This so-called 'Diablo-killer' just launched — and at a price cheap enough for me to bite

Last Epoch
(Image credit: Eleventh Hour Games)

Yesterday marked the official launch of Last Epoch out of Early Access, amidst a buzz labeling it a potential 'Diablo-killer'. Mention anything about Diablo on Twitter/X, and you're bound to encounter a swarm of voices heralding Last Epoch as its successor and harbinger of doom.

The game's enthusiasts do raise valid points; Last Epoch boasts a rich fantasy aRPG experience, complete with a meticulously crafted skill tree system, sophisticated loot filters, intricate crafting mechanics, and engaging endgame content. While I believe both games can peacefully coexist, Diablo could stand to learn valuable lessons from Last Epoch, and they must be watching this launch with interest.  With a price tag less than half of the Blizzard behemoth, Last Epoch is an irresistible proposition at $34.99. To sweeten the deal, you can slash an additional $6 off the price on Fanatical using the code OMEN17 and redeem your purchase on Steam.

Last Epoch | $34.99now $29.04 at Fanatical with code OMEN17 

Last Epoch | was $34.99 now $29.04 at Fanatical with code OMEN17 

Are you ready to travel through time and save the world of Eterra from the Void? Last Epoch is the ultimate action RPG for fans of hack and slash, loot, and epic skills. Choose from 15 mastery classes, craft legendary weapons, and explore dangerous dungeons in a ruined future.

Is Last Epoch good enough to compete with Diablo 4?

(Image credit: Eleventh Hour Games)

Right now, Last Epoch is certainly riding the high of being touted as a Diablo-killer. While that's unlikely given that it's only available on PC, there are certainly some interesting mechanics in the game and the timing of it coming out of Early Access couldn't be more perfect. It's no secret that Season 3 Season of the Construct has been a lul in the service games lifecycle, and fans right now are unhappy with the delay in leaderboards arriving which was promised for this season. Last Epoch has launched at a perfectly opportune time to scoop up a lot of disgruntled Diablo 4 fans in its warm embrace of fresh new content. 

In Last Epoch, there are 5 base classes (Acolyte, Mage, Primalist, Sentinel and Rogue) which can later in the game pick one of 14 mastery classes. If you've played Path of Exile, this isn't too dissimilar from the Ascendency system. In fact, the best thing about Last Epoch from my first impressions is that it balances the accessibility of Diablo 4 with the complexity of Path of Exile into a neatly polished package. 

The full class and mastery system in Last Epoch (Image credit: Eleventh Hour Games)

Another thing I wish Diablo 4 had, is the ability to play offline. The servers were so crammed on launch day this is what the developers advised players to do as they experienced overload not unlike the current situation with Helldivers 2. It's worth noting though that if you create an offline character you can only ever use that character offline, and will need to make a separate online character for online play.

The game takes place in chapters, like in Path of Exile and Diablo, with characters starting with minimal skills and equipment, providing an easy way to get started. Skills have individual skill trees, making the process of understanding them more manageable, respecing skills is easy, with instant skill points upon changing trees and gold cost that is straightforward to obtain.

Players are encouraged to have a rough idea of the type of character they want to create but can experiment easily, I'd always recommend trying your own build on a first play.

Something many Diablo 4 players criticize is the current state of Necromancer summoning builds. Last Epoch's Summoner class and its minion mechanics are generally well received and I have an example above of the skill tree. You start with basic summons, such as wolves, and can increase the number and types later on through the skill tree. Every single skill has it's OWN skill tree.

The gear system has that same addictive hack-and-slash mechanic of rewarding players by killing monsters, but there is also the option to craft bases and purchase items from vendors. Unique items are obtained by imbuing regular items with legendary potential, which is an endgame feature. Overall,  the flexibility and ease of gameplay is why Last Epoch is receiving so much attention right now. If you need any further convincing of how awesome a game Last Epoch is, Rhykker, a respected Diablo 4 content creator, has a fantastic video comparing the mechanics between it and Diablo 4 below. When discussing the skill tree specifically he says "I literally feel this is the template that should be used for all RPGs moving forward and it honestly boggles my mind that no other company has stolen this idea."

What are you waiting for? 

Even I, the diehard Diablo fan have been tempted away by Last Epoch, and with what feels like a downtime as we wait for Diablo 4 Season 4 and those promised itemization changes, now could not be a more perfect time to try this game out. At less than $30 for a game that will get regular updates and DLC without charging for them, it's embarrasingly only a little more expensive than an Accelerated Battle Pass for a Diablo 4 season. I'm going to give it a try, are you? 

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.