The Xbox Live Arcade version of Torchlight has been significantly altered to fit the console experience.
With Torchlight for Xbox Live Arcade recently revealed as part of Microsoft's upcoming House Party release event, many gamers are wondering how the hack-and-slash RPG is going to make the transition from PC to console. Runic Games has made an attempt to allay any concern by divulging a significant number of changes made for the XBLA version of the RPG.
Torchlight's major alterations on XBLA are in the form of UI (user interface) and control differences. Runic says that the UI has been "completely overhauled" to work better on the Xbox 360, to the point where "nothing works the same." Item slots for inventory management are gone, with players simply able to hold 50 total items with some like potions able to stack up to 99. Movement is analog, giving players the ability to move faster or slower depending on the tilt of the control stick.
The XBLA version of Torchlight won't use a "virtual cursor" for combat either. Runic has changed combat so that players will move forward when using melee strikes, similar to other third-person action games, with those same strikes now doing damage to every enemy in the player's "damage cone" instead of a single target. Players still have a highlighted "primary" target, but are now able to attack more than one enemy with a single strike. Ranged attacks use an automated system for targeting, though certain moves have a default distance that can be "finessed" to be longer or shorter with the control pad's triggers.
Every one of the PC version's skills are still in Torchlight for XBLA, though some have been altered to work better on the Xbox 360. Four skills can be mapped to the Xbox 360's control pad at once, with two sets of four swappable using the D-pad. In addition, players no longer have to worry about choosing different healing or mana potions, because the game will "auto pick" the best one.
The way Runic tells it, the only feature not making the trek to XBLA are secondary weapon sets, which it says felt "horrible in inventory management." Runic also revealed that it's improving the game with faster loading times, better "animation blending," an upgraded automap, three new armor sets, new random quests, and a new pet called the Chakawary, which according to screenshots is a little dinosaur.
Though Diablo-style games have often struggled on consoles, it's quite possible that Runic Games has pulled off a successful conversion with these changes. I wasn't planning to buy it again, but it almost seems like a different game now.
PlayStation 3 owners might be saddened to know that Torchlight is not planned for release on the PlayStation Network at the moment, because Microsoft is publishing it on XBLA. It'll be released sometime after February 16.
Source: Runic Games