Game Rant’s Anthony Taormina reviews Torchlight

When it comes to top down dungeon crawlers, Diablo is king. Or at least Diablo was king until Torchlight came along to fill the void between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. Now available on Xbox Live Arcade, Torchlight attempts to bridge the gap between the customization options of a PC experience and the streamlined controller presets of a console.

Does Torchlight give loot-crazed fans another excuse to play through the title, or is it like all of the other failed attempts to bring a great PC game to consoles? Read on to find out.

The concept of Torchlight is very simple, but becomes complex as the player begins to take into account the sheer amount of loot they will pick up, and the number of customization options at their disposal. Story-wise, the game follows the typical conventions of a newly arrived hero sent on a quest to clear the nearby dungeon of enemies, but it wasn’t the story that made Torchlight on the PC so popular, it was the gameplay.

Dependent on which class is selected (alchemist, destroyer, vanquisher), the gameplay can be more melee, ranged, or magic-based, making the experience different for each player. As the player increases in level their particular combat subset will be bolstered by a variety of spells/abilities with which to take down enemies. Even within a particular class, a player can imbue their character with completely different abilities than those of another player.

Torchlight XBLA Review - Gameplay

Enemy and level design in Torchlight is superb, but sometimes becomes a bit monotonous. Like most dungeon crawlers, you’ll get tired of looking at the same pathways after a time, but a new series of areas are always right around the corner. Often times you’ll get a sense of déjà-vu, and enemies will begin to repeat themselves, but it never continues for too long as boss fights add strategic depth and signal a new series of levels.

While the levels might get repetitive after a point, the sheer amount of loot one picks up in the game is going to give them plenty of micromanaging duties. Dropped on a purely random basis, weeding through each and every piece of loot provides a rich experience, and will be the area that pushes the game over the top for many players. Sure, there are going to be a ton of items that will instantly be sold for gold, but when one finds a unique weapon or piece of armor, it fuels that addiction again and again.

Where many players are going to be the most suspect of Torchlight is in how well it translates Runic Games’ PC experience to the console environment. While the title does a passable job of making spell casting and such easily accessible, it still feels like something is missing — especially in menu navigation.

Torchlight XBLA Review - Overseer Library

With so many options, both in spells/abilities and the loot collected, it’s easy to see the experience of weeding through them being much easier with mouse and keyboard. Still, by employing various streamlined options and allowing the player to load up several ability sets, Torchlight is never bogged down by its controls; it just requires a little more effort. As far as PC ports go, Torchlight ranks very high in pretty much every category.

There are, like most games, problems that can be found with Torchlight on the Xbox 360, but most of the problems were either present in the PC version or are very small in comparison to the amount of entertainment that can be had. It’s not perfect, and it certainly isn’t going to take away large amounts of your time, but there are plenty of ways in which to approach the game, each delivering a new result.

Like the PC version, Torchlight is just screaming for cooperative play, or at least some way to make the experience more rewarding. That, of course, is on the way for the sequel. If you’ve played Torchlight on the PC and have an inkling for another play through, then pop in the PC version. If, however, you were holding off on checking out the game because you wanted a much more streamlined console-style dungeon crawling experience, then Torchlight is definitely worth the price tag.

Torchlight is out now on Xbox Live for 1200 MS Points.

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