Has the problematic development of Torchlight III affected its Switch version?
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: RPG, Action
Developer: Echtra Inc.
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Release date: 22 Oct, 2020
Torchlight 3 is the third installment of the Torchlight series: an aRPG title that abandoned the complex gameplay of the second chapter in favour of more linear builds, making unhappy the most die-hard fans of the genre. The original PC version have already been review by Fnord, and you can find it here. This review will focus on the Switch version of the game, the quality of the port and the pros and cons of playing in handheld or docked mode!
A World in Movement
My favourite gaming mode when playing with the Nintendo Switch is hands-down the handheld one, thus it is also the mode I used more when playing Torchlight 3. The title behaves very well in this mode, with a few reservations: the possibility to play an aRPG in mobility is awesome (even if these times don’t need too much mobility) and I really enjoyed the possibility of playing the game in quick, short sessions thanks to the console’s standby capabilities. This make for a title that can be picked up, played even for a couple of minutes, and then put down, with the possibility of resuming the session later. Having this possibility, unlike other similar games where you need to reach checkpoints, is great for a game that can also be played for hours-long sessions without boring the player.
Isn’t the handheld more the perfect way of playing the title then? Well, not at all: while surely enjoyable, it also has some caveats. The first one is caused by the small screen on which the game is showed: playing for prolonged times on handheld mode can be in fact tiring, as the game features many small writings, enemies and game objects. During particularly tense combats it is easy to lose sight of some enemies’ positions, or sometimes even the direction your character is facing. The latter is luckily easily adjustable as it is tied to the left analog stick, but it can be annoying at times. The second problem of the handheld mode is a fluctuating framerate that tends to show some uncertainties, again, in the most screen-filling situations. Nothing tragic though and, after just the time for you to notice it, the framerate is back to a steady value.
From Big Screens Come Big Responsibilities
Unfortunately, similarly to other Nintendo Switch titles, the docked mode eliminates the problem of having small objects on screen… but adds the problem of having big ones! The main complaint I have with this title (but also others) dock mode of play is that it really shows the lack of an anti-aliasing solution and textures with really poor definition on bigger objects, to the level that some enemies tend to have blurry edges.
The framerate isn’t perfect either: while more steady than the handheld mode, it still has some moments when it dips noticeably. Although not really problematic, I was expecting some more from this mode and seeing the result made me play almost the entirety of the game with the console between my hands.
Torchlight 3’s Switch port is a hit and miss. If you planned to play the game in handheld mode, like the majority of Nintendo Switch owners, you’ll find yourself with a fun aRPG with some minor technical problems that really won’t affect your gameplay. If you planned to play the game in docked mode, however, consider your choice carefully before buying the game, as the aliasing and the low-res textures can be quite unappealing to see, especially at the end of 2020.