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Torchlight – Review

Xbox Live Arcade title
Release Date: March 9th 2011
Price: 1200MSP
Singleplayer: Yes
Multiplayer: No
Co-op: No

Diablo is a game that spawned a massive hardcore following of button mashing and loot loving gamers, but oddly our beloved console as been a little short on such titles.
Now though Runic Games have brought their 2009 PC sleeper hit onto our console in the form on an Xbox Live Arcade port, and it has made the transition to controller well and provides all the loot collecting you could want.

The story follows one of the three character classes you pick at the beginning: Destroyer, Alchemist and Vanquisher (Read: Warrior, Mage and Rogue) and has you venturing into the town of, well, Torchlight which acts as a hub for your aventures. A quick wander around all the handy merchants and you find yourself dragged into a quest to go help some random warrior in some random dungeon. Right.
And that’s essentially it. Along the way you’ll find an evil plot by an even more evil enemy, but the villains and heroes as so largely forgettable and the plot so simple you won’t really give a damn about it, instead you’ll just know it means you have to go down another four or five levels into the never-ending randomly generated dungeons.

However, and intriguing plotline is not what you would be buying this game for. No, you’re buying it for the gameplay, and that’s something Torchlight does well.

As you venture through the randomly generated dungeons you’ll be using the games combat system for around 90% of your gametime, and it’s a rather simple one at that. Torchlight is a button masher at its core with X being the standard attack button while five of your other buttons can be taken up by any of the many special skills and abilities your characters can gain. The move from PC to console shows a little here as the controller just doesn’t have enough buttons to accommodate all those skills you can unlock, but it does encourage you to specialise a bit more. Runic have combated this by allowing you to swap between skill sets by tapping the D-pad and it proves to be a big help.
There’s no dodge or block here, so ultimately Torchlight is the very definition of button mashing and while a little strategy and though is added through the skills and abilities of characters it’s really a case of spamming button until everything dies.
Once you get your character levelled up and he or she is a death-dealing machine this button mashing can be pretty fun as the screen lights up with attacks and hordes of enemies are on-screen, but regardless of shiny lights it does become a repetitive experience after a while.
It’s also worth noting that the game often can’t quite handle the sheer amount of mayhem on-screen.


Once you’ve happily reduced everything to a bloody pulp in a dungeon you’re going to be left with a hell of a lot of loot to collect and admire, and next to levelling up that’s the most addictive part of game.
Enemies can drop anything from weak pistols to swords so insanely powerful that God himself hides behind the couch, and you’ll have to wait a few levels to even get to use them.
The actual amount of loot on offer is….lets just say it’s big. You’ll get to pick from swords, staffs, maces, guns, bows, pikes, and plenty of more so there is something for everyone, and you can gift any of your hard-earned loot to your friends as well.

Once you’ve beaten everything up and claimed the loot you’ll most likely be able to level up as well, and Torchlight is generous in this area with level-up’s coming thick and fast. The result is a system that leaves you wanting just one more level up before you stop playing for the day.
The amount of skills and abilities you can invest your hard-earned points in is impressive with each character an array of skills unique to them. The skills and abilities are divided into tiers, and you need to be a certain level or higher to access those tiers, but out in a solid five or six hours of play and you’ll have access to all the tiers, and with a vast amount of levels in the game if you keep playing you could have every skill unlocked with several points into each of them.

It’s ironic that Torchlights biggest strength is its biggest weakness as well: the gameplay, by its very nature, is repetitive with no real variety. You might face bigger enemies, or get cooler loot but you’re always going into another dungeon – and even randomly generated they do begin to feel rather samey – and button mashing your way through to claim the loot, level up and complete another cut and paste mission.
Doubtless lovers of Diablo will be enthralled with it and sink vast amounts of hours into Torchlight, but for many others the repetitive nature of the game may begin to put them off after the ten-hour mark as you begin to realise that there isn’t much else to this game.

Other problems and complaints rear their head as well. From the highest point of its top-down view Torchlight looks decent, but get in close and it’s lacking in texture and detail.
Your pet also has terrible pathfinding skills. Often he or she just gets stuck in a separate corridor, or can’t find a way to you. The enemy AI is almost as daft at points as well.
Picking up specific items amid the pile lying on the floor is a pain the in the butt as well. You’ll find yourself shuffling around trying to get into the precise position to let you pick up said item.

Torchlight is the ultimate dungeon crawler for Xbox 360, and a perfect for Xbox Live Arcade. In its genre it stands out as a superb example of how to do it, and no game since Diablo itself has captured the loot system so well, but outside of its hardcore genre following Torchlight is a repetitve game for most other people.

The Good:
+ SHINY LOOT!!!!
+ Each character feels different.
+ Infinite dungeons

The Bad:
- Kill, loot, repeat.
- The story is….lacking.
- Where did my pet get to this time!?

Scores:

Graphics: 7
A pretty art style make up for the fact that, technically speaking, this game is lacking a little.

Sound: 7
The music is almost so Diablo it hurts, and it’s still good to listen to, but otherwise the sound effects aren’t anything special.

Story: 6
A story populated with instantly forgettable characters and little plot to back it up.

Gameplay: 8.5
Both its strongest feature and its biggest weakness. The gameplay in Torchlight is addictive and fun, but very repetitive. Simply put hardcore dungeon crawling fans will be addicted, while most of the other players will get fed up after a while.

Lifespan: 8.5
randomly generated dungeons and heaps of loot mean this game has an almost infinite lifespan. The actual main story missions will take around 6-8 hours, but there are some side-missions to take on as well.

Overall: 8
A game well suited to Xbox Live Arcade, and one that fills the void that Diablo fans have had for a while.

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About Baden Ronie

I always hate writing about myself, it's such a pain in the ass to know where I should start. I'm twenty-two years young and love to play, as you may have already guessed. When WolfsGamingBlog.com started up it was simply because I found writing to be a good form of stress relief for when my Cystic Fibrosis was getting me down or simply because I had been having a bad week. When I started writing I never dreamed that people would actually read it, or that it would ever get this big. It's mind boggling. My writing isn't the best, but through trial, error and the comments of readers I strive to improve it so I can provide fair reviews. My ultimate goal is to prove that not everyone in the gaming media are corrupt idiots intent on delivering false reviews. Other than that I'm a fully qualified lifeguard and used to teach first-aid and life-saving skills to kids. What more is there to say? Hmmm, well I love music, reading and films. I'm a drummer, enjoy going swimming and tend to get distracted by shiny objects. Is that a fifty-pence?

8 comments on “Torchlight – Review

  1. I had never played Torchlight, but decided to download the demo off of Steam ahead of the Xbox release, and I have to say I’m hooked. Great game. Though now I may skip the Xbox version and just buy the PC version off Steam.

  2. It’s pretty fun for a short romp, but it gets old very, very quickly. Not to say it wasn’t well put together though, it’s a pretty good game altogether. It simply came across as way monotonous.

  3. Great game. Basically a hold your pants while you wait for Diablo 3 :)

  4. Very nice game, but 1200MSP for 6 hours? I think I’ll wait until it gets discounted!

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