An XboxHornet review by WDesm.
Torchlight is a dungeon spelunker action RPG that was originally released on the PC in 2009 to a blockbuster fan reception. After a few years of careful TLC, Runic Games has launched their superhit onto XBLA, and it is both worth the wait, and pleasantly sweet at a discounted price (1200 MSPoints on XBLA vs $20 USD on PC).
Most gamers’ first response to Torchlight will probably be a comparison to Diablo. Don’t be ashamed by this – after all, Torchlight was developed by the co-designers of Diablo I & Diablo II, as well as the PC game Fate. While the core game might seem familiar, it is definitely not old, as every facet of the classic dungeon-delving genre has been given enough randomization, loot collection, and character customization to be downright addicting, all while throwing you into massive brawls, oversized bosses, and dazzling High Definition spell slinging.
When starting the game, players are given the choice of one of three classes – the classic melee brawler, the “Destroyer”; the ranged-attack and trap-setting, the “Vanquisher”‘; and the magic- and summoning-focused “Alchemist”. Each class is accompanied by a permanent pet, who not only acts as a combat companion, but also as a mobile merchant, able to routinely run back to town to dump all of your unwanted gear. That feature, so gracefully dropped against a hundred other nifty inclusions, is worth it for any fan of action RPGS: Being able to dungeon dive without breaking momentum and not having to worry about your inventory filling up is a heavenly combination, and Torchlight nails it.
Torchlight’s single-player campaign is easily 10+ hours if you try to blister through it as fast as possible on your first try, but if you did so, you’d definitely miss the heart of the content – with tons of sidequests, optional “loot dungeon” map portals from vendors in town, a bonus dungeon after you finish the main game, and a retirement feature, this is a game that was meant to be played many different ways across many different classes. Multiple playthroughs are encouraged through both the shared inventory chest (where all your characters can swap loot their find), and the retirement feature, where a subsequent character gets a heirloomed superweapon and a small boost to fame (primarily a leaderboard stat).
Torchlight has lost a few small concessions in its drift to XBLA – while the loss of Runic’s wonderful game editor, TorchED, was expected, Torchlight XBLA also suffers from random slowdown and freezing. While both of these are rather rare, they are still frustrating to run in to, even if they don’t affect gameplay negatively (the game doesn’t skip frames to catch up, so the game essentially hangs for 5-10 seconds until you can play again). Another small gripe is the inability to map controls; the current scheme works reasonably well, but it is strange that you can’t rearrange your spells to be either all mapped to face buttons or all to shoulder buttons, instead of the default half-and-half.
Torchlight PC was the purest sequel to the Diablo-style of dungeon crawler, and even with a few small bugs and quirks, its XBLA release is a real must-have for anyone with fond memories of dungeon delving. Owners of the PC copy might not be as head-over-heels in a rush to pick it up, but if you have never played Torchlight before, pick up this copy today!
Game Score: 8/10.
Download a free demo of the game here.