Torchlight 3 is under fire after being released on Steam Early Access

Given the success of previous installments, the reception of Torchlight 3 Early Access release on Steam is not what you'd expect. And while server stability issues at launch are quite common, it seems they are only the tip of the iceberg. Players are unhappy with core gameplay elements.

Torchlight 3 Steam Early Access Cover
At the time of writing, the game has the “Mostly Negative” review rating with only 34% of positive reviews. If we skip price tag and server issues, which seem to accompany Early Access releases on Steam nowadays, there seem to be a lot of problems the developers won’t be able to fix with discounts and stability patches. In their reviews, players report Torchlight 3 to be simplified, with many features not being able to keep up with the previous entries in the franchise. 

…this is an A-rpg right? there is two trees for the classes with like 7 skills in each tree… So there really isn’t much build choice, there probably will end up being roughly 2 build per class each, and skills feel very un-empactful. You level and you almost feel like you gained no power whatsoever. there is no stat point allocation further limiting your player and build choices, this isn’t a deal breaker, but after experiencing the limited itemization and skill system it just feels very underwhelming overall.

Other users notice a different approach to game design and UI common for mobile games.

You can tell this was designed to be a mobile game alone by the large UI/Buttons and narrow FOV. Only two skill trees with seven skills in each which some are pretty similar and generic. No more stat points. No more fishing. No more spell scrolls. Enemies and bosses are boring and move slow (mobile game so needs to be like this for touch controls). Levels are small and short (meant to be played in small quick play sessions on a mobile device). Map overlay only appears when the player stops moving? There is a passive skill section with quite a lot of skills to choose from but you can only equip three and each one unlocks at level 5, 20, 40. The Runic weapon is somewhat interesting and is an active item you equip. You have five to choose from, they level up and have a small talent tree but most of the talents are pretty generic and do not allow much room for creativity. Your Pet can equip four skills (out of a total of 12) but again nothing too exciting here. Everything just seems very generic and dumbed down when it comes to making a build. If they released this on mobile and didn’t call it Torchlight III it actually wouldn’t be too bad but this is not the sequel to Torchlight II you have been looking for.

Looks like a mobile game. Feels like a mobile game. Not a mobile price tag and not what I expected from previous entries in the series. Combat is slow and unrewarding, with difficulty level seeming to be more of a “tediousness” selector. Character development is pretty unimaginative with minimal build depth or interesting interaction between skills (of which there are only a small handful in two skill trees per character).

You can read about other issues on the Steam reviews page. It seems to me “the root of all evil” is developers switching from the free-to-play model, which I assume was probably geared towards mobile MMO, to the pay-to-play model during the development cycle. 

Torchlight 3‘s Early Access Launch trailer was revealed during this past weekend as a part of many reveals prepared for the PC Gaming Show. In case you’ve missed the show, we have a neat recap for you.  On the positive note, many players are happy with art direction and sound. The game looks and sounds similar to previous Torchlight games.

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