Torchlight a dungeon crawler that released in 2009 on the PC, and is finally having a go on consoles with its release on the Xbox 360. It’ll be available March 9th at around 1200 MS Points.
You start in a city called Torchlight, the city serves as your basic overworld, which is full of shops and quest-giving NPCs. The main quest revolves around a mysterious substance called Ember that is found in the mines underneath the city. The thing about Ember is for some odd reason it has a way of corrupting everyone who gets near it, and it’s your job to find out where the trouble is coming from.
Torchlight comes sporting fantasy themed art, and while it is noticeably generic, it manages to come off as charming and endearing. Still, the overall style feels like I’ve seen it everywhere, but that doesn’t stop the people at Runic Games from pumping this game full of different art styles. In the mine of the town, which is where most of the game takes place, after every 5 floors you go down the art style is completely changed. That’s not all, a lot of the enemy types change up too, and some will level up and get stronger with you.
To highlight the not so awesome, Torchlight, like every other game, has a few problems. For one, the frame rate for the most part is great, but it will hiccup somewhat often. Also, the implementation of being able to zoom in with the right stick is damn near useless. While zoomed in your visibility basically turns to zero, and it just feels like the right stick could have been used for more spell hot keys.
To say I was skeptical about the controls when I heard Torchlight was coming to the 360 is an understatement. I thought it would be neigh impossible to be able to port the dungeon crawl experience onto a console with its limitation on controller inputs, but I was wrong.
The way Runic Games make use of the controller is brilliant. The two left triggers, as well as the Y and B buttons are all hot keys for spells that you can change at any time. You can also change the change the set of spells by cycling through using the D-Pad. The A button is basically what you use to pick up all the insane loot you get from killing monsters, and the X button is your standard melee attack. The two bumpers are your Health (LB) and Mana (RB) potions. The way potions are set up is impressive as well. Instead of just having one type of the potion set up for hot key the game stacks them all together, and just uses whichever you need more based on how much health or mana you have. For the style of gameplay Torchlight is going for, I can’t stress enough how well the control scheme works. Torchlight feels right at home on the controller, and that’s an impressive feet.
Like I mentioned above, Torchlight is a very Diablo-esque dungeon crawler/loot grab, and there are mad loots. Throughout the whole game all you’re doing is going down level by level in the town’s mine, and collecting loot from the monsters you kill. Like in many games of this type, you get the best supplies from loot drops. One thing you’ll be looking for constantly is armor drops, and that’s because armor is the only way to customize your hero. Every armor type (for example Leather, Scale, etc.) looks the same, so it’s easy to make your character look consistent. Most of the time, you’re always looking for things to make your character look like a badass, and for the most part that’s not terribly hard to do.
Overall the music is very somber and it portrays the tone of the game near perfectly. There is a fantastic mix of string and horn instruments, and they play off each other very nicely. While playing the game though it is a bit hard to actually remember the music, but that’s because the gameplay is so sublime.
On the other hand, some of the sound effects do get a tad annoying. I’m playing as the Alchemist class and one of his spells is to summon a golem. That’s all fine and dandy, but every time the thing takes a step it makes the same noise, and I’m not a fan of repetition. Almost the exact same thing happens with the animal that stays by your side. At random times the animal will make a grown noise, and it’s almost always the same clip.
I can see Torchlight grasping people from anywhere to hours or days. The compulsive nature of loot will keep me coming back that’s for sure. Not to mention, after you beat the main story line, you open up a dungeon that has an infinite amount of levels. Also, after opening up the dungeon, there are two new NPC characters that both give you quests that you finish in the new area. With 35 levels in the dungeon to conquer, and a handful of side quests to tackle there is an abundance of content here.
The sad note is there is no online co-op. This really stops the game from hitting the hardcore addiction level you get with other games.
15 – Overall, the graphical style works great within the context of Torchlight.
- -2 – Some minor frame rate problems
- -3 – Lack of utilization of the right analog stick
20 – A game like Torchlight on a game pad I didn’t think was possible, but it works oh so well.
15 – Summary
- -5 – If some of the sound effects didn’t get in the way it would be fantastic, but the repetition of some sounds is like nails on a chalk board.
15 – I love loot grab games to death, and this sits atop the best of them. I can see myself playing this for hours apon hours.
- -5 – The lack of any co-op is a major disappointment. Considering the fact that the game came to PC in 2009 and had no online then I guess I can’t complain, but it still sucks nonetheless.
Torchlight is a type of game that many people never would have thought would work well on a console, but this proves them all wrong. From its addictive nature as a loot grab to its intriguing, but never really fulfilled story, Torchlight still has the qualities of a great game.