Diablo Immortal only came out a little over a month ago, but it's not the only splashy action rpg making big promises on mobile. Torchlight is a series that has always been an interesting offshoot of Diablo in that it was originally co-designed by the same people who worked on the first two Diablo games, and now it seems to be making its way to smaller screens courtesy of XD Network in the form of Torchlight: Infinite.
I finally got some advance access to the game in its current, early stages and have to say I'm pretty impressed with what I've seen so far. You can check out almost an hour of gameplay in the video above and read on below for some more detailed analysis.
It's still very early
The one thing I can't stress enough about Torchlight: Infinite in its current form is how it is very clearly far off from prime time release or review territory. There's a bunch of bugs, like Chinese voicelines triggering on the hero select menu before switching back over to English, multiple music tracks playing at the same time, and my favorite: a bug that kept me from using some of my combat abilities during a boss fight.
Torchlight: Infinite also currently lacks a lot of the kind of visual and UI polish you expect from a big-name release. The core art is there and looks nice, but some menus feel like they could use some redesigns and overall combat feedback is less-than-clear. Still, the game is in a playable state and the underlying core of the game seems pretty neat.
Character and soul
Part of what sells Torchlight: Infinite--even in its nascent form--is its art direction and approach to character and environment design. The world here is colorful and bright, and you don't just play as some faceless rpg archetype. Rather, you choose a specific hero character who embodies a certain playstyle. If it helps, think more Borderlands or Overwatch as opposed to Diablo.
In my time with the game, I've been tearing through goblins and other enemies with Gemma, a cybernetic mage who wields the powers of fire and ice to obliterate anything that stands in her way. Character options also include some heroes that seem to fit within fairly standard character class archetypes like berserker or marksman, while others are more mysterious or nuanced, like a dwarf who seemingly can spawn and control a robot army.
Once settling on a character, Torchlight: Infinite begins as a decent facsimile of something like Diablo Immortal, but it doesn't take long before this game's identity starts to shine through. Torchlight: Infinite definitely seems more geared toward experimenting with different character builds and taking advantage of different aspects of the battlefield in order to battle your way effectively through quests.
In addition to mixing and matching different kinds of combat abilities, Torchlight: Infinite allows for characters to equip different kinds of weapons, dual wield, or even use a shield. All of these decisions impact your combat abilities. On top of this, the game sports a talent tree that you spend points on to further customize whether your character focuses more on damage, defense, speed, or other core stats you can build around.
On the environment end of things, Torchlight: Infinite has combat areas that feature breakable cover, verticality, and even offshoot paths with side-bosses to uncover. None of these features have made huge impacts on my progress through the game's early stages, but they do instill a sense of discovery that I was not expecting.
Verdict for now
I clearly have a lot more Torchlight: Infinite to play, and it's also clear that things are going to be changed, tweaked, and added to the game as it nears release. That said, I'm actually feeling pretty positive on the game so far. If there continues to be a good amount of combat variety I can play with easily and more dungeons serving up unique enemies, then I'll happily continue sinking time into this early access version. If I start hitting monetization walls, content starts repeating too quickly, or both, I may think otherwise. I'll check back in when I've done some more digging.