Let me preface this review with a disclaimer: I haven’t played the first two Torchlight games, but I might have a look soon, and I’m generally not a fan of dungeon crawlers. That being said, I really did enjoy Torchlight 3, and whether that’s because I’m a newcomer to the genre, easily pleased, or stupid, is something we’re going to explore in this review.
Torchlight 3 is, obviously, the third game in the series. But, you don’t really need to have played the previous games to understand what’s going on here. Part of that is because the story is, well, just not all that interesting. It’s generic at best with some throwaway static image cutscenes. It didn’t hold my attention, but the gameplay certainly did.
Now, if you’ve played an action RPG before, you’ve played them all. They all follow a simple formula, which can be broken down as build a character, explore dungeon-like levels, kill enemies, collect loot. That’s the loop, and Torchlight 3 follows it to the letter. It’s standard, then, and genre veterans will be instantly familiar with the setup.
Newcomers, like myself, shouldn’t be put off. The lay of the land is simple, and it all starts with creating your own hero. There are four classes to choose as a base to build on, and my class of choice was the Sharpshooter. Because, yes, I’m a basic bitch and guns are my go-to weapons in most games. It’s what I know best.
The character creation options are basic but functional. You’ve got the option to alter your character’s skin, hair colour, and more, or you can just leave them as they come. It’s your choice.
Character growth and progression comes from levelling up. Kill baddies, earn experience points, level up – standard. Levelling up gives you points that you can spend on the skill tree, expanding your character’s arsenal of abilities. This is really cool and thankfully, for an idiot like me, easy to understand and follow. The simplicity might put off hardcore fans of the genre, but I appreciate the ease of use – besides, I just want set-and-forget skills that I can try out and leave how I like; I don’t like spending my precious playing time sitting around in menus.
This goes for the game’s gear system, too. You can equip gear that you’ve found to give yourself some passive buffs, like increasing your luck, attack, defence, and resistance. Swapping out old gear for new stuff is easy, too, and the game gives you a quick comparison between similar items, letting you know quickly whether you should swap out, or keep your current item. It’s simple and again, I appreciated how easy it was to understand and use.
You do get some guidance to begin with, and the game sends you on some tutorial quests to get you clued up on how the game’s systems work, as well as giving you a taste for combat.
This is where the game got me – the combat. Like everything else, it’s really accessible and easy to get stuck into, though it’s not without its flaws. Aiming is a little over-simplified – all you need to do is face in the general direction of an enemy, and you’ll fire right at them – if you’re using ranged weapons. I’d have liked to have seen a bit more depth here, perhaps with some twin-stick style controls, a little like another game I recently played – Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris.
There’s also the fact that you don’t have a dedicated dodge button. That could well be a genre trait, I’m not sure, but I definitely could have used a dodge button at times. I did have an ability that let me teleport a short distance away, but that was on a cooldown timer. I guess it keeps the game balanced, and, with evade being a passive skill (you can automatically evade some attacks, depending on your evade stats) I realise now that I’m just a softy who wants too much. Sue me.
I really enjoyed the combat, mainly down to its ease of use, and the awesome powers I got to play around with. The special abilities can’t be spammed, mind you, as they have a stamina bar of sorts. This didn’t really bother me as I rarely found myself unable to use the skills when I needed them most, so perhaps this is something that could have been tweaked a little to make it worthwhile.
Still, raining arrows down on a group of zombies and goblins was way more fun than I thought it would be. It’s easy to spend hours getting lost in Torchlight 3’s basic, but enjoyable RPG. To help you feel a little more at home, you even get your own fort that can be customised. I had a little go of it and while it’s a really wicked feature to have, I didn’t invest that much time – I’m a busy man with lots of games to review. But, I can see it being a nice touch for those who will go on to spend dozens of hours in the game.
There’s multiplayer, too, of course, and I gave it a little go with my colleague Stuart. It was fun shooting the breeze with a mate, but unless you plan to play from start to finish with a party, it’s not really a big deal – at least for me anyway.
The last dungeon crawler I played was Minecraft Dungeons, and I think the similarities between the two have definitely helped me come to enjoy Torchlight 3. Minecraft Dungeons was simple, accessible, and good mindless fun. Torchlight 3 is the same in that respect. So, basically, if you like Minecraft Dungeons because it was a simplified RPG, you’ll like Torchlight 3 is much the same way.
Torchlight 3 PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
Torchlight 3 is an accessible action RPG that welcomes newbies into the fold, but perhaps simplifies things a little too much to keep the hardcore Diablo-playing crowd playing for long. For everyone else, it’s a fun game that’s easy to get stuck into.
- Really accessible RPG gameplay
- Depth is there if you want it with highly customisable builds
- Pretty graphics with a cartoony vibe, making dungeon crawling a little less daunting
- Several difficulty levels, including ‘Explorer’ for first-timers
- You can have a dog!
- The combat is a touch too simple, especially if you’re using ranged weapons
- Maybe a little too simple for hardcore ARPG fans
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)