Torchlight Review (XBLA)

Game Review: Torchlight
Release: 03/09/11
Genre: Action/RPG
Developer: Runic Games
Available Platforms: PC, XBLA
Players: 1
MSRP: 1200 MSP
ESRB Rating: Teen

When Torchlight came to PC last year it was a surprise hit. It got great reviews from nearly every gaming site on the web (including one from PN). Runic Games had delivered a low price, high quality action/RPG to the PC. Now Runic Games has brought Torchlight to the XBLA for a whole new set of gamers to enjoy.

Torchlight is an action/RPG and you won’t forget that fact for one second while playing. If you’re looking for a deep and involving story, go someplace else. If you’re looking for complex puzzles to break up the core gameplay, you won’t find them. If you’re looking for near perfect action/RPG gameplay with TONS of loot to find, lots of powers to gain, endless monsters to kill, and infinite dungeon floors to explore you’ve found your game.

There are 3 classes to play in Torchlight. The Destroyer is the big melee brute of the bunch. If you want to wield giant weapons and get in close for the kill, this is your class. The Alchemist is focused on using magic. Shooting magic bolts and summoning pets to do the fighting is the Alchemist’s specialty. Last is the Vanquisher, who is best with ranged weapons like bows or guns. They also get special traps that shoot fire or bullets. You will choose a pet (dog, cat, lizard thing) who will journey with you. Your pet can help in battle, hold onto items, and even run off to the store to sell unwanted items while you continue hunting monsters.

As you can see, the three classes vary greatly and you can pick one that matches your play style. There is even some flexibility within the classes. I personally like pet classes so I would focus on upgrading the Alchemist’s summoning abilities. You might be more interested in using his more offensive abilities. Or you could have a mix of both. There are also items you will find while playing that will teach you additional spells to provide even more customization. Your spells, upgrades, and loot can be used to make your character exactly what you want them to be.

When a PC game is released onto consoles, controls are always a concern. Fortunately they are great for Torchlight on the 360. Your abilities are mapped to the B, Y, RT, and LT buttons. The D-pad allows you to switch between two sets of assigned abilities. That means 8 abilities can be assigned and used at once. The setup is easy to learn and won’t get in your way when you are facing hordes of enemies. The inventory system was also redesigned for the 360 and is very easy to use.

What makes Torchlight great is its focus on the core action/RPG gameplay. Runic Games has nearly perfected the formula for dungeon crawling. Killing monsters is fun from the first hour till the last. You are always getting newer, cooler loot to put on your hero. You get more powerful abilities that can change your whole strategy. Torchlight keeps the new stuff coming often to keep you wanting to kill just one more monster.

That focus on the core gameplay does stifle the variety of the side quests in the game. It would have been nice for some more changes of pace during the game. Also, and I know Runic Games is tired of hearing this, but co-op would make this game perfect. It feels like a co-op game. Luckily Torchlight 2 will address this problem when it is released sometime this year.

Runic Games successfully made Torchlight just as fantastic on the 360 as it was on PC. The different classes let you play the game to fit your style. There is more loot than you could ever hope to collect. For 1200 MSP Torchlight has a ton of content including an infinite dungeon after you finish the main story. It’s one of those games you find yourself playing at 2 AM without realizing it.

– fantastic dungeon crawling action/RPG gameplay
– wide range of play styles
– doesn’t miss a step compared to PC version
– would like a little more game play variety
– needs co-op

Rating 9/10

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