Archives for March 2011

Torchlight Review [Xbox 360]

Torchlight, the sleeper hit on the PC a couple years ago (it was my 2009 Fun PC Game of the Year), has made it to the Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Arcade. Here is my review.

(This review assumes a certain level of familiarity with Torchlight on the PC. As in you at least played it for more than a few minutes.)

Torchlight tapped into the psyche of the old-school PC gamer with its Diablo-esque hack-and-slash lootfest, adding just enough freshness to hook the Diablo veteran and hopefully snare new gamers with the joy of whacking the closest baddie, pinata-like, and having all multi-colored, unidentified magic goodness drop to the ground. It’s a fiesta in here!

Now, that joy has come full force with the XBLA version of Torchlight, this time in wholesome, 50″ high definition goodness.

Story? Yeah we got a story. You’re not here for the story, shallow as it is. It’s just enough to move you along, urge you to delve deeper and deeper in to the Ember Mines, in search of answers and a cure for your sudden ailment. Along the way, you’ll meet people looking for you to do certain things for them. They’re mainly excuses to do even more hacking and slashing than you’ve already been doing. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

On the Xbox, Torchlight feels more action-y than the PC version. What I mean by that is you feel more in control of the character. Part of that might be with the character I’m using with my first play-through with this version. On the PC I played as both the Vanquisher and the Alchemist, characters whose strengths are definitely ranged attacks and require a little mouse-fu to get your character to “stick” when you need them to and to move when you need to. The third character, who I am currently playing, is the melee-heavy Destroyer. He doesn’t rely on ranged attacks so much and therefore can be controlled much easily. With the Xbox version, I actually feel like I can more easily evade slow moving attacks. This can be directly related to the stick controls. It feels very natural.

Going from the PC and its hot-bar of skills to four face buttons is a challenge, but Runic has done a great job of translating these controls to the Xbox. It also brings with it a Guild Wars inspired austerity in the skills you can employ at any given time. You can have two sets of skills mapped to the triggers and the B and Y buttons, eight skills in all. I’ve found that eight is actually more than enough for the heat of battle. Again, this has the added benefit of forcing you into focusing on a certain number of skills instead of trying them all. There will be plenty of play-throughs to try them all.

Combat with the Destroyer is a blast. It actually felt “button-mashy” to me until I realized I could hold the X button down and my guy would automatically mow through the bad guys. Being the Chief Button Masher that I am, that was a little disappointing.

The look and sound is pretty much a one-to-one, with the exception of the size increase going from my 17″ LCD to my 50″ HDTV. No complaints in either department here. It looks lush and fantastic. One drawback, though, is that things get chuggy when there is bedlam on the screen. And quite often things get dicey and the framerate suffers for it.

Not everything is perfect. There are some things I miss from the PC version. In the PC version, the pet could be your little loot vacuum, picking up all the goodies. Not so in this version. Also in the PC version, to heal your pet you could drag items (health potions, fish meat) over to your pet to keep them alive. Unfortunately to feed your pet something you have to switch it over to their inventory and manually use it for them. Which means you won’t do it and you’ll be stuck hearing “Your pet is fleeing,” because he is getting hammered and not getting healed. It’s breaks my heart to see the poor guy like that.

For being on a console, inventory management is serviceable, except when dealing with gems. You find varying qualities of gems (ember) as you got about your adventuring. You can combine lesser quality gems, producing higher quality ones. This is a cinch when you’ve got a mouse to handle inventory but it’s a little trickier when you have to arrange your gem inventory with the controller. Otherwise inventory management is just fine.

One unique addition Runic added to Torchlight on the 360 is the leader board. It’s an Xbox Live Arcade tradition and once again I find myself checking the board, seeing who’s ahead of me and how many kills I need to record to catch up. Darn all you sissies playing this game on Normal!

Normally, we give a grade of “Buy,” “Rent,” or “Pass.” This game is a no brainer. It’s got everything you want in an XBLA game — quick, tight gameplay, pick up and play in little chunks (or in five hour marathons, which happen just like that) and immediate, continual positive feedback. You won’t put your controller down.

I give Torchlight an unequivocal Buy.

Loot Ninja

So I’ve been putting in a lot of time with Torchlight on the Xbox 360 (a post is forthcoming) and I started to notice that I have a distinct looting “style.” So I was wondering, what type of looter are you?

Me, I’m a wait until the inventory is full before I delve in. I don’t know why. Sometimes I wait until I’ve reached the end of a level. But whatever comes first, of course. I identify everything magic, equip what I can wear and send everything to town to be sold. I know that is mostly specific to Torchlight since I can send my pet back to town loaded up with all the extra loot to

Do you immediately inspect the item as soon as you pick it up? Or do you wait until your inventory fills up to examine your booty? Or do you even pick everything up? Do you just ignore everything you already know you won’t use and just grab what suits your fancy?

THE 3DS IS HERE!

All the major gaming outlets are getting their Nintendo 3DSes delivered by pretty girls decked out all in white.

Don’t worry. We also received our Nintendo 3DS here at Buttonmashing HQ. Ours was just a little different:

March Releases

(ARGH. Somehow this never got published. So here it is, a couple weeks late.)

I’m a little behind getting this month’s releases out, so some of these games have already come out but March is a big month with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS.

Xbox 360 banner

Week of March 1st
Rango
Fight Night Champion– This one snuck up on me. An M-rated boxing game? I did enjoy the previous Fight Night games.

Week of March 8th
Warriors: Legends of Troy
Dragon Age 2
Major League Baseball 2K11
Yoostar 2: In The Movies

Week of March 15th
History Great Battles Medieval
Homefront – It’s about time someone made a Red Dawn game!
Top Spin 4

Week of March 22nd
Crysis 2 – Limited Edition
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Dynasty Warriors 7
Mayhem 3D

Week of March 29th
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters – This is actually a big deal. Tiger Woods or not, having the Masters as a playable event (and Augusta as a playable course) may be enough for me to pick up this year’s Tiger Woods.
NASCAR The Game 2011
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Shift 2 – Unleashed
WWE All Stars – If this means I can bring back my dream-tag-team back of Big Boss Man and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, I’m in.
Crash Time

Wii banner

Week of March 1st
Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska – The success of these hunting games never ceases to amaze me.
Rango
Chuck E Cheese’s Sport Games – The ever-so-effective exercise, The Skee-ball roll!
TrackMania

Week of March 8th
Major League Baseball 2K11
The ,000,000 Pyramid

Week of March 15th
Top Spin 4
Top Shot Arcade
TrackMania: Build to Race

Week of March 22nd
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Raving Rabbids Party Collection

Week of March 29th
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters
Country Dance Wii
WWE All Stars

Nintendo DS banner

Week of March 1st
WWE All Stars
Pokemon – Black Version – I’m getting this out a little late, so Pokemon has already dropped but I’m leaving it here for posterity. Which one did you pick up?
Rango

Week of March 8th
Atari’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 – Somebody at Amazon is slacking off at their job as “Video Game Description Bullet List Maker”. According to Amazon.com, Atari’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 is a space MMO with “Exclusive offline skill advancement” and “Unmatched versatility in game play”.
Major League Baseball 2K11

Week of March 15th
Okamiden – One of the last great DS releases?
thinkSMART Labyrinth

Week of March 22nd
Playmobil Agents
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Monster Tale

Week of March 29th
Johnny Test
LEGO Battles Ninjago – I am way more interested in Ninjago then any recent LEGO game.
Gem Quest: 4 Elements
ATV Wild Ride

Nintendo 3DS

Week of March 22nd
Nintendo 3DS – Cosmo Black – Here it is! The 3DS!
Pilotwings Resort
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition – Street Fighter IV is the one game that seriously tempting me to pick up a 3DS.
LEGO Star Wars III The Clone Wars 3D
Steel Diver
Ridge Racer 3DS
Nintendogs + Cats
Super Monkey Ball 3D – It can’t be a new console release without a copy of Monkey Ball popping up!
Rayman 3D
Samurai Warriors: Chronicles
Asphalt 3D – And it can’t be a new DS release without Asphalt!
Tom Clancy’s Shadow Wars
Bust-a-Move Universe
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
Madden NFL Football 3DS
Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D – And rounding up the launch week of the Nintendo 3DS is this wonderfully-titled game. COMBAT. OF. GIANTS!!

PC banner

Week of March 1st
Rift
Warhammer 40K Dawn of War II Retribution

Week of March 8th
Dragon Age 2
The Sims 3: Barnacle Bay
Major League Baseball 2K11

Week of March 15th
Spellforce 2: Faith In Destiny
Total War: Shogun 2
Homefront

Week of March 22nd
Chronicles Of Mystery: The Legend of the Sacred Treasure
The Sims Medieval
Crysis 2
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Week of March 29th
Darkspore – Limited Edition
Shift 2 – Unleashed
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier

PS3 banner

Week of March 1st
Fight Night Champion
Rango

Week of March 8th
MLB 11: The Show
Dragon Age 2
Major League Baseball 2K11
Warriors: Legends of Troy

Week of March 15th
Homefront
Top Spin 4
Yakuza 4
Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel
MotoGP 10/11

Week of March 22nd
Mayhem 3D
Crysis 2
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Tomb Raider Trilogy
PlayStation Move Heroes
Dynasty Warriors 7

Week of March 29th
WWE All Stars
NASCAR The Game 2011
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: Collectors Edition
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters
Shift 2 – Unleashed
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier

PSP banner

Week of March 8th
Major League Baseball 2K11
MLB 11: The Show
Phantom Brave: Heroes of the Hermuda Triangle

Week of March 15th
Jikandia: The Timeless Land
God Eater Burst

Week of March 22nd
Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive
Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Week of March 29th
WWE All Stars
The 3rd Birthday
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

What are you picking up?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

In My Digital Hands

Gaming on the Cheap

Most of this might not be new to you, but it’s a good refresher: Gaming Without Breaking the Bank