Next Wednesday sees the release of Torchlight on XBLA. Torchlight originally came out on PC in late 2009 as a downloadable title and quickly gained a huge following. So does it survive the transition to Xbox 360?
Torchlight is a top-down RPG with cel-shaded (cartoony) graphics. There are three stereotypic-RPG classes to choose from; a warrior class, a mage class and an archer class. I found this to be disappointing, I would hope they would of come up with some new and interesting classes, I suppose people have got used to the normal RPG classes that everyone is sticking with them. One interesting thing I found was you could choose what type of animal your pet is; dog, cat or a reptile. This has absolutely no gameplay effects but does add a nice customisable touch.
When you have created the character, you appear at a town called Torchlight, the town is be besieged by beasts from the mines nearby. You can talk to the people in the town, they are either talking about quests which you can take on or are selling you items. One of the first things that really struck me though is the art-style. The game is beautiful, the models detailed and the animations crisp. Although it took a while to hit, I realised that the game looked a lot like Warcraft titles, almost identical I would say. The top-down view didn’t help the games case in this matter as that just made it look more like Warcraft III. So onto the gameplay.
Once you enter the dungeon you are thrown in with a few enemies to show you the ropes. It’s a very good control scheme, X is reserved for a standard swing and A is reserved for picking up loot. There is an R-trigger attack which is more powerful, but takes your mana. Your mana will either recharge on its own or through the help of some potions which make it recharge quicker. Later on in the game you earn abilities and these can mapped to the Y- and B-buttons as well as the L-trigger. Some of these abilities are very useful and some of them you just want to show of off because of how awesome they are.
The best thing by far about Torchlight is the gameplay, it’s so addictive. You say to yourself I will do one more dungeon or one more level-up and 2 hours later you’re still on it hacking away at those enemies. Which brings me onto the worst thing about the game, it feels way too much like a button-masher. When there are a controllable number of enemies, you can be very precise and go after the bigger ones first. But when there are lots of enemies on screen, mainly during the boss battles, you can’t actually see your character sometimes. This leads to a frenzied mashing of buttons until the targets are dead or you are.
The story is there, I think. I say this because you literally get thrown into a dungeon because of one line of dialogue and this happens again and again. The only reason you seem to be going into these dungeons is because if your character didn’t he would simply just sit around in Torchlight and probably graffiti everywhere. It’s almost as if he’s been given a command by his elders to do this because they felt like keeping him out of trouble. This very thin story-line isn’t helped much by the voice acting, I swear on one part that the actor was going to burst out laughing if the audio recording carried on. There is a slight diversion from the story-line in the form of side-quests, these act as a nice little distraction but they are basically more of the same.
For all the reasons I have stated above, I would love to give Torchlight a bad review score, and I would of. The problem is just how addictive the game is, I found myself thinking “why am I playing this?” I could be playing something with a proper story-line. Then shrugging and continuing playing. If you are looking for an RPG with story and emotion go for Fallout, if you are looking for an addictive game without story at all then go for Torchlight. It will keep you entertained for hours and hours. It’s so addictive that even though it’s got a lot of flaws I’m going to give it a…