Featured Torchlight

Published on March 17th, 2011 | by Ben Gray


Review: Torchlight

Release Date: March 8th 2011 Genre(s): Role Playing Developer: Runic Games Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Rating: Teen [Rating:8/10] Torchlight Torchlight was one of those games I knew existed but knew little about. I fell in love with the demo of the game on PC but because of my horribly sluggish computer, I couldn’t run it to such an extent that it would run smoothly throughout. When the Xbox Live Arcade version released, I was overjoyed that I was finally able to play this game properly. After playing the game for at least a good ten hours, I have yet to finish all the quests, find the best weapons and conquer all the dungeons. You see, Torchlight is massive, but sometimes too big for its own good. The game is a top down, dungeon crawler that sees you battling your way through a multitude of dungeons below the town of Torchlight to heal yourself from the Ember as well as cure another protagonist that has turned evil because of it. Let’s start off by saying that the game is massive; there are about fifty floors below Torchlight alone to fight your way through, and the environments become more sinister with every floor down. Of course, it was never as simple as trawling through empty caves now, was it? You will be forced to battle your way through tons of enemies to get through a single level alone; shooting and looting your way to higher levels and better equipment. There’s plenty of variety in Torchlight, whether it be your weapon, the enemy you face or the world around you. There’s rarely a moment in the main quest line where you find yourself in familiar territory constantly. The problem is what happens when you’re done? There will be some players out there that will find Torchlight quite repetitive, quite fast. Simply killing enemies over and over, working your way through five floors of the same appearance may get tiresome fast, which is why the game, like most role-playing games on the market, requires an element of dedication and endurance from the player, which is rewarding in the long run. Weapons get progressively better, as do the monsters that you face, and that sense of treasure hunting that the game revolves around kept me and others interested throughout; finding that better weapon, enchanting it with certain effects, learning new skills or equipping improved armour – if you find something good, there will probably be something better out there somewhere.


Who's trollin' now?

The town of Torchlight is where you will receive the majority of your quests from, and although the town may be small, the amount of quests to be tasked and completed is absolutely massive. There isn’t that much variety in quests, usually it’ll be killing a certain enemy or obtaining an item, but it makes sense given the mechanics and style of the game – straightforward bloodshed and scavenging. Completing these feats and ridding the dungeons of their habitants will earn both experience and fame, and with that comes points you can allocate to skills and attributes. You can really nail down your character to a specific play style or specialization – whether you prefer close quarters combat or picking off enemies from the safety of range, whether you prefer using spells instead of bullets, you are given the option to take whatever path you choose, and that is reflected. The camera can be panned in and out, and it almost feels like two different games when playing completely zoomed in and completely zoomed out. Surprisingly, the game’s quirky art style is not affected at close zoom, but panning out allows a better view of what’s ahead, and the last thing you will want to do is run into a pack of Dark Zealots you didn’t see coming. The Health and Mana meters work well in conjunction with potions obtained frequently throughout, as you can refill on either quickly with the tap of the bumpers. Speaking of that, the controls are very easy to pick up, with just a simple control scheme for attacking, interacting and casting spells. There are only three problems I found wrong with Torchlight. The first is that the game has no multiplayer support, which may be off-putting for some but doesn’t take away from what is a great game, and multiplayer is promised for the sequel, which will hopefully arrive on XBLA also. The second problem is that after a while, especially once you’re done with the main quests, is that dungeons are reused and territories traversed can become very familiar, so the game starts to lose its sense of discovery. Thirdly, as previously mentioned, for some this game can get repetitive, as killing enemies over and over can only entertain for so long.


Sinister indeed.

But despite this, Torchlight is the best role-playing game on Xbox Live Arcade. Its sheer magnitude and value for money makes it a satisfying purchase and is up there with the best. Runic Games have successfully transferred a PC experience onto consoles with perfect execution. With the sequel closer than you think, the negatives could be ironed out to make Torchlight the best it can be.

The Good

  • More quests than you can shake a stick at
  • A massive progression system
  • Plenty of variety throughout

The Bad

  • No multiplayer support
  • Dungeons occasionally reused
  • Sometimes repetitive

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