Genre: Action RPG
System: Xbox 360
Review by: Denoch
How long have you been waiting for the next installment of Diablo but can’t wait and still have an itch to play something remotely close? Well if you are a PC gamer then you have already tried Torchlight on Windows or the Mac via Steam, but for all those console gamers then it’s time to taste a little piece of heaven that all PC gamers enjoy. Torchlight is developed by the key personnel that brought you the Diablo series and led by Travis Baldree, designer of Fate. It is quite similar to that of Diablo and possibly a mini clone of the game itself. Don’t be afraid of the massive dungeon that is waiting to be explored.
Story- You begin your journey in the small town of Torchlight, where many adventurers travel all around the world in order to gain the magical element of Amber, almost like the California gold rush back in the 19th century. This “Amber” that everyone seeks is located in a dungeon below the town, but as you soon discover this element has risks and can corrupt anyone as you dwell deeper into this massive dungeon. When you first arrive, Syl hires you to help her search for her mentor, a powerful alchemist named Master Alric, little does she know that her mentor has already been drowned in corruption and it is know your duty to find Alric and eliminate him. The problem is that when you first entered the dungeon, it looked like tunnels of mines and as you go deeper you begin to realize similarities of old extinct civilizations while battling the corruption that can take over your body anytime, failure is not an option or the next civilization to go extinct will be yours.
Graphics- While I am not sure under what graphical category I should label Torchlight, one thing is certain, you will not be disappointed with the end results. In one instance you will face off against a ghost like skeleton, while being attacked in every directions by the undead zombies, all whilst you are shooting, spell casting and calling forth minions and it all runs smoothly without any hiccup. I did however stumble on a couple slow downs that made me think the game froze but the only two times it happened was when I destroyed an explosive barrel with enemies around it.
Gameplay- For those who have never played Torchlight on the PC, it is a top down action adventure, you can use your most basic attack with shooting a pistol, smashing heads with a mace or using your crossbows. There are three different types of characters to choose from, each with their own combat abilities. The first one is the Destroyer, a warrior that specializes in close combat melee and has some spiritual abilities to call forth magic effects. Then we have the Alchemist, a mage that can use different type of elemental powers and summon minions from the underworld to aid him in combat. Lastly we have the voluptuous Vanquisher who is an elite guard who is undercover in Torchlight and specializes in ranged weapons and can use traps against her enemies. All new magic abilities or passive powers can eventually be unlocked as you level up and can be mapped to your 360 controller making it easier to battle hordes of demonic creatures. You also have a pet that can help you, he can be a dog or an obedient creature that will always help you out, either by defeating monsters or making errands to the town, be warned that the deeper you go into the dungeon the longer it takes for your pet to come back. There are several checkpoints through the levels and convenient portals that can take you back to town and complete certain quests that are given to you by the town’s people.
Sound- For the most part these protagonists are the silent type that don’t say many words, with the exception of the few grunts and the occasional battle comments.
The music quality is one the things that impressed me the most, sound designer Matt Uelmen created original music for the game in which he used a twelve string guitar along with other instruments, he also used the pedal steel guitar in some of the other levels of the game. What intrigues me the most is that he actually made his music on the pacing of the game in which he personally observed gameplay and spent over 200 live takes. Now that is great dedication and a musical masterpiece available on the XBL Arcade.
Achieving Success- All Arcade games have a maximum of 200 gamer points, if you are a trophy/Achievement whore like me than you will find a way to collect every single one, the question is, how difficult are they in obtaining them. Well my verdict on the difficulty is 1/10, ninety percent are story related achievements and the rest are certain tasks, like sending your pet to town. Overall it is extremely easy and it shouldn’t be a hassle to get them all.
Wishes or Changes- The greatest gripe about Torchlight is the lack of online co op, this would be a perfect game to play with friends and wreck havoc underground. Next would have to be the difficulty level, even on hardcore mode where death means the end of the road and back to the beginning, it isn’t actually difficult to beat even on super hard. If the sequel is coming soon then co op and the difficulty need to go together, I mean who wants an easy game that can be beaten with your buddies, sounds boring to me. Last but not least, the story is a little hollow, its not bad at all but they could surely put more effort and more dialogue, keeping us engaged in the story as it unfolds.
TQ bottom line- The bottom line is that, if you are a fiend and can’t wait for a fix till Diablo III comes out then Torchlight is the best solution on consoles. Be warned that it’s not a perfect game but it sure does come close, and for only 1200 Microsoft points.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5 out of 5 Michelas!
Developer: Runic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios