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Echtra Games’ hack ‘n’ slash action-RPG Torchlight III launched into early access a couple of weeks back. And seeing how the game was originally designed as a free to play multiplayer title (Torchlight Frontiers), you might be interested in checking out some early impressions before picking up the rebranded premium version:
I'm only about eight hours in, so I obviously haven't seen everything Torchlight 3 has to offer—plus, again, it's just entered Early Access and there's no doubt many months of changes, tweaks, and additions to come. But much as I love my destructive little robot, and I am having fun battling mobs of goblins and skeletons, it's hard not to feel a little disappointed by how much seems to be missing from Torchlight 3 right now.
Torchlight 3’s current Early Access incarnation is a fast food combo meal of an ARPG. In almost every respect, it’s acceptable. It’s fine. It’s just not revolutionary or memorable or even especially fun compared to its competition. And maybe as it progresses toward its final form, things will shape up and some diamonds will start to emerge from the rough. But for now, I’d have a hard time recommending it to anyone who might be drawn in by its attractive and distinct look and attitude. You won’t find much of substance to back it up, and there are so many better options to get your dungeon-crawling, loot-inhaling fix.
It's no secret that Torchlight III was previously developed as a free-to-play game called Torchlight Frontiers before Echtra pivoted the project and changed its name. I don't necessarily feel that full meandering history when I play Torchlight III, but I can sense that the game went through the wringer.
How much further Echtra can expand and refine this game remains to be seen. For now, at the onset of Early Access, Torchlight III is incredibly okay. I'm not convinced that's enough to stand out in 2020.
Is Torchlight 3 the dumpster fire that the Steam reviews tell me it is? No, not at all. Has it reached its final form? No, not at all. Torchlight 3 is an early access title that is attempting to transition both its genre and pay model all while trying to hold to the things that make the series great. The game has some great core mechanics that need refinement. My hope is that with actual constructive feedback from players, the team at Echtra Inc will be able to refine the rough edges, smooth out the bumps and create the Torchlight experience we have all come to love.
Is there a story? There might be, but I found it hard to care about the whole thing. You’re basically given a quest, then a location, then a mini-dungeon, followed by a quick boss fight. After that, you go back to town to finish your task and you get a new quest to repeat the whole process. The levels themselves feel too linear and cramped, so redoing the open-area-to-dungeon-back-to-open-area crawl, all within the span of a few minutes, felt like bite-sized chores rather than a sweeping and epic adventure.