Friday, July 22, 2011

Torchlight Review

Torchlight is an excellent hack n slash RPG that has made it's way from the PC in 2009 to being an arcade title for the Xbox 360. This is a nearly identical version from the one that came out two years ago except for the obvious transition from the keyboard and mouse to the controller. Combat is fast and bloody, loot drops are regular and varied, and the overall production values are rich with cartoonish visuals, as well as a catchy soundtrack that will keep you humming tunes long after you have shut down the game. This is basically the definitive RPG that you could hope for with levels upon levels of dungeon crawling for under $15.

The story is about your hero’s (One of three classes in the game.) adventure in the small mining town of Torchlight. You advance the story by going down the levels of the mine underneath Torchlight vanquishing the enemies in your path to reach the source of the evil troubling Torchlight. This game is made playable for every one. New players to the classic dungeon crawler formula will be able to choose an easy difficulty mode and cruise through the game with relative ease. Old hands who don't fear any enemies in Diablo can crank the game up and experience the full onslaught that happens below the town of Torchlight.


Torchlight isn't your standard hack n slash game, it brings humour and a casual nature into the genre. The art style is cartoony and the characters in the game have exaggerated body features such as abnormally large biceps which turn them from real world humans to heros of Torchlight. Animations are smooth and the controls work extremely well to deliver the constant action. The developers Runic Fate certainly like to mix things up. Everything here is exaggerated, from huge 360 spin killing blows that shower blood to monster pygmies that can leap across the screen and surprise you with an array of attacks. The dungeons are incredibly vast and unique and each level you progress into have landmarks such as waterfalls, mine shafts, flowing lava and ancient palaces. Not bad for dungeons which are randomly generated everytime you enter them.

The outstanding soundtrack is even more memorable than the visuals. The tunes cover a range that is all over the musical spectrum, including tension-building piano moments, dramatic deep tones, and a set of progressive rock tunes. This is one of those game soundtracks that resonates in your head long after you have finished playing. Gone are the days of the stock standard tune that slightly changes between the menu and the game, Torchlight delivers a memorable experience.


There is a pretty lackluster story that give a mediocre attempt at forcing you into the dungeons. The stock standard story of evil means you need to go and save the day by completing missions along the way. The basic format of Torchlight is you start, you run around town until you get to the fighting, after defeating some enemies, they drop items that are different and better than what you have, you decide what items you wish to equip, then sell or save what you don’t equip, decide if anything in the shops are worth buying, then go back to combat and rinse and repeat. For what may sound like a boring process on paper, Torchlight is a very exciting game and will keep you coming back to just progress through 'just one more dungeon'.

The range of magical enemies and loot they drop keeps adding to the amount of content in Torchlight. From the giant spiders to the bosses with ludicrous names such as Slag'Zanik the Cunning they just all add to the mystery which you must unearth. It is great to see that the inventory is back in full force after big name titles such as the Fable series have done their best to tone down the RPG genre to little more than fighting. Finding loot and selling unwanted items is super easy and the whole process will seem like a piece of cake for even the novice gamer.

If there are any criticisms I can give to the formula used in Torchlight is that there is an obvious lack of multiplayer. This game seems tailor made to play in co-op with a friend over Xbox live, yet it is a disappointment that this is a solo adventure you must undertake.


Torchlight doesn't try to revolutionize the RPG formula but is rather a pint-sized ode to the great RPG's of the past. For 1200 Microsoft Points this title offers some great value and will take at least 8 hours to complete the main quest and more as this game is addictive enough for multiple playthroughs. The only thing holding it back is that I can't experience it with a friend. Nonetheless this is an excellent title that should be considered if you are looking for a cheap dungeon crawler.

Graphics - 8.5/10
Sound - 9/10
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Overall - 8/10