REVIEW: ‘Torchlight III’ A Slow Step Forward? (Xbox One)

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Torchlight III CoverTorchlight III is a top-down action RPG published by Perfect World and developed by Echtra Games. Now, I’m a fan of the Torchlight series. I’ve played the previous iterations, even reviewed Torchlight II. I was excited to play this entry in the series since it was originally known as Torchlight Frontiers and had a whole different take on the game. Yet even though it has changed, I can still say it’s a pretty decent game.

Torchlight III takes place after the events of Torchlight II, naturally. You have a rag-tag bunch of heroes to choose from: the ranged and summon-focused Sharpshooter, the balancer of light and dark magics Dusk Mage, the mechanical master of destruction the Forged, or Railmaster who can lay waste to enemies with their Train of Carnage. Personally, I chose to go with the Sharpshooter because it has been the class I’ve played in the past so I was familiar with the DPS summon class.

Character customization felt decent. Like its previous iterations, you don’t have a full-fledged customizable character, but the fact you hardly look at your character’s face in-game, it’s not that big of a deal. Every class, except the Forged, had gender options and a nice range of skin tones and hair options.

Once you’ve finished with that aspect of the game, you then chose from one of five relics: Bane which allows you to summon venomous spiders, Blood Drinker which heals you when you damage enemies, Coldheart which uses ice skills to crowd control and negate damage, Electrode to shockingly annihilate your enemies, and Flaming Destroyer for those who want to set the world aflame along with their enemies. Each has its own unique mechanics. I chose Coldheart, which has skills such as an icicle shooting shield, a shield buff, and even a bonus to using pistols later on in the game.

Once completed, you choose your pet which can be either an Owl, a Golden Retriever, or an Alpaca. Pets in Torchlight III have two objectives, assist the player and carry useless loot back to town for you. After picking a pet you choose a difficulty. There are five variations: Practice, Normal, Hard, Painful, and Ridiculous. Playing on higher difficulties results in bonuses to gear/potion luck, but comes with the trade-off of increased monster movement speed.

Torchlight III Sharpshooter

Gameplay in Torchlight was always fun, but in this iteration, it’s a bit clunky and sometimes downright annoying. There have been times I’ve tried to use attacks only for them to have significant lag, sometimes to the point that my character ends up just standing idle until I click the button again. The combat also at times feels a lot slower and stiffer than the past two games. Damage output on weapons feels like I’m tickling some stronger enemies more so than actually putting up a fight, even when having a couple of levels up on the boss or unique enemy. I feel like leveling up on higher difficulties should be more impactful, meaning I should get more than 1 point of experience from killing mobs. If I specifically chose to have a more challenging experience, it should be better rewarded.

Speaking of experience, I’m glad the Fame system is still in the game. Its perks are different from Torchlight II, but I like that it works like a free battle pass system. Torchlight III also has a pretty popular mechanic in this iteration, shrines. When you interact with a shrine, you get a timed buff that can range from an AOE pulse to movement speed. These shrines definitely come in handy at times.

Now let’s address the loot, this is an RPG after all. The loot in Torchlight III is quite balanced. You are usually guaranteed uncommons and rares from major bosses, but you also earn a decent amount of gold which you can then use at the Gambler to try your luck and get better gear. As you find legendary gear, you will able to break some of them down and equip them in your Legendarium, where that item will trigger a passive buff, which is reminiscent of Diablo III‘s Kanai’s Cube.

The skill system in the game is still the same as previous iterations in the Torchlight franchise. You gain a point every level with new skills opening up every 5 levels until a cap at level 20 in which you have everything unlocked. As you level up, you can invest in skills, making them stronger and triggering unique passives such as letting your Pet shoot icicles as well when using Coldheart. In the past, there wasn’t a way to reroll your skills unless you made a new character, but in Torchlight III you can earn the item called, Respectacles, which allows you to regain a skill point. This item is so helpful especially when you want to just test out a skill or you accidentally invested too many points in a particular skill.

There is a single-player and online multiplayer in Torchlight III. Single-player difficulty does translate over to multiplayer difficulty, and if you change it in one section it’s permanently changed for both. I’ve personally been enjoying the single-player, just getting to enjoy the game at my pace. But the lack of being able to pause the game makes it quite hard to multitask at times. I’m glad there’s a portal system that can be used whenever to escape from any situation and it’ll take you back to town or to your fort. 

Torchlight III fort

Speaking of the fort system, this is new to the Torchlight franchise. Within the fort, you are able to do various things such as crafting, placing monuments you earn, and decorating your fort to represent you. There’s also the mechanic of foraging for raw materials to use in your fort to craft items to place as well. It’s a rather deep system that would take quite some time to get used to and make yours.

Overall, I have to say Torchlight III is in an ok-ish place right now. I hope that things will feel a bit better once I get some friends together and see what the next update has in store. But, as of right now, if you’re a fan of this game, pick it up now. If you’re on the fence about it, watch some streams and then make your decision. Torchlight III has the potential to be a great ARPG like Diablo III or Path of Exile, but right now it does need a bit more polish.

Torchlight III will be available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 13th, 2020.

Torchlight III
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overall, I have to say Torchlight III is in an ok-ish place right now. Torchlight III has the potential to be a great ARPG like Diablo III or Path of Exile, but right now it does need a bit more polish.