Review: Torchlight III (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Torchlight III
Format: PSN (10.92 GB)
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Developer: Echtra Games
Original MSRP: $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: T
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I’ve always had a fondness for the Torchlight series. Even though the first game was only single player (despite resembling a Diablo-type multiplayer dungeon romp), I enjoyed the visual style and the levity in the theme. It was still about destroying evil, but it wasn’t nearly as visceral or depressing.

Thus, it was a nice departure, while still providing hours and hours of enjoyment. In the case of Torchlight II, it gave me even more pleasure to experience the adventure with friends. While it was a bit disappointing to not be able to play local co-op, it wasn’t a hindrance to the game, since it was initially designed for PC, and local co-op is not nearly as popular on there.

My excitement for the third installment was palpable. And, for the most part, I have been enjoying Torchlight III. I’ve stuck to the range class (Sharpshooter), but I’ve played online with some friends that have given their thoughts on the other classes, including the Railmaster, who hilariously has a pet that drops train track and devastates enemies as it follows us around.

Hence, the stylistic approach to Torchlight is ever present here, as is the customization to your character build. Relics augment your class with additional skill tree options that further the effects of your skills. For example, my Sharpshooter could summon a crazy goblin group to attack the enemies.

And, despite my class being at his best when using ranged weapons, I do appreciate that Torchlight allows me to wield the sword if I am so inclined, while still allowing my range skills to kick in, despite not using a bow. Other similar games will shut off abilities that you unlock if you are not currently wielding the required weapon. While it makes absolute sense, this openness allows me to experiment with other items I’d loot, eliminating some of the boredom that can set in when using the same type of weapon for hours and hours.

Unfortunately, I ran into an issue that really diminished my enjoyment of Torchlight III. It’s something that was not present in the second iteration, so I wasn’t really sure why the decision was made to remove this from the third game. I’ll explain:

My first playthrough of the game was started in multiplayer. I played with a friend for about three hours and found some great loot, leveled my character, and developed some great skills.

That same evening, I decided I wanted to play some more, but my buddy was not online. What the hell, I’ll just play alone and try to find some loot for our next playthrough. I selected single-player and expected my character to show up. But I could only start a new character. I thought maybe this pre-release build had a bug, but when I went to multiplayer, I noticed my level 10 character was still there.

So, the option to use the same character on and offline was not available. I’m guessing this is due to perhaps some people cheating. I’m not really sure.

Regardless, this was truly disappointing. If Torchlight III was extremely non-linear, and my single-player quests were significantly different from my online experience, then I’d be a little less judgmental of this issue. But I basically had to go through the exact same quests and levels as I did with my friend earlier. Essentially, I had to start the game over. And if I found something really cool in my single-player game, I couldn’t take it online.

So, yes, I could play online with my character and do this solo, and I ended up doing just that, but I don’t particularly like playing online with the openness of random players joining me (I’ve had issues with that). So, keeping the characters in separate modes was not an addition to me. It was a feature removed.

Technically, Diablo 3 does this with the seasonal characters, but the option it still there to play with your normal characters, online and offline – hell, even if your internet is down.

I don’t mean to compare one game to another. Torchlight is its own entity and, as I’ve said, I appreciate it for its uniqueness. But why remove a feature from one game to another, particularly in a game where someone might jump between single player and multiplayer sessions?

That said, if you are looking forward to Torchlight III primarily for online or offline, then you can ignore everything I just said because it will fit your play style perfectly.

Visuals:
I’ve always been a fan of Torchlight‘s visuals. However, it looks like the art department went in a slightly different direction with the third installment. This is not a bad decision, as the game still shares its cartoony style with its older siblings.

But, it looks like more technical prowess has been infused into this game. More shadow and lighting effects give depth and lushness to the jungles, while the overall aesthetic remains intact. Animation is also fluid – another staple of the Torchlight series.

Audio:
Voiceover work is well done. And while sound effects fill the environment with life, the music is submerged beneath all the sounds of chaos and combat. This is not really a bad thing in a game like this.

Online/Multiplayer:
No real complaints, aside from the previously mentioned issue with not being able to use the same avatar between single and multiplayer. Otherwise, my co-op sessions ran very well.

Conclusion:
It’s a shame that my expectations for Torchlight III were so high. I had such a great experience with the first and second games that I expected the same level of advancement between the second and third games. The core gameplay is still pretty solid, despite the game being incredibly linear. And that in itself would be a very minor issue, if I didn’t have to experience the game twice every time I wanted to switch between single and multiplayer. If you plan on playing this specifically in one mode or the other, then your experience will differ from mine. But I like using my same character on and offline. Otherwise, Torchlight III is a good game that took a few steps back from its predecessors.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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