Torchlight Frontiers first gameplay shows a clever MMO-ish world

Torchlight Frontiers first gameplay

Gamescom is coming in a few days and with it a deluge of Torchlight Frontiers-related articles and videos. But the first Torchlight Frontiers gameplay video showed up a few hours ago as an IGN exclusive, accompanied by those darn things… what the name… Oh, right, words!

The art style of the new game is clearly Torchlight, but there is a sense of evolution to it – Torchlight Frontiers doesn't use its slightly garish cartoon aesthetic as an excuse to offer low details or poor textures, quite on the contrary. There are sweet character and creature animations all-around, as well as some nice environment animations to spice up things. If you thought that this was going to be a low-budget, sad excuse for a new Torchlight game, rest assured: it looks good and moves smoothly.

As for the actual twist of the game and its raison d'etre (being a shared-world MMO game, in case you forgot), it feels justified. The previous Torchlight games featured the towns and the procedurally-generated dungeons where the main action happened, and Torchlight Frontiers brings a third type of zone, one where larger groups of players will party up and fight just like in your traditional MMO. If it's anything like the dozens of players seen in Lost Ark, we're in! But it could also be a more confined experience as seen in games such as SoulWorker – we're yet to get an answer to this question. There are pets as well, and so far three were revealed: a dog, an owl and an alpaca.

Torchlight Frontiers takes an interesting approach to leveling up, ditching the traditional concept seen in most MMORPGs and opting for a system where your level is determined by the quality of the equipment you are currently carrying. This is also how dungeons work – you compare your item level to the dungeon challenge level to see if it fits your hero.

As for the business model, Perfect World Entertainment isn't talking about it just yet, so there's a 50/50 chance that Torchlight Frontiers could be free-to-play. But we do know that it is coming to PC in 2019, with Xbox One and PS4 releases following.

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