When Echtra Games decided to turn Torchlight: Frontiers into Torchlight 3, there were quite a few players out there that were happy about the redoubled focus on the action RPG fundamentals that made the series popular. Unfortunately, the game just didn’t take off in the way it was supposed to, so it’s really no wonder that when XD developed their mobile game, Torchlight Infinite, that they acted as if Torchlight 3 never happened. To that end, XD intends to deliver on every point that made the franchise great to begin with. Check out this list of the good and the bad Torchlight Infinite has to offer from the mobile closed beta.
Torchlight Infinite picks up 200 years from where Torchlight II ends, in an era where Ember technology is imbued throughout the world. As the corruption of Ember begins to take hold, what heroes will stand between the innocent and those that wish to devastate the lands? Torchlight Infinite began its closed beta on January 18th, and it will run for a total of 6 weeks on both Android and iOS before it concludes. For those wondering why they haven’t seen it on the Playstore, Torchlight Infinite at this stage is a TapTap exclusive, which is a third-party app store – one that XD themselves co-founded. The current phase of closed beta will allow players to:
- Test 4 of the Heroes
- Experience 24 talent trees
- Obtain more than 200 pieces of legendary gear
- Follow the narrative through 3 chapters of the cutscene-laden story
After playing the game for several days, I was able to get multiple characters to level 60 and beyond. The maximum level for the closed beta is 99, and leveling slows somewhat once the story dries up, but there’s still a lot of content there to carry you through, even at this stage of development. Here’s a quick breakdown of the good and bad that I’ve experienced so far:
Good: The Action RPG Gameplay is Top Notch
If you’re a fan of ARPGs, then you probably aren’t new to the Torchlight series. Luckily, XD doesn’t stray too far from what Torchlight fans have come to know and love. The combat feels responsive, even on a mobile device, and the touch controls provide an easy way to plan the positioning of skills, without too much fuss. By sliding your thumb around the screen like an analog stick, you can change your ability direction on the fly. You can do this with each of the abilities you choose, or, you can just tap each of the abilities to fire them off at will. The best part? No auto-play. Everything you do is based on the skills you choose and the choices you make in combat. It’s definitely one of the best feeling combat systems on mobile.
Torchlight Infinite also employs a lot of enemies with very specific attack patterns, bosses included. While you may have a few special affixes that can ruin your day once you hit the Netherrealm, for the most part, as long as you’re paying attention to your foes, even if you’re underpowered you can eke out a win as long as you know the pattern.
Bad: Gear Overload Starts Early And Gets Worse
Gear has always been huge in Torchlight and Infinite is no exception. From very early on, you’ll be getting numerous gear drops, all of which you’ll need to sift through. It’s always fun to look through your loot once you’ve finished a quest, but with the amount of gear you end up acquiring, I had to expand my inventory space many, many times so that I could hold everything, even from just one mission. In the live game, this would probably cost you some money, how much, we can’t really say at this time.
The amount of gear you earn isn’t the only problem, it’s also the difficulty in finding the gear you want. For example, on my minion-build character, my DPS factored as 0, as all of my damage didn’t come from a weapon, by my minions. That means that a lot of the gear that was important to me, only had minion stats, and there was no easy way to find the pieces that meant something to me, out of the dozens of other pieces that were effectively worthless. Even on characters without a difficult to find stat, like minion-based stats, sorting by gear pieces by any specific stat or special ability, would have made things much easier, and cut down on the time it took for me to look through my gear, between adventures.
Good: The Customization For Skills And Builds Is Legendary
During the closed beta, we have access to 4 classes, with 24 talent trees and tons of skills to choose from. After a short tutorial, you’ll be able to select one of 6 talent trees to begin your journey. Then, at level 20, you’ll be able to choose one out of 3 sub-class trees from the initial talent tree you selected. Finally, you’ll be able to select a third subclass from any talent tree, which will open up a lot of opportunities if you want to branch out into completely new areas.
Players will also be able to obtain pact spirits, which you’ll need to roll for in the cash shop. You do get a number of free rolls by completing the season pass, and you can earn crystals to buy rolls or other cash shop items by completing achievements. The pact spirits grant you passive bonuses which you can change based on the 3 pact spirits you choose.
With 200 skills, and a number of additional bonuses that you can apply to them through the use of Skill Energy, there are a lot of ways to build a unique character capable of defeating swaths of enemies in moments. The customization doesn’t stop there either. The closed beta also gave players the opportunity to toy with their crafting system, an enchantment system, and a gear empowerment system. While each of these gear enhancement systems could probably use some more love prior to the full release, they’re just another avenue for players to create unique, powerful characters.
Bad: Netherrealm Beacons Are Annoying
In the closed beta, players will have access to the Netherrealm, which is list of worlds separated by tiers that are called timemarks. You also earn Cinders to open up new realms, with different enemies, and different rewards. In order to ascend the time marks of the various worlds, you need to gain the attention of a Watcher, which requires you complete specified stages that will raise your watcher level. Once you’ve completed the required number of stages, the Watcher trial opens up, and you can take on the final boss to increase your timemark level that increases the difficulty of enemies, but also increases the level of gear you can obtain.
The only problem? Taking on these levels requires that you have beacons for the levels that you need. Beacons are randomly dropped by any of the enemies in the netherrealm, and that means that you may not always get the beacon you need to move forward. At one point I only needed one stage to move forward to the next timemark, but I couldn’t get the beacon I needed to drop, so I had to play the other stages several times until I finally received the last beacon required to move up to the next timemark. Prohibiting your progression on RNG is never a good thing.
Good: Laying The Groundwork For Multiplatform And Multiplayer
Torchlight Infinite’s closed beta is predominantly a single player affair. You can’t team with anyone, you can’t dive into dungeons with friends, and you can’t see other heroes going about their business in a town hub as they prepare for their next adventure. You can, however, chat with other players through the in-game chat interface. There is an auction house that lets you buy and sell legendary items that you may no longer want. Torchlight Infinite has expressed that they will eventually have multiplayer, and so far the closed beta has shown that they are laying the groundwork to do that.
Torchlight Infinite will also be a multi-platform game. That means that, while only mobile players are able to join in on the closed beta right now, we may see the game transition to PC, or consoles at a later date. It’s great when you can play a game you love anywhere, on any platform, and Torchlight Infinite is definitely an ARPG that may fit that bill.
Bad: Sealed Mana Could Be Balanced Better
In Torchlight Infinite players will be able to obtain passive abilities, many of which required that a portion of your mana be sealed in order to use it. Sealed mana will section off a portion of your mana so you can’t use it, and in the event you seal too much of your mana, you won’t be able to use skills at all anymore. This sounds like a great way to balance abilities, but in practice, it’s very difficult, because too many of the passive skills take far too much sealed mana, so it’s difficult to even add three usable passive skills right off the bat without being left with nearly no mana. Some passive skills take 50% of your entire mana bar, just for one passive bonus!
There are ways to trade off your health for your mana with a cost conversion skill, and you can reduce the amount of mana a passive skill seals with a restrain skill ability, or through specific talent trees, but often times, especially during the early game, you have to make a choice on whether you want to take the health penalty or have a usable passive skill. Hopefully this gets balanced a little better in the future.
Let The Torchlight Burn
XD has done a great job at making Torchlight Infinite a fun ARPG, and despite the few problems I encountered, I can’t wait until the game releases. Have you had the chance to play the Torchlight Infinite closed beta? Are you looking forward to the game on Mobile or another platform? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.