To be perfectly honest, games are made with different groups in mind. The most popular games either stick to what worked the first time or attack every box in hopes they find some level of success. Other times find success just sticking to tried and true mechanics. In the grand scheme of things, Torchlight III sticks to both established norms and what worked in the past. Given a wide variety of gear, classes, characters, and more, is it a must or are you better off skipping this installment?
Torchlight III starts by throwing you in the middle of a fight. Through this conflict, you need to basically rise up, fix problems, and really do the whole RPG thing. It’s enough to get the ball moving, though most of your time will be spent running around killing enemies, collecting items, and making people happy as you continue to progress through the world. However, before you can start your journey, you need to make your own character.
In terms of character creation, Torchlight III seems somewhat stuck in the past. A couple of races with a few options would’ve been good the last generation, but now it feels kind of hollow. Outside of gender and hairstyle, there isn’t much you can control outside of one of three pets that has three different colors itself.
Following a weak presentation and an equally underwhelming introduction to the concept, Torchlight III struggles to really stand out. There are multiple classes and moves, which have levels, distinct powers, and a wide variety of pros and cons, it’s just not particularly special. Most of your time will be spent fighting largely difficult to see enemies that offer little to no challenge. This can be further reduced by using certain weapons or mastering specific skills, it’s all very similar to what you’d expect from a Dynasty Warriors title. Push the same buttons kind of mindlessly and eventually, you’ll win.
Bosses promise more of a challenge, yet they feel closer to what people would refer to as a bullet sponge. A large enemy that attacks once in a while does very little to stop you and is relatively easy to read and overcome is not fearsome whether it takes a minute to defeat or five. Most times I felt like I was going to make a mistake by losing interest over legitimate difficulty and this does not bode well for the overall experience Torchlight III is trying to offer.
Until you progress quite a bit into the game, the gameplay loop is honestly rather underwhelming. You defeat enemies using the same skills and tactics, unlock new moves that do every more damage or maximize effectiveness, only for you to further this with new gear. There is a lot of little things to pay attention to, such as enhancing certain skills or increasing various metrics, it’s just this isn’t overly important unless you’re weak or just into maximizing potential.
It also doesn’t help that levels, gear, and so forth are fairly forgettable. With locations like a generic town, ship port, jungle, and graveyard, it all kinds of blends together. Even with unique enemies and named bosses, it can be further reduced down to simply being the skeleton or goblin place.
Even if Torchlight III isn’t particularly memorable, at least in a positive light, for story, customization, progression, or any of that, it’s still a lot of fun to play. There are enough enemies to remain engaged and plenty of content to explore without getting bored. Progression also comes fast and quick, giving the experience a lot of runways. Each weapon and magic type offer different possibilities and things are fun in a rather mindless way. Go to a location, get attacked by like 20 enemies, and see if you can survive. Often times it isn’t difficult, it’s the illusion that makes things interesting.
Torchlight III Review – Verdict
Enjoyment hinges on what you’re looking for in an RPG. If you want a great story that has tons of metrics to pay attention to, this really isn’t that. Torchlight III is essentially a basic RPG that has a lot of extras if that is your thing, behind engaging gameplay. What makes more to you will differ but if you really just want to run around killing stuff, it’s a good choice.
[Editor’s Note: Torchlight III was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]