In real life, it’s been eight years since Torchlight 2 released but finally the third game in the franchise is here.
In game, it’s been a century since the events of Torchlight II. Novastraia is once more under threat of invasion and you’ll need to venture forth into the frontier to defend against the Netherim and its allies.
Along the way, you’ll overcome hordes of enemies to find fame, glory and new adventures.
Torchlight III (PC, PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
Developer: Echtra Games
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Released: October 13, 2020 (PC, PS4, Xbox One), October 22, 2020 (Switch)
ESRB Rating: T – Teen
I’m reviewing this as someone mostly new to the Torchlight franchise. Being primarily a console gamer, I played very little of the original Torchlight on PC (because it was free on GOG) and never touched the second one (though I do intend at some point to pick up the console port that came out earlier this year).
Torchlight III began life as an intended free-to-play, quasi MMO-ARPG. Early alpha feedback led to those plans being scrapped and a new company, Echtra Games (formed from Torchlight and Diablo vets), being formed to take the reigns and try to steer the game back to its roots.
Torchlight III enjoyed a few months of early access on PC, but officially launched on October 13th on PC and consoles budget priced at $40.
There are four core classes in Torchlight III, and five subclasses via the Relic system. As there is no way to change your Relic once you start, save for starting a new character, you should definitely spend some time going over each relic and its associated skills (active and passive) and pick the one that will best fit your playstyle with the character you’ve chosen.
I’ve so far played as the Sharpshooter (my main) and Forged. And the Coldheart and Blood Drinker relics. As you would expect, the characters play different enough to change up the combat flow, and when combined with the relic subclasses is the main component of replayability here.
You have numerous character slots, so you’re free to level them all up to the cap of 60 and experiment with the different relics and builds. Unfortunately, characters you create in Single Player can’t be played in Multiplayer.
Single Player can be played offline, so if you’re Internet goes down, you can play with any character you’ve created in the Single Player mode. You can of course play in the Multiplayer mode completely solo, though you will see other players in hub city and forts, but you can’t play your Multiplayer character offline. So on consoles, it’s not like Diablo 3 where you could play with friends and then if your Internet is out continue playing that same character offline.
Given that the bulk of your replay value comes from running different classes and trying different builds though, there’s no reason not to have characters going in both Single Player and Multiplayer settings. It’s not that big of an issue, but it is something to be aware of.
Once you complete the game’s main quest, which is three acts long, Fazeer Shah will set up shop in your fort. Here you’ll be able to do the end-game content known as Fazeer’s Dun’djinn.
This is essentially an endless dungeon where your progress is saved by defeating bosses.
At the start, you’re dealt cards where you’ll have to choose the types of enemies, elements and affixes that will be used to challenge you. Progressing through the cards will cause the dungeons to become more difficult. When you defeat a milestone boss, you’ll be able to get the next tier of challenging cards to ramp the difficulty up even more.
Of course the better you do, the harder the content becomes and with that comes increased rewards and even more Fame. Fame is a type of XP that isn’t tied to Dun’djinn that operates sort of like a battle pass; earn Fame, increase your rank (you have three contracts or passes to work on), and get rewards be it gear, resources or cosmetics for your fort.
Playing Dun’djinn with friends is recommended if possible. You can certainly do it solo, and it’ll test your skill to go further and further, but if you want to really progress far into it you’ll definitely have better luck doing it with a group.
This is a fun loop, but it’s not a deep enough end-game that will keep most players grinding for very long. This doesn’t have the staying power of say Path of Exile or Diablo 3.
A fun side aspect of Torchlight 3 is the fort system. You can build and fully customize your very own fort.
Your fort persist across all your characters (again with Single Player and Multiplayer split), so regardless of what character you’re on any improvements to your fort count so you can always be working on getting resources and stuff for your fort.
Your fort serves as sort of your home base, but it is an a hub area where other players can come to when passing between zones. Buildings and monuments that you build in your fort can then be used by other players to swap out skills, armor sets and be granted buffs.
As you play through the game, slaying enemies, opening chests and completing quest you’ll earn decorations to place in your fort. Most decorations though will be earned via progressing your Fame contract ranks (again there’s three of these).
Within your fort walls, you can place monuments that grant buffs and levels up over time as you sacrifice items to it. You can also place useful stations and craft in your forge.
Many people won’t care about this aspect of the game, but there’s definitely a large crowd that get into this kind of thing and can create some highly creative and awesome looking forts. If that’s your thing, you can have a lot of fun with this system
Torchlight III sports some cartoonish graphics that plays well with the more light-hearted game it is. It looks great, and it runs pretty good too (the only issue I’ve had on PS4 Pro is an occasional stuttering in the menu while trying to change tabs).
It’s been called by other outlets an “accessible ARPG,” with a negative slant on that, and I just don’t see it that way. It’s definitely “accessible,” but that’s alright with me as I wasn’t looking for some overly convoluted progression system like Path of Exile.
I don’t think the average gamer will spend hundreds or thousands of hours playing Torchlight 3, the way some do Path of Exile or Diablo, but I don’t believe the game was designed with that in mind. Jump in, play the main quest, clear some dungeons and spend some time in the Dun’djinn and customizing your fort and then switch games until new content or a seasonal event comes out.
It’s not a grind intensive game that’s going to feel like a chore to play, so if that’s what you’re look for you won’t find it here.
If you’re in the mood for a fun ARPG to spend to 40 to 60 hours, or more, before moving on to something else then I think you’ll be more than satisfied with Torchlight 3 at $40.
Torchlight III gets a three out of five: GOOD.
* Code provided by the publisher for review.