With XD Inc’s upcoming beta test for Torchlight Infinite is almost upon us, Gamespace got an up-close and personal hands-on and a ton of loot too.
If you hadn’t caught the unexpected news last month studio XD Inc is about to bring a new incarnation of Torchlight to mobile and PC soon. After 200 years, players are set to return to the remnants of a world still ravaged by conflict, and some other gruesome blights. Across a range of dungeons, zones, and perilous challenges, adventurous types will hack, slash, blink, and blow their way through anything that gets in their way, and we got boots on the ground this week. Gamespace was lucky enough to get an early glimpse at Torchlight Infinite ahead of the upcoming mobile closed beta and the results were impressive.
This new iteration on the adored Torchlight franchise isn’t quite a sequel to the multiplayer online ARPG that began wowing gamers over a decade ago, but from the moment we picked up a pad and logged into our early look, there’s a definite familiarity to Torchlight Infinite. XD has made a substantial effort to give Torchlight Infinite its own aesthetic edge, without forgetting the heritage of this series. While Torchlight II might have a moody atmosphere mixed with some Steampunk concepts, torchlight Infinite adds a more linear look at the world, flattening down some of the complexity and brightening up the overall palette. Where dark hues might have hidden unseen enemies, now characters and environments are likely to be flushed in brighter tones that nod towards games like Hob and Space Punks. Like the aforementioned titles, the world of Torchlight Infinite is a mix of unusual monsters, unexpected enemies, and alien worlds that bristle with unusual life.
While the environment might feel more linear than the original two Torchlight titles, Infinite is a massive range of dungeons filled with inviting mysteries and populated by a cast of characters that are a joy to watch. Sure, it’s super stylized and has the swagger of Borderlands sweeping through it, but this new take on existing lore doesn’t seem to have forgotten its roots. The Torchlight franchise is, after all, a massively successful ARPG. Countless more hours are likely to be lost crawling randomized dungeons during the upcoming beta, as players pick from one of four distinct heroes and go charging into enemies. We will get to the character shortly, but when we dived straight into combat we were not disappointed. The mobile controls for Torchlight Infinite are decidedly similar to the virtual control sticks and skill wheel that similar on the go MMORPGs use, but slimmed down and still jsut as responsive. Combat needs to keep things streamlined as it gets hectic as heck when the game gets going. Like any good ARPG, mobs and their behavior are distinct and varied, while plenty of player choices dictate where you’ll be fighting from. Unlike many other mobile adventures, however, Torchlight Infinite needs your undivided attention.
While our initial high level engagement saw us casting from the backlines and throwing golems at the trash mobs ahead, combat no time to simply stand and spam. Red telegraphs and danger signs flared up all over the screen forcing our Timespace Witness to weave in between a shower of particle effects and ice based skills to keep from taking damage. Plenty of more mundane cannon fodder can cut through over-leveled player characters if you simply try to tank, and boss encounters can cleave HP bars in half with a single swing. Thankfully you’ll find a range of movement based abilities scattered throughout the buttons on the bottom right of the screen, making movement key in Torchlight Infinite. While this doesn’t mean that you’ll find a system that relies heavily on Wildstar style dodge rolling, it does force adventurers to choose their skills and playstyle wisely.
Those character builds appear to also be incredibly varied, comprised of three distinct properties. Class archetypes are inexorably linked to the game’s four central characters, while equipped skills and accompanying traits help to distinguish how a hero fights.
Those underlying skill systems feel surprisingly mature and even fair for a mobile game. During some early level play, active combat skills unlocked and levelled up as characters progressed through the single player campaign. These are enhanced by a secondary set of support skills that modify the primary button you’re bashing. So a ranged cast can be given the ability to hit several targets, for example. This makes individual skills feel less like a forced illusion of choice and more of an investment. Traits, similarly, are a passive system of buffs and enhancements that can be built based on earned points. None of this is particularly new or genre breaking but it all adds to the sense that Torchlight Infinite already is a complete package.
This new entry in an iconic series looks like it might just successfully drag the Torchlight series into the mobile space without losing sight of what makes Torchlight unique. While players stepping out into this new world won’t have the same experience, swapping co-op with their friends for an AI generated ‘crow’ and finding the moody tone of the more recent Torchlight entries washed away, Torchlight Infinite still manages to capture the essence of the original while leaning more into the isometric movement that we loved in Space Punks. If you want to check out what we’re rambling about then you can check out more coverage of Torchlight Infinite here at Gamespace, or over on the official website now.