It’s safe to say that Guild Wars fans have been awaiting the release of this latest instalment, Path of Fire, for some time. As a long time fan of the franchise, simply waiting for the installation bar to reach 100% was agonising enough of a wait.
As is with most MMORPGs the additional content favours itself to the players who have achieved all they can in the base game. While Path of Fire certainly does this, it also opens up a number of new quests, gear, mounts as well as new areas to be explored. From the highest of peaks to the darkest of dungeons, Path of Fire has it all.
The visuals in Guild Wars: Path of Fire are superb and live up to the expectations set by the previous expansion. The terrain and backdrops are amazing and pull the player in. I lost count of how many times I was distracted by the beauty of the level design mid-quest. Quality is the keyword and Guild Wars 2 has received what feels to be a complete overhaul; the addition of new ridable mounts also helps freshen up the feel of this five-year-old game. During the course of the DLC, you can expect to rely heavily on the new mounts – be it the hardy and reliable Raptor or the Long-Eared Springer – to explore and find the most rewarding areas. The new mounts offer a fresh approach with abilities to unlock and to explore new and old areas alike. With new specs to play each with their own fresh feel, this expansion truly does offer endless possibilities and the replay value is extraordinary.
The maps are expensive and it will take a lot of gameplay to fully explore the rich terrains and locations across the well-designed areas. All of the maps are packed with locations to explore and countless enemies to engage in battle with. In comparison to Heart Of Thorns, this expansion brings what I feel is a better approach to the maps with what feels like tons of more exploration and with more rewarding locations that are truly awe-inspiring; it adds more of a fantasy RPG feel to the game than ever before and is a genuine pleasure to wander off into the wildreness just to take it all in.
And what good would all of these of new locations to explore be without a number of new enemies to take on? The extensive variety of enemies on offer pose new challenges while certain combinations of enemies pose somewhat of a bigger risk and are their own puzzle to solve for a bigger reward. This is something that will greatly please Guild Wars fans, with the added extra of being able to choose a new elite spec and a new approach to the game and story. This obviously yields different results and a new experience altogether. I experimented with a number of the different specs however I found myself returning to my original characters; we all have our favourites, after all.
The new specs do offer a lot of additional options for mastery and a different approach to the world and the story. Using a different spec will ultimately change your game experience completely, offering a different perspective on the story and granting different rewards that you otherwise may not have obtained. So experiment if you want a new take on the world and a different feel of the storyline.
The more I got to grips with the new expansion, the more I felt Path Of Fire is the most impressive release of content for Guild Wars so far. The new areas offer vast and expansive opportunities to explore with plenty of secrets waiting to be uncovered. This accompanied with the new mounts is nothing short of exciting. Rather than the typical advantage of getting around faster, the mounts in Path of Fire each have their own unique ups and downs when it comes to their use in various situations. For example, one mount can jump large distances and another can use portals around the maps, the contrast really is insane but offers players the chance to choose which suits them most. In addition and almost as a compliment to the new ridable beasts I found the maps to be much larger in Path of Fire compared to the base game; giving mounts a purpose as opposed to being a cosmetic addition to your ensemble.
From a story perspective, the overall narrative in Path Of Fire is incredible, to say the least. I would even dare to say its the best one to date. I will spare the details so as not to spoil the twists and turns that come at the most unexpected points but be prepared for one of the most intriguing villains in the game’s franchise so far. I found the overall journey to be more of a cinematic experience; griping you tightly and keeping you engaged throughout, something I find can be missing from a lot of modern MMORPGs. It’s refreshing and you will have endless amounts of fun finding out what happens at each unexpected turn.
Path of Fire forces players to work together to complete the tougher bounties and offers greater rewards to reap. All in all the feel of the game is outstanding. There is less pressure to fulfil objectives and more of a feel of exploring vast terrain and wilderness teeming with rewards. By far this is the best expansion for Guild Wars and will far exceed the expectations set by the previous expansion offering hundreds of extra hours of fun.
What DLC expansion would be truly complete without the addition of new gear? And it’s safe to say that Path of Fire does not disappoint. There’s plenty of new gear that can be used to power up your characters with a host of opportunities for new players to jump straight in with a high spec character and still enjoy the amazing story in all its glory. All I can say is the story truly has hit the mark.
Reaching the end has a feeling of satisfaction and leaves certain parts of the plot open for future releases to pick up. The only thing that was really lacking is the vacancy of any major bosses along the way, at points where the story climax. A number of moments found me on the edge of my seat expecting to engage in a boss battle, it didn’t come. However, the bounties in the world make up for this with their randomisation making for plenty of opportunities for battle after the story is over.