Torchlight was a breakout hit on PC in 2009. It’s a throw back to old school PC RPG’s, but adds modern sensibilities to make it more accessible. Whether this style of game is new to you or this is all old hat, you’ll find something to love in Torchlight. With all of its success, it has finally made a console release on Xbox Live Arcade. Is this long awaited version of Torchlight a daring dungeon or a moist basement? You play as one of three characters that fall into typical Fantasy game archetypes, but no matter which character you choose you can equip any weapon or armor provided you meet its level or skill prerequisites. There real differences are their appearance, the abilities you can choose as you level up. These abilities can be spells or special attacks. You also get to choose one of three pets. These helpful critters can do many helpful tasks such as going into town to sell unwanted items, leaving you free to carouse the dungeon for more. You can even teach them spells (who needs a cleric when you have Wuffles the wonder dog and his healing magic!)
Runic did an excellent job of cramming Mouse & Keyboard point and click controls into an Xbox controller, giving you complete control over your character. The power to attack, drink potions, pick up nearby items, and cast spells are all at your finger (and thumb) tips. The menus take some getting used to, but in no time you’ll be jumping into your inventory to see if that new piece of loot you picked up was worth killing a troll over. It’s the random loot that makes this game so addictive. You’ll pour over every item using your Identify Scroll’ on a items you’ll never equip. You’ll sell your useless crap and continue your quest for more, because you just know that around any corner, perhaps hiding in a treasure chest in a secret room, or guarded by a giant spider there is an epic gold drop weapon, it’s of the type that you “spec’d” your character for and it deals MASSIVE DAMAGE. Oh it’s out there and you’ll find it if you have to turn over every rock and discarded bone in the entire dungeon.
As you can probably tell I think this game is awesome, but two things keep me for giving this title a solid 5 stars. The first is kind of understandable considering it was absent in the first game, I’m talking about Multi-player. What good is collecting every piece of the Gorgon Spike Armor if you can’t show your friends? The second problem is a frame rate issue, it’s rare but sometimes when too many enemies are on the screen the game slows down and gets jerky. This problem may be fixed with a patch at some point but at the moment these frame rate hiccups stickout like a zit on prom night.
Torchlight has come to us at just the right time. Blizzard has been taunting us with images and video’s of Diablo 3, reminding us how awesome the original and its sequels were, but alas they break our spirits with their tired mantra “it’ll come out when it’s done”. Well Runic games has our back giving us the quality dungeon crawler we desire here and now. To say this game is a Diablo clone isn’t as insulting as it may seem when you consider many veterans of the Diablo franchise now work for Runic Games such as Max Schaefer and composer Matt Uelmen. Along with classic elements, Torchlight brings new features to the table like multi purpose pets and random dungeon portal scrolls that keep things fresh and interesting.
Gameplay 4/5: It’s awesome but no co-op
Graphics and Sound 4/5: Frame rate issues mar an otherwise great game
Value 4/5: You can get the PC version for the same price, but it’s still a good deal.
Overall 4/5: If you like a good Dungeon crawler, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one on XBLA.