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Torchlight III

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 22 - 2020

An action RPG that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best.

 
The action RPG genre is packed with games, and all of them have been compared to Blizzard’s Diablo. It’s not really fair, but Diablo has dominated the action RPG genre for such a long time that it is sadly inevitable. While many of these other action RPGs bring their own ideas or their own tweaks on the formula, very few of them can actually measure up. One that has been able to compete is the Torchlight series, from Runic Games. With two entries, Torchlight brought its own flavour to the action RPG genre and proved to be a huge amount of fun. Now we have the third entry in the series, a game which has had a bumpy road to release. Torchlight III has been developed by Echtra Games and is now available on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam. The anticipation for this sequel has been high, but can Torchlight III replicate the success of its predecessors?

 


 
Off the bat, it is obvious to see that Torchlight III is following the same formula as the previous games, which includes being quite different. The game begins with the player having to choose a character, a relic and a pet. The choice of character is where the player will first notice the differences from more regular action RPGs. Whereas a stealthy thief, heroic knight or brute force barbarian may have been available in most games, in Torchlight III there is a walking woodburner and a beefy railway employee. Okay, maybe that simplifies things a bit. The player is able to choose from a Forged, which is like a steampunk robot thing, a Railmaster, big guy with big hammer, a Dusk Mage, or a Sharpshooter wielding a bow and arrow. They are all a bit different and come with their own special selection of abilities and equipment.

 
From there the player will choose a magical relic which will give them further abilities of a particular type, such as fire or ice. Finally, before starting the game proper, there is a choice of pet. The pet aspect has always been one of the highlights of Torchlight for me. These companions can not only help out during combat, but also carry loot and even pop back to town while the hero continues exploring, and sell everything they are carrying. There are only a couple that the player can choose from, but plenty more pets will become available through the course of the game, and unlike the class or relic, players can switch between them as they wish.

 


 
Then it is time to hop into the hack n slash gameplay, laying waste to hundreds of monsters in the search for loot, or objectives. The story is not really much to write home about, but it moves the player on from one mission to the next, all of which are quite easy to follow as they explore further and further into this world. It can sometimes be easy to miss the traversal point to the next area that the player needs for their objective, but the exploration is fun and the world is packed with enemies to kill and loot to collect, so a little extra time exploring is no big deal.

 
As the player levels up they will receive points to spend in various skill trees. These include a tree for both class skills and runic skills, and the player is able to not only purchase new skills that can be assigned to button presses if they are active, but they can also level up existing skills to make them more powerful. While they are not the largest skill trees in the world, they do give plenty of options for the player to create the character that they want to play.

 
The other way to improve the character is through loot, of which there is plenty. From new weapons to new pieces of armour, which for the Forged can often mean a completely new look, players will come across an astounding amount of loot and will be eternally grateful for the chance to send their pet back to town on selling trips. However, the loot comes up so quickly that players will find it difficult to get attached to any one piece of gear, as they will be changing it a few moments later when something better comes up. This is especially galling when something legendary drops early in the game, as players will know they won’t be keeping this colour coded loot for long.

 


 
Through the course of the campaign, players will fight hundreds of varied monsters, along with more tricky elites and bosses. They will head down into dungeons, and explore different overground environments. Interestingly, there is even a base building distraction in Torchlight III, where the player can equip and decorate their own little space in the Torchlight III world. It’s an odd part of the game, involving resource collecting and crafting, that has small appeal but doesn’t bring much else to the game.

 
Visually, Torchlight III is impeccable. The games have always had their own style and looked very distinctive, but this sequel has pushed the boat out with lovely smooth character models, and bright colours throughout. The environments are well detailed and fun to explore, while the special effects when things kick off in battle are a sight to behold. It should also be mentioned that the sound work is equally as good. In all, Torchlight III is a nicely polished game.

 
Torchlight III is playable with up to three other players for that co-operative experience, but the absence of couch co-op is a disappointment. Playing solo is also an option and each of the available classes seem capable for a single player run.

 
That missing couch co-op is a shame, as is the smaller skill trees that will give players less choice than in the previous game. The only other real concern is that the end game content feels limited at the moment, but considering they main campaign will last player a fair few hours, it is not too much of a big deal.

 


 
Torchlight III is above everything else a fun game. The characters are quirky, the visual style is pleasing, even the enemies look happy. It’s just a cool game, and while loot collecting action RPGs are not for everyone, if this is your genre, then Torchlight III will satisfy. It is probably one of the best action RPGs without Diablo in its name.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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