Try the demo for ambitious top-down action RPG Last Epoch

Last Epoch is a "loot-based action RPG" focused on crafting and character-building. At least, it might be: at the moment, it's an ambitious idea seeking Kickstarter backing, with developer Eleventh Hour Games asking for $210,000 to bring it to life. At the time of writing, its campaign has raised $77,988 and will run for another 21 days. Luckily, it's already got a free demo you can try for yourself (the download link is at the top of the page, or try this page). 

Where recent Diablo successors like Path of Exile have found popularity by giving players a bazillion things to customize, it sounds like Last Epoch wants to build complex systems within simple ideas. Its class system, for instance, is something of a marriage of Diablo and PoE: you start as a basic class like a mage, rogue or knight, then upgrade to a branching 'master' class like paladin, bladedancer or sorcerer.

Likewise, it fleshes out its relatively small five-skill hotbar with involved skill trees, potentially allowing players using the same skills—let alone the same class—to play totally differently, with passive ability trees offering further fine-tuning.

Last Epoch's time travel story is similarly layered: the land of Eterra has been destroyed by the mysterious Void, so you visit the past to search for a way to beat the Void and save the present. So rather than one world, there are actually four: Eterra as it appears in the ruined, imperial, ancient and divine eras. Time travel also ties into the game's crafting-infused gear system, which lets you extract stat boosts called Shattering Stones from one item and apply them to another item—with a roll of the dice, of course. You can also deposit materials in 'eternity caches' in the past, fast forward to the future and collect your timeworn product, which is basically a legitimized version of the classic "change the in-game date" cheese. 

Eleventh Hour is promising action RPG staples like rotating in-game seasons and leaderboards, as well as less common features like full-fat PvP and five-person multiplayer. The studio plans to release a free trial version of Last Epoch and sell the full game for $15, with cosmetic items available via microtransactions. Eleventh Hour insists "no experience speed items, stat boost items, character boosts, or any other source of player power will be purchasable with real money."

Depending on the outcome of its Kickstarter campaign, Last Epoch is due out in mid-2020. Before its full release, an alpha is also planned for August 2018, along with a closed beta in April 2019 and finally an open beta in January 2020. 

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.