Torchlight Review (360/PC)
There’s a massive dungeon crawling void in video games, this void has been there for a good long while. Many have tried to fill the void but have ultimately failed. Back in 2009 Runic games released Torchlight, the game was met with both critical and user praise, fast forward to 2011 and Torchlight is set to make its appearance on Xbox Live.
Replicating the addictive formula that made Diablo such a classic, Torchlight has become something of a Mecca for wandering Diablo fans. Torchlight doesn’t offer an engrossing or highly original story but does however set up players with the bare basics of pick a class go to town pick up quests go complete them. The game’s plot focuses on the town of Torchlight which is sat upon a mine which happens to contain a strong source of Ember (a powerful ore used to imbues items and people with magical power). In traditional fashion the town is having trouble with an ancient evil and through a number of events the player is dragged into the action, thus begins the dungeon crawling of the locations below Torchlight.
Torchlight features three classes to choose from such as the warrior like Destroyer or the rogue style Vanquisher and finally the Alchemist taking up the caster role. All three classes have a different play style and a huge selection of loot to compliment that play style. Destroyers may come off as something of a simple and uninspired way to play Torchlight but don’t be fooled. Although simple in terms of gameplay the Destroyer does offer some interesting skills and a forward way of playing the game, while being the best option for new comers to the genre (if they even exist at this point in time)the class still offers a solid experience for all audiences. The Vanquisher and Alchemist share similar play styles in the way most of their attacks are ranged by nature. The Vanquisher services as the general all rounder and offers the most varied style of play. The Alchemist offers the biggest challenge of the three classes but at the same times feels the most rewarding to play as, firing spells off at a group of goblins is always fun. All three classes are built upon an experience based system in classic RPG style. Experience is gained by completing quests (all of which are go kill and fetch quests) given by NPC’s in the town, killing enemies also earns experience as does taking down bosses (which also earn players fame). Classes learn a number of traits and skills via talent tree; this adds something to the replay value as well as a noticeable different between each classes play style.
The core gameplay will prove to be marmite. Spamming the X button to melee (or ranged depending on your class and weapon choice) attack your enemies from the first minute of the game to the last may be some people idea of hell however those coming into Torchlight with an understanding of the dungeon crawler genre. Basic attacks are broken up by special skills learned/improved via skill trees. This does add an extra layer to the combat and general feel to the game which is very welcome in a genre where games tend to fall victim to repetition. Of course killing enemies and questing isn’t the only elements of Torchlight as looting items is a focal point of the game. Taking the spoils of your efforts may sound like something of a dull activity but you’d be wrong. Torchlight has managed to take the same fun and compelling nature of collecting gear for your character from Diablo and implement into its gameplay. A neat little feature of Torchlight is the pet that accompanies on your journey that attacks enemies and carries items; players can command their pet to head back to town to sell any stored items. This is a minor feature but never the less a nice little touch to the game.
Torchlight’s visual style is quite striking; he cartoon like look manages to look quite innocent yet darkly detailed in places, it’s effective and nice to look at and makes sometimes dull environments more interesting than they should be. Character models are detailed and well animated for the most part however some models do tend to look a little lifeless (pre sword to the face)and almost jolty when attacking. It’s not a major issue and for the most part the weak animation only appears in rare cases. The environments don’t have a whole lot of range, mines and crypts end up looking too samey regardless of what floor the player is on. The repetition within the environments does end up dragging on towards the end of the game and even becomes a little frustrating. The same can be said for the games audio, the soundtrack is extremely limited to the point it fades into the background. There isn’t any range in terms of music nor is there any real stand out moments, voice over’s are limited to only key NPC’s and even the its only a sentence of voice over . The voice over’s are not an issue but the poor soundtrack comes off as something of a sloppy effort.
Torchlight offers a decent experience and will be enjoyed by Diablo fans and Dungeon Crawlers alike. Some people may find the game repetitive and even a tad dull due to a short range of environments and the nature of the gameplay. Torchlight doesn’t feature any multiplayer bar gifting items to friends; the lack of co-op feels like something of a missed opportunity but doesn’t take away from the games overall quality and value for money (1200MSP).
Torchlight has plenty to offer in terms of enjoyment and game time. The good by far eclipses the bad allowing Torchlight to be as enjoyable on Xbox Live as it was on the PC. Runic Games have done a fine job of carrying over their title and is cause for celebration for those who didn’t experience the game first time around. A highly enjoyable title and easily recommendable to all Torchlight is well worth investing your time and money into.
Thanks to Runic Games for supplying us with a promotional copy to produce this Torchlight Review.