Kieran goes thirty-three levels underground in his review of the recently-released Xbox LIVE Arcade action-RPG, Torchlight.
The game was played and reviewed on Xbox 360. However, the game is available also on PC.
Originally released in 2009 for the PC, Torchlight has now been excellently ported to the Xbox’s virtual Marketplace.
In this action RPG, you fill the boots of an inquisitive hero looking for fame by scouring the mines in the poorly placed town of Torchlight. Torchlight was built on top of a mine, filled with skeletons, beasts and ghouls. The town itself is the business side of the game and features shopkeepers to sell or buy loot, quest givers and enchanters. The action end of the game is all underground, deep in the mines of Torchlight.
If you’ve played Diablo (which I personally have not) you will understand and appreciate the style of game this is. The whole point to this action RPG is to go deep in the mines, find the best loot and then sell it, use it or give it to finish a quest. However, in your way are thousands of enemies that need to be struck down. By taking down your never-ending opponents you not only gain XP that you can then use to rank up your strength, magic, defence and dexterity, but you also gain skill points that can be used to unlock or upgrade special attacks that requite mana or extra XP or gold. After completing quests or slaying the level’s bosses you also gain fame, which besides unlocking achievements really doesn’t serve a purpose.
When you first start the game you are given the option of which character to start with. Each one has their own skills, abilities and preferred weapons. Not only does this encourage re-playability but it can also distinguish your character. You also get to choose which pet you would like as your sidekick. The pet is awesome; you can use it to carry your items, attack the enemy alongside you, you can even teach your pet magic spells that it can use in the battlefield. The extremely interesting gameplay mechanic is that your pet can “Go To Town”. By sending your pet to town it goes away for a minute to sell all the items you’ve given it. This is great when you are thirty three levels underground and don’t want to come back to the surface just to do basic inventory management.
While a lot of console ports leave a lot to be desired, Torchlight is fantastic. The controller layout works perfectly. The only problems are the horrible slowdown that you will experience because of the masses of enemy opponents all trying to kill you. On harder difficulty this can be a very big problem as you cannot time your attacks very well. On the easier difficulties however, the game is a little too easy, which is why I would recommend a Normal difficulty play-through.
The overall look of the game isn’t going to win any awards, but it has a nice cartoony feel to it. The camera also features the ability to zoom in and out, but because of the plethora of enemies attacking, having the camera fully zoomed out is recommended.
The game features very little dialogue, with the majority only from main characters at the end of what you would call an “Act” and some narration at certain points throughout the game. All other communications are done through a scrolling portion of text on the screen. The music in the game is very well done, but by itself can be a little too loud and overshadows the sound effects. Luckily this can easily be turned down and/or off.
Torchlight sadly features no co-op or mulitplayer modes, which is a shame as it would be awesome to tear up the Orden Mines in spilt screen or together with some multiplayer action.
While not the most original game, it is great to finally see this genre on console. Overall, Torchlight is a very good game that just misses the mark on story and multiplayer. It controls perfectly which is somewhat rare in console ports. For fans of Diablo, and any other action-RPG, this is a must for the collection.
Gameplay is great. It’s fun and has great replay value what with the different characters and their skill sets. My major let down is that the gameplay can get a bit repetitive.
Music and Sound
The music is fitting and well done. At first the music can seem a little too loud, but this is easily fixed. The lack of voice acting is also a negative.
While the story line and whole plot is weak, it manages to hold the game together and keeps the game flowing decently.
While not stunning, the art-style is interesting and stands out more than the actual graphics.
As Torchlight features no multiplayer, it is not being reviewed on this criteria.
It’s not often you see fluid controls on a console port, but in Torchlight the controls work very well.
|7.3 / 10
While not at all original, Torchlight is amazingly fun for someone who is realatively new to the genre like me. Fans of action-RPGs should check it out while waiting for the highly-anticipated Diablo 3.