Torchlight (360) Review
As fans eagerly await Blizzard’s action RPG, out came a title that was more of a love letter rather than direct competition to the Diablo franchise. Torchlight took everything that made Diablo so addicting and turned it into an even more accessible experience, all while keeping the core hacking/slashing and loot collecting intact. Does the game still hold up when using a controller, or should it have stayed a strictly mouse and keyboard affair?
For those uninitiated with Torchlight, the game is a dungeon crawler with a very forgettable story—even still, it's an excuse to delve deeper into the catacombs, kill a ton of monsters and beasts, collect massive amounts of loot, and unlock powerful skills. At your disposal is the warrior-like Destroyer class, which focuses on brute strength and melee weapons, the magic-using Alchemist with powerful ranged spells and buffs, and the Vanquisher, who disposes of her enemies from a distance with various guns and rifles.
Your quest will take you through 30+ floors of varying themes, from caverns to lava filled catacombs and ruins covered with lush flora. It's a moderate game in length—you can plow through the main story in about 3-4 hours—but Torchlight offers a healthy dose of side quests and extra hidden maps that should prolong your gameplay time quite a bit. After your complete the game, you can also take on the Shadow Vault, a series of random floors designed to test your skills and award you some very valuable loot. Feel like you had enough of your character and want to start anew? The retirement system will create a specialized heirloom of a selected item, which can then be used by your new character.
If you’re one of the skeptics that doubted the controls would translate well to a controller, rest easy. The whole interface was redesigned from scratch. Grabbing loot, comparing weapons and armor, and even managing your inventory has been completely redone for the XBLA port to ensure less frustration and more ass-kicking.
Primary attacks are mapped to the X button, which leaves Y, B, Right Trigger and Left Trigger customizable with any skills you acquire or learn. If four skills sound like a meager amount, a simple press of the D-Pad up or down will switch to another set of hot keys. The Left and Right Bumpers are Health and Mana respectively, and all other actions, such as interacting with characters and picking up loot, is done with the A button. The controls are perfect and make playing Torchlight with a controller a joy.
Man’s best friend makes a return; now you can choose from a Canine, Feline, or the new Lizard type companion. Not only do these pets help you fight and temporarily transform into various beasts when fed fish, but they also carry up to 50 items, which can then be quickly and easily sold off by sending them back to town while you keep adventuring.
There are few slight annoyances. For one, there is still no direct camera control aside from zooming in and out. Second is the inventory management screen. Although the controls are streamlined to easily compare armor and sell inferior loot, the inventory screen itself feels too cluttered. On top of that, you have to share the screen with your pets inventory, so things can get a bit messy. Possibly one of the biggest omissions was the complete lack of multiplayer. The PC port lacked this as well, and it’s one of Torchlight 2’s biggest draws, but even a local co-op mode would have been appreciated.
Torchlight is probably the closest thing to a Diablo experience on the Xbox 360. The perfectly translated controls and addictive gameplay makes this a must-buy for anyone with an affinity for loot hoarding. If anything, it serves as a great appetizer for the much-anticipated sequel.