Grab that sword and dust off that board because Torchlight II has finally dropped on console. After 7 years of waiting, fans of the late Runic Games finally get to dive back into their favorite ARPG with a controller in hand. From developer Panic Button comes the port to this critically acclaimed hack and slash looter. With an updated UI specifically designed for the console life, full controller support and some sweet new pets, Torchlight II aims to bring all of its looter goodness to a whole new audience. But just how well does the 7-year title hold up in today’s ARPG culture? Grab that coffee, kick back and find out in our Torchlight II Switch review.
A quick note: This review will be focusing primarily on the porting of Torchlight II to console more so than the original game itself. As an ARPG, Torchlight II is great. It combines some of the best mechanics that make up the genre and at the time of its release was a solid contender for Diablo 3. The purpose of this review is to see just how well the title translates in a console environment.
Set in a high fantasy world, Torchlight II picks up after the events of the first game. It sees the Alchemist, one of the original heroes from Torchlight, corrupted by something known as the Ember Blight, a disease the originated from the Heart of Ordrak. You as a new hero are tasked with stopping the Alchemist before he does irreparable damage to the world and the six elements that keep all things in balance. This sets you on an adventure that spans across multiple diverse overworld settings, interesting and unique dungeons and sees you face off against some truly tough enemies.
I’ve mentioned this in my review of Wolfenstein II on the Switch (cough… shameless plug….) and will mention it here as well; Panic Button is one of the best companies when it comes to porting games to the Nintendo Switch. They are incredible at balancing performance and quality to present an excellent experience for Switch players. Visually all of the style and animations present in the original ARPG title are present here and run flawlessly.
During my playtime, I didn’t experience any frame rate issues, studders or major bugs. The game looks and feels like it did in 2012. I’m always impressed when I see the quality of work that Panic Button achieves when porting a title and Torchlight II is no exception.
Mechanically the game runs silky smooth. The controls are responsive with a completely customizable action bar/button functionality allowing players to really layout the controls the way they like. Both melee and ranged combat feel responsive and offer just enough aim support to feel helpful but not overbearing. The game feels great and right at home on the Switch.
Panic Button has done a complete overhaul of the menus and UI making them much more user-friendly for console players. The entire action bar, health and mana bar and XP Bar that took up so much real estate at the bottom of the screen have been reconfigured, streamlined and tucked to the lower left of the screen. This creates a larger area of play and makes much more sense overall, especially for Switch players on the go who value as much screen real estate as possible. It’s clean, looks great and makes sense in the context of console gaming.
Likewise, the menus have been rebuilt from the ground up following a similar formula to Diablo III. Armour and weapons have been organized and separated on a reticle wheel menu for quick and easy access. It worked great in D3 and works just as well here. The skill trees have also seen an overhaul opting for a much more linear layout making it easy to see what abilities unlock at which level.
One of my favorite updates to come with this redesign is how easy it is to get information without having to burrow down through a menu tree. The most important information is either displayed upfront or accessed by clicking a single button while highlighting the item or skill. This creates an easy to use system that allows for more time hacking and slashing and less time scrolling and clicking.
I did come across one minor bug during my playthrough. While assigning stats I noticed that the info card didn’t update properly when I would scroll down to the next attribute. It should be noted that the review play was done before the day one patch and so this bug may very well not exist when the game goes live.
The pet menu has also seen a huge update and follows the theme of easy to use. Items can now be quickly sent to your pet via a quick button press and everything from sending your pet to town to creating a shopping list for them is all handled via the aforementioned reticle wheel menu.
Note: A Switch code was provided by PR for the purpose of review.