Reviewed Edition – Xbox One X
ARPG Fans – Buy if you have not played it on PC and do not own a PC.
ARPG Noobs – Wait a month or two. Let the game get a bit more polish.
For those that do not know, the torchlight series is an action rpg much like that of the current Path of Exile and Diablo. What sets torchlight apart is it’s narrative and vibrant gameplay. To the core, it feels very much light a Diablo 2’s cow level but with a much colorful pallet. This review will focus on the single player aspect as I have yet to experience multiplayer yet. More on that later.
To set the perspective, I have put in an estimated 1000 hours in these types of games. I will say I started out with Diablo 2, moved on to Dungeon Siege 1 then 2, rocked out with Hellgate : London, went nuts with Diablo 3 and finished it off with Path of Exile. A month ago, I ran across an article saying Torchlight 2 is coming to consoles. I had never played a Torchlight game but I remember reading about the first and how good the formula was. I did a bit of reading on Torchlight 2 and found out that a huge portion of action rpg fans prefer it to Diablo 3. I told myself I must give this game a shot.
At $20 bucks, it was a no brainer to at least try it out. After work that day, I loaded up the game and like any other game, I went to the options menu. This is when I first realized it was a console port to the bone marrow. Not many games have very little options but this is one of them. No mind, I figured the game itself may have more to it. Indeed I was correct. Clicking on new game, I began.
First up, you are given your first rpg choices. The character selection screen spans 4 different main classes for you to choose. The menus do not go into much detail on the differences but give you the generalizations. The Berserker is a savage melee fighter who uses fist weapons and can summon spirit animals. The Outlander is an agile character who specializes in ranged weapons and “lore magic.” The Embermage is a powerful elemental spellcaster. The Engineer is a heavy melee fighter who can construct bots and has ember-powered armor that collects and releases energy charges in combat.Selecting you character also shows you the four main stat allocations between classes. I have been using this to know what and where to put those points later in the game.
After class selection, you choose what pet you would like to venture with. This was quite new and unexpected as non of the other games started off with a pet. You have quite a bit of choices here. Anything from a pug to a fairy. Later on, you can fish in certain locations to modify your pet appearance which also gives it a set of buffs.
One finished, you load into your first cutscene and eventually, your first map. I was pleasantly surprised with the presentation. To me, it looks far better than Diablo 3 or Path of Exile. Much like those games, you do start nearly identically by waking up. Moving my character around, I am met with my first quest.
This is where the game leans heavily on the Diablo style story telling. Quests givers are marked with the question mark and narrative is told the exact same way. I do not mind this as if it is not broken, do not fix it. It just works for this type of game. What Torchlight does do differently is the ability to select awards for quests.
Torchlight’s controls feel pretty standard and the learning curve was quite simple. It does someone fail in its implementation but I believe this to be the cause of porting it from PC to console. In explanation, in larger groups, you have little control of what to specifically target. Like Diablo and POE, you can choose a direction but are unable to lock on which is a pity. This also makes it difficult to loot certain containers or destroy some of the destructible environments.
What is cool is the ability to map any ability, skill, spell or potion to any of the mappable buttons. This is helpful as each class has three trees and you can dump points anywhere you wish as long as you meet the level gate. I also find it very cool as your pet, which you can obtain gear for, can also learn spells found as drops. This can really change the outcome of fights and comes in handy.
Story so far, not quite memorable but the gameplay makes up for it. I have been enjoying it but there are a couple bugs that I do find a bit game breaking for my play style. I love the random map generation and the huge differences between classes. You end up playing the game very differently between classes in terms of combat and builds.
Result: Good game and worth the cash. Those who are not a fan of this type of game but would like to try it, I do suggest waiting a month or two. I think the game will come to game pass and may be a bit more polished.