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Last Epoch Final Review

Mitch Gassner Posted:
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It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote my Last Epoch Review in Progress, and boy has it been a wild ride. My first impression of Last Epoch was that it felt similar to other top ARPGs but had the potential to rise to the top of the genre. You’ll have to read on to find out if Last Epoch actually lived up to that potential. Welcome to our Last Epoch Final Review.

Launch Week - Or My Personal Battle With Error LE-61

Last Epoch is the perfect example of why early reviews can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, early access to the 1.0 client gave reviewers a sneak peek at the changes coming in the full release, or in my case, a chance to finally check out the game I had literally been waiting years to play. Gameplay elements could be explored, and game-crashing bugs could be identified. Although I didn’t have enough time before launch day to experience all that Last Epoch had to offer, I could at least write about my first few hours of gameplay with optimism that Last Epoch was looking like the ARPG I was hoping for.

And then came the other edge of the sword. My pre-launch time with Last Epoch was nowhere close to what I would experience after launch. The pre-release test server was shut down on launch day, so I had to restart a new character to continue my review. No big deal, I thought. I had already played through the story, so I would just blast through the minimum needed to unlock all my passive skills and idol slots, and I’d be able to check out the endgame content before writing my final review. 

That’s not how things went down. 

My trouble-free time playing the pre-release copy of Last Epoch gave me a false sense of security that the release would go well. And oh my god, it didn’t. Server issues made Last Epoch unplayable unless you wanted to slink away to offline mode. Online Co-op was in shambles, and I was lucky to get 10-15 minutes of play before I had an infinite loading screen that required a restart. And that’s assuming I could get past the login screen, which, most of the time I couldn’t.

Last Epoch

Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to play a game and being unable to. Between launch on Wednesday, February 21st, and when patches finally started clearing up my connection issues early in the morning on Sunday, the 25th, I had only spent a handful of hours actually playing Last Epoch. I won’t pretend like I was trying to play 24/7 during that time, but I did try multiple times each day to log in and play to no avail. 

During those first few days after launch, Eleventh Hour Games was also having a rough go of it. Server issues and transition screen errors kept thousands of gamers from playing Last Epoch online. In the first few days of launch, the only workaround they came up with was to switch to offline mode and wait until the server issues were resolved. I wanted to play online, and I wouldn’t settle for less.

And honestly, if I had to write up my review on that Sunday morning, Last Epoch would have received a 0 out of 10. It didn’t matter that I could play offline or that some players were lucky enough to play online during the moments when the game servers were working as designed. Last Epoch was broken. I couldn’t play the way I wanted. I was disappointed.

By the end of the weekend, EHG was finally pushing out patches that were making a difference, and I could finally get some real gaming in. The large queues I experienced on Sunday and Monday soon disappeared, and although load times can sometimes be a little longer than they should be, we can assume that the major connection and transition screen freezes are behind us.

The remainder of this review will be from that perspective. I haven’t forgotten about how that first week with Last Epoch went, but it isn’t representative of how Last Epoch is today. So, with the worst behind us, let’s dig into my final review of Last Epoch.

The Story

In my review in progress, I noted that Last Epoch's story was underwhelming. After a second full playthrough, I stand firm on that assessment. The story is a take on the ‘travel through time to change the past so that you can change the future’ trope common throughout gaming and video entertainment. 

Unfortunately, EHG has done nothing to make the time travel story their own. The handful of cutscenes are bland, as is the dialogue between your character and the NPCs you encounter throughout the story. I am the type of gamer who is just as interested in the journey as I am in the destination, so I don’t want the story to be some tutorial that merely teaches you the gameplay mechanics you’ll need once you reach the end game.

I can accept that I am part of the minority in this view. Many in the ARPG community couldn't care less about the story - they only want to kill things and collect loot.  As I mentioned, EHG probably realized that and used its resources on the more critical aspects of Last Epoch.

I have even backed off my initial concern that the time travel backdrop was just a way to reuse maps and assets. Each of Eterra’s distinct ages you will bounce between as you level up is visually unique and hides perils all its own.

The world map of Eterra changes as you move between the different eras, starting with a dense wilderness for the Ancient Era. From there, we get to visit the Divine Era, the Imperial Era, the Ruined Era, and finally the fractured realm at the End of Time. Quest areas and waypoints come and go as you travel through the different stages of Eterra’s history, and although each area will feel familiar as you move between timelines, the artwork is reimagined to portray the highs or lows of civilization.

We’re talking more than just using a different color palette here; cities rise and fall on the world map, while buildings and terrain in one timeline have fallen into disrepair or gone altogether in another, with access to previously visited spots denied by rubble or other obstacles blocking the way.

I have often criticized developers for trying to create a grand story that is beyond their capabilities, leaving their game worse for the wear, and suggested that they focus their time and resources on things that really matter. By the end of my second trip through the story of Last Epoch, I was starting to appreciate what EHG has done with the world of Eterra.

Even though the story is weak, the different aesthetics of the various eras added more depth to the maps than the typical biome changes in other games. EHG focused on the visuals and gameplay more than they had the story, something that most ARPGers will appreciate long after the short story is completed and they spend hundreds of hours playing through the endgame content.

Character Progression

You might think that with only five starting classes, character progression in Last Epoch would be fairly linear. What EHG has put together for us is anything but. Each of the five classes has its own passive skill tree and active skill set, giving each class its own play style. Skills are fed to you at a decent clip in the early stages of play, so even before you are tasked with choosing a Mastery for your character, there are already a myriad of choices on how to build your character.

When starting a new ARPG, I usually settle on a class and have a rough idea of what skills I plan to build my character around in short order. After spending a couple of hours with each of Last Epoch’s five classes, I still couldn’t decide which class I wanted to play as my main. Each class had a unique feel to its playstyle, and I could see multiple paths for each character I had started.

Things got even worse when settling on a Mastery for each character. Picking a Mastery is the one choice during character progression that can’t be reversed. And even though you can still choose nodes from the other Masteries as you level up, this single choice is the defining moment for your character. 

Just like choosing your initial class, there doesn’t seem to be a single mastery that stands out above the others. There will always be a portion of the community that min-maxes their character by using a build guide, but for a more casual player like myself, there just doesn’t seem to be a bad choice, and that’s a good thing for replayability.

In reality, you can make bad choices while leveling your character. Fortunately, making a poor choice while leveling in Last Epoch isn’t a spirit-crushing, run-ending experience like it is in some ARPGs.

Separating the active skills into individual trees and leveling them up with your character makes it feel like you are steadily and consistently leveling your character. There aren’t any significant gaps where I felt like my progression was getting stagnant. And since every skill levels up individually, I don't have to worry about sacrificing one skill to empower another. It creates a nice cadence to the leveling system.

Individual skill trees, along with the class passive trees also encourage you to test out multiple leveling paths. The minor setback of losing a skill point or two, or all progress in a single skill if you swap it out for another, isn't enough to deter you from changing things up as your character continues to grow.


Just like character progression, EHG has hit the nail on the head with its take on crafting. Like other ARPGs, there are different tiers of loot, from normal to unique to legendary, with each tier adding more affixes to the item. You can shatter an item to collect affix shards, which are in turn applied to other items to increase their power. Special runes and glyphs can be used to further enhance or adjust the end result. You know, the same old same old.

Where Last Epoch’s crafting stands out is in its predictability. When you add an affix shard into an empty slot on an item, you are guaranteed a successful craft. There’s no random chance the craft will fail, and whatever affix shard you used will be the affix that is added to the item. Adding an additional shard of the same type will increase the tier of the affix without fail. Using glyphs and runes during crafting can add some randomness to the craft, but there isn’t a chance that your item will become worthless because of RNG unless you introduce that randomness into the craft.

If there isn’t any randomness to crafting, it should be easy to create the ultimate weapon then, right? Not exactly. Each item comes with a Forge Potential, a maximum amount of points that can be used up before crafting on the item is locked. The number of points used for each craft is random, so a bad roll or two can lock an item after just a couple of crafts. Yes, there is still some risk involved in crafting gear, but you never have a question about what your end result will be, just how much power you can pack into an item before it is locked. 

It’s a simple system to wrap your head around. Just plugging in shards and crafting items with modifiers that fit your build is enough give the casual player the gear needed to farm for end-game gear, and the glyphs and runes add some complexity into the mix for those wanting to get the maximum out of each craft.

The Endgame Grind

If you don’t have an enjoyable endgame grind, you won’t have a long-lasting ARPG. In Last Epoch, there are three activities to keep you busy as you craft your perfect gear set. Unlike character progression and crafting, Eleventh Hour Games doesn’t stray too far from the tried and true with any of the three end-game activities that are available in Last Epoch.

The Arena is Last Epoch’s take on the Endless Tower climb. You’ll fight wave after wave of baddies as you work your way to a boss battle. Every ten waves, you will have to choose from two modifiers that will make the encounters more difficult. Come out the other side successful, and you’ll get to move up to the next tier to do it all over again.

There are also three dungeons to conquer. Again, your main goal is to plow through multiple floors filled with enemies. Each level you traverse adds modifiers to the boss battle at the end, which in turn gives you some nice loot. One nice caveat of finishing a dungeon is doing so will open the dungeon up to future characters as they level up. Each dungeon acts as an alternate leveling path that will shorten the time it takes to get you through the story.

The third piece of the endgame grind is the Monolith of Fate, and this is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time in Last Epoch. Located at the End of Time, quests eventually lead you to the Monolith of Fate at the end of the story campaign, but you can head there as soon as you choose your class Mastery.

Tying into the time travel story of Last Epoch, the Monolith of Fate is a series of alternate timelines. Each timeline is made up of interconnected nodes that contain a procedurally generated map with a random objective as well as player and enemy modifiers to keep things fresh. Completing a node grants the player a specific reward, a unique item or crafting glyphs for example, unlocks the path to additional nodes, and also grants Stability Points.

The main objective for each timeline is to collect enough Stability Points to unlock three Quest Echoes - major encounters that tell the story of the timeline. Completing all three of these Echoes completes that timeline and unlocks the next timeline in the series. You will also get rewarded a blessing, a passive buff that adds to your character’s power.

All three end-game modes ultimately boil down to the same formula: clear maps to get to a boss, kill the boss, and collect rewards. This is literally the same thing you find in every ARPG, and just like all the others, the process of clearing maps becomes repetitive very quickly. Unlike the other aspects of Last Epoch, EHG just hasn’t found a way to differentiate its version of end-game content from the rest of the pack. 

Final Thoughts

At its core, Last Epoch is exactly what you would expect from an ARPG in 2024. You’ll spend most of your time running around unleashing death on anything unfortunate enough to get in your way. Loot will drop all over the place, and your character will quickly become a living god. Eventually, you’ll hit the end game grind and spend hour upon hour putting together the perfect set of gear. Still, Eleventh Hour Games has added its own special sauce to the recipe. Little tweaks here and there all add up to help Last Epoch stand out from the crowd.

Most of all, Last Epoch will appeal to any fan of ARPGs, hardcore or casual. You don't need a Ph.D. to create a build that will last and work well enough to at least get you started on your journey through the Monolith of Fate. You have time to learn from your mistakes, and once you do get the hang of things, EHG has made it easy enough to respec whatever mess you got yourself into without having to toss out your character and start all over.

A forgiving learning curve doesn't mean there isn't enough for the hardcore min-maxer either. Last Epoch's skill and passive trees offer up enough customization to keep theory crafters busy. The current endgame content will wear a little thin after a while, but there's enough meat on the bone to keep you grinding as you work on crafting the perfect set of gear.

For me, Last Epoch is one of those games that keeps me playing long after I should have quit for the day. There’s always one more character to create, one more build to try out. The Monolith of Fate is a little repetitive, but each node is short enough that I find myself clicking on just one more before I quit playing for the day. Then one more. Then another.

All things considered, Last Epoch is in a good place a couple of weeks after its launch. With the launch issues mostly in the rearview, EHG can now focus on fixing bugs, sifting through player feedback, and putting together a plan for the future. I’m not a Traveler in real life, so I can’t tell you exactly what the future holds for EHG and Last Epoch, but I suspect that Last Epoch will be the go-to ARPG for many gamers. Will it become the best ARPG of all time? Maybe, maybe not, but I doubt that Last Epoch is just the next Steam flash-in-the-pan success that will be forgotten in a few weeks. No, I believe Last Epoch has what it takes to withstand the tests of time.

8.5 Great
  • Easy to approach progression systems
  • Interesting crafting system
  • Wide variety of classes and playstyles
  • Lame storyline
  • Repetitive endgame content


Mitch Gassner

Part-time game reviewer, full-time gaming geek. Introduced to Pac-Man and Asteroids at a Shakey's Pizza in the '70s and hooked on games ever since.