Torchlight: Infinite Review
Torchlight: Infinite is the fourth entry to the beloved ARPG franchise. This time around, however, the formula has changed, as it was built around mobile gaming.
As a disclaimer, I'd like to preface that I'm not actually well-versed in either the Torchlight franchise or action-based mobile games; while I do love playing things on my phone, they're usually much more relaxed. Additionally, this is the review for the PC version on Steam.
The game starts off by letting you choose a character from a small pool of options, some only available by purchasing the battle pass. There is a nice variety of characters, ranging from engineers to mages; to cover as much ground as possible, I played three different ones.
Before I go on to the gameplay itself, I'd like to touch a bit on the port from mobile to PC. I was quite pleased to see the game runs fine on my super ultrawide monitor with little to no issues on the menus: while the text doesn't bleed out of the boxes and the HUD is available comfortably, sometimes things feel cramped. Additionally, while I got used to controlling the game through keyboard and mouse without issue, it was nice to see that you can rebind keys and change to a controller instead; there is even an option to play Torchlight: Infinite on the Steam Deck. With no lag, proper menus, and a variety of controls to choose from, I feel confident saying that it was properly optimised to work well outside of a mobile device.
That being said, although it works well on PC, it’s still very obviously a mobile title. The gameplay is very straightforward: as you follow the main storyline, you'll jump through different areas and battle foes until you complete the mission to further unfold the narrative. This made me think the game would become repetitive and boring, and it did start feeling so at first until I started grasping some of the mechanics.
As I said before, I'm not a big action mobile gamer, so being thrown into so many different tutorials and menus was very overwhelming — just off the top of my head, I had to keep in mind the item stats, the skills, the talents, the boon, and the pact. I opted to take it slow and not min-max, so I changed my inventory items for whatever had green stats and chose the abilities that sounded fun and went with the flow of what worked and what didn't.
This went better than I had expected; I didn't get stomped or stuck on any of the missions with any of the three characters I played. And whilst some abilities I chose were bad, you can change and edit your build pretty freely in the game, which opens the door to exploration and fun.
For the review, I had access to some premium items — namely, I got 8k gems, all of the characters, and the paid battle pass tier. To better give my opinion, I tried characters from both sides of the paywall. My first one was Commander Moto, and he's available for free; his fighting style revolves around summoning minions that will fight for him while he stands back, shoots other abilities, and dodges enemies. The second one was Cateye Erika, and she's a character locked behind the battle pass; her attack style is melee and flashy, with large arcs when she swings. Lastly, I tried Divineshot Carino, which is both a free character and a more action-based fighting style, so I could better compare the previous characters.
In total, I played with every character past level 15 to get a proper grasp of their style and abilities. Although Commander Moto wasn't bad, his passive fighting style got repetitive quite fast, which isn't surprising as I'm more action-based. Erika fixed the issue, as I had to constantly jump into the action and be in the middle of the battlefield to get my hits in. I didn't feel much of a difference between her and the last character, Carino, gameplay-wise, as his skills were equally fun and engaging.
If I had picked up the game to play it and didn't pay to unlock the characters, I would have been happy with just Carino. His quick shooting and ability to freeze enemies mixed with a nice movement skill kept the battles fun and fast-paced. So, in that regard, I think Torchlight: Infinite did quite well: the characters feel very different, and I didn't feel an obvious difference between the premium and the free ones. As I didn't get to late game with all of them, I don't know if that would change in the future, but I was pleased with what I got to see.
Additionally, while there are obscene amounts of menus to do with talents, skills, abilities, pets, etc., once I got into the flow of the game (near my 10-hour mark), I was better able to grasp them. Skills, for example, are available in every character, meaning that the movement skill I used to keep enemies at bay with Carino can be used in the other two, too. This helped me learn which were the useful combinations and abilities I liked, which in turn made the switching between the three smooth: I just had to learn their class ability and style.
XD — the developer — also did a phenomenal job at offering help in the form of easy-to-find tutorials in the menu; there are tons of them that explain the many mechanics, menus, and features that the game offers. This ease of access to information is also seen outside of the tutorials, as you can click on specific terms and words to get more in-depth information, and in some menus, there is a question mark that will better explain what you can do. I really appreciated this since it helped me not have to Google terms and features every other minute.
As for the story, although I've seen some complaints from the community, I liked how it was unfolding. There are some unique and interesting lore tidbits — such as the blood of a dragon turning into ore — that I thought were charming and compelling enough. I can't say how it compares to the previous titles as I've not experienced them, but I thought it was alright for what this game is standalone. That being said, however, the created player character doesn't do much outside of following Aria around, and she's supposed to be their supporting NPC; she does the talking and the reacting while we go along the ride. I don't personally mind it too much, but I thought it was worth mentioning for those who might.
What did bother me, however, was the mismatched voice lines vs the text in-game and the difference in voice acting across the characters. I find it enormously distracting when I read a sentence and the actor says it completely differently, causing me to struggle to keep up with the story. But the game has a moderate amount of dialogue, so it wasn't as prevalent.
Torchlight: Infinite isn't a perfect title — the mismatched voice lines, the mobile feel, the repetitive gameplay, and the insane amount of menus are some of its downfalls. But for someone who doesn't care for mobile action-based titles, I enjoyed my time with it and hope to continue playing more. Considering it's free-to-play, I heavily recommend anyone who is interested try the game themselves because it's a very hit-or-miss title depending on what you deem important. I personally think it's worth checking out.
Torchlight: Infinite (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Considering Torchlight Infinite is a free-to-play title, the hours of fun I got — with both free-to-play and paid characters — is a good sign. If you’re interested, check it out; at best, you get a great title to love at no additional fee.