pretty game, cleaving a little closer to Lost Ark’s style than anything else, and the enemy and location variety is more than broad enough. Time will tell if it can stand up to Diablo 4 and, perhaps more pointedly, Path of Exile 2’s impending release, but for now, Eleventh Hour Games should be proud of what they’ve delivered. Last Epoch is a compelling, addictive, and above all creative ARPG that more than deserves its place in the genre.


Great skill system
Fun, well-paced combat
Offline mode
Solid crafting


Forgettable story
Locks you into masteries

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Last Epoch is a compelling, addictive, and above all creative ARPG that more than deserves its place in the genre.