Game Review: "Torchlight" for the PC

12/23/2009 Posted by Admin

Game Review

"Torchlight" for the PC

By our guest blogger, David Voyles

"Torchlight," for all intents and purposes, is a "Diablo" clone. But that’s only because developer Runic Games consists of a number of members from the first two "Diablo" teams. This title provides the perfect balance of hack-and-slash to hold you over until "Diablo III" is finally released in 2000-whatever. Fast-paced action and a wonderfully crafted role play system will keep you playing this title for quite a bit.

The story is nothing to write home about. It’s something about a mining village alongside a mountain where bad things are going down. You’ll occasionally play alongside a fellow NPC adventurer, but not frequently enough to have you want to invest your time in learning his background. It’s barely passable as a story, but then again, not too many people play a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler for the story. The rest of the game more than make up for this.

The environment is a bit of a mix-up between medieval and steampunk, which creates a unique feel, combined with the World of Warcraft-esq graphics. If "Diablo" and "WoW" had a baby, this would be their lovechild. The characters you’ll meet (although a very limited few) are different from one another as well. A sorceress occasionally will meet you in the dungeon to guide you to your next point and move the story along, while the towns folk consist of dwarves who will imbue your items with gems, a miner who will sell you potions, and a robot who sends you on assassination missions.

The character selection is your run-of-the-mill dungeon-crawler experience. You are given the choice of the strapping melee fighter, the thief/rogue who specializes in long-range attacks, or the magic wielding alchemist--who also has minions at his disposal. Naturally, I chose him. That’s as far as character customization goes at the offset, other than the fact that you can choose either a cat or a dog to work alongside you as a companion who attacks other creatures. The animal can also grow to larger, more ferocious things when it consumes magical fish or meat, which adds a bit more to gameplay.

Character progression is typical--experience is earned for killings mobs, as well as handing in quests. You are then allotted five points for each level to place into one of four stat categories: strength, dexterity, magic, armor. You are also granted one point to place into one of three skill trees to add your own flavor to your characters. This is one of the things that kept me hanging out--the desire to get to the next skill point and try out the next skill.

What does hurt this game is the lack of multiplayer. This title is just itching for some friends to hop in and stomp some mobs, but unfortunately, it is not included. Runic has plans to turn this into some sort of MMO, and the modding community is currently tinkering with adding multiplayer, but it has some time to go. The campaign is entertaining enough to keep you engrossed, but I had that feeling in the back of my mind the entire time that it could be an even greater experience with a friend at my side.

Another thing that will surely have gamers coming back for more is the great loot. Similar to "Borderlands," the loot dropped by mobs is random--and a driving force that consistently had me craving more. Each time I felt as if I had an excellent weapon that would cut through dungeon minions like a hot knife through butter, another weapon--whether it was rifle, axe or staff--would come by and have me weighing the bonuses of each. Also in a similar fashion to "Diablo," players must use scrolls of town portal to warp back to town and pawn off their abundance of booty frequently, as your inventory is limited, although your sidekick pet does have an inventory to assist you as well, much like the pack mule in "Dungeon Siege."

Bosses are scattered throughout the game, as are elite mobs which obviously drop better loot as well. Sometimes, though, through excellent skill tree combinations, the fights can be so easy that you don’t even realize you’re fighting a boss until it’s over. Either way, fights are a sight to behold as enemies explode on screen along with your vivid spells and plethora of skills.

It gets better. Not only are Torchlight’s system requirements so low that even a netbook could play this game and it still would look beautiful, but it certainly is one of the best RPG’s to hit the PC in quite a while. At $20, this title is the best deal I have ever seen in gaming history, and I’ve been playing games for 20 years. In fact, it was only $10 last week on steam. I can’t recommend this game enough, as it is one of the few titles in recent memory where once I began playing, I couldn’t put it down. Do yourself a favor and pick up "Torchlight" immediately.

View the trailer for "Torchlight" below. Thoughts?

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  1. Anonymous said...

    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  2. Admin said...