Torchlight III is the latest entry in the action RPG series. Players will start the game by choosing one of four characters and heading out on their adventure. The land of Novastraia is facing the dark threat of invasion once again. This leaves the player and their friends with the chance to find fame, glory, and loot in a fantastical setting.
But how does Torchlight III stack up against its predecessors and other games such as Diablo? The answer may be disappointing to some fans.
When diving into the game for the first time, players will be asked to choose one of four character classes. For a loot-driven RPG like this, class selection is always a very important part of the experience. Fortunately, this is something that Torchlight III excels at. Each of the characters is interesting, well-designed, and allows for customization if the player wants to.
The classes each play well, too. There are the standard features such as the ability to tank damage, wield magic, and attack from afar. However, something that I appreciated was how much variety each character is open to. Players will be able to mix and match weapons, abilities, and play styles however they want. Of course, this adds a ton of depth to an already meaty game.
The game is driven by many quests that the player will pick up as they explore. This is where things get a bit rocky for Torchlight III. The quests are largely comprised of going to a location, clearing the enemies there, and returning. Many quests will also have players collecting a specific number of materials following the combat, but that’s not much better.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but that’s somewhat expected from this type of game,” and you’d be absolutely right. Although, there has to be a few elements in play for that to work well. For instance, if there were more interesting enemies or bosses, then this would be a far less significant issue. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case.
The enemies are pretty bland and have sponge-like health bars. Plus, nothing really surprising comes from any of the bosses. There were no big twists or moments of awe that came from the combat. Possibly the worst sin, however, is that the loot isn’t very interesting.
Another massive aspect that RPGs like this are judged by is the loot that they offer. If the loot is good enough, then many of the other details of the game can be overlooked to an extent. Sadly, the loot found in Torchlight III just isn’t very exciting.
Damage numbers do go up from weapons, just as defense stats go up from armor and clothing. Mild changes to your character’s appearance also happen, but that can only carry the loot system so far. Truthfully, I only found one really interesting ability under my piles of loot and pretty much stuck with that for the rest of my time in the game.
Naturally, this won’t matter at all for players searching for a relaxing, accessible grind-fest. As far as loot goes, most players will find that long-sought-after sense of satisfaction from earning loot from bosses. However, I can’t help but feel like loot has been done much better in far more interesting games.
Story (or lack thereof)
It is immediately clear that Torchlight III is made for players who are fans of this genre of gaming. From the very start, players will be tossed into the action of the game without much fanfare or explanation of anything. The game expects the player to either piece together why they’re on an adventure from previous entries in the series, or to simply not care as to why they’re fighting monsters.
Of course, quest-givers would typically give a bit of insight as to why a quest is necessary. While that does happen in Torchlight III, the information offered is just surface-level explanations without much depth into the world around them. This is also true for merchants. The bare bones hub area is where players will run into these characters. Much like quest-givers, these merchants could have fleshed the world out significantly.
As you may have guessed, merchants are obviously lacking in characterization. Even their various wares are not explained aside from a brief explanation beside them. It would be incredibly easy to not understand what a currency or item does for quite a while.
This won’t be much of a problem for people who are well accustomed to this type of game or the series. But newcomers may be lost and confused, resulting in them abandoning the game for a more well-rounded experience.
Torchlight III is a competent game that doesn’t live up to the potential it has. The game plays well and offers a good time to those patient enough to dedicate time to it. However, a heavy sense of MMO influence can be felt in many of the game’s systems.
This influence seems to come at the cost of story, world-building, and enemy design. While the player will find an engaging gameplay loop, there simply isn’t enough to make any of it worthwhile. Players looking for a simple and straightforward looter RPG will more than likely be pleased, however.
Torchlight III is available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.