Torchlight ReviewAndy Wass
Does your life feel bland and empty without a new hack-n-slash RPG? Tired of duping in Diablo II? Bored to death with Titan's Quest? Sounds like you could use some Torchlight in your life! Torchlight is a Diablo clone with a cartoony, almost World of Warcraftish look to it. There is a demo available on Valve's Steam digital distribution system, as of right now this is the only place you may find the demo.
You may choose from one of three characters. The Destroyer is your typical melee powerhouse with a spirit summoning ability. The Vanquisher is a ranged attacker able to utilize the various guns and bows in the game as well as dual wielding pistols and melee weapons. Finally there is the Alchemist, being the predominantly magic based character able to fire ember bolts and summon imps and golems. Each class has an animal companion! Choose from a dog or a cat! Both will help you defeat bad guys and run back to town to sell items for you!
The game starts and predominantly takes place in, around, and under the city of Torchlight. Torchlight is a mining town sitting atop a rich Ember mine. Ember is a substance that is mined for its magical properties. Upon reaching Torchlight, your first task is to enter the mine and chase down an evil creature attacking the town. Utilizing a variety of weapons, from the atypical fantasy fare of axes and wands to the more steampunkish rifles and pistols, you will have to clear the mine of it's devious denizens. Don't forget about your class skills either! The Alchemist can chuck Ember bolts which are an excellent source of early game DPS. Later on, around level 7 or so you will find that they tend not to scale well compared to some of the wands you may find. I chose to go with a predominantly summoning path, since my favorite D2 class was always the Necromancer. So here I am with my dog, 4 imps, and a golem in tow, chucking bolts from my wand and blasting my offhand pistol. I don't even need to get close to my enemies. Just hold shift to stand still and click on them. It's almost too easy at this point (on normal difficulty) with my micro army.
Not only is there Diablo style combat but there is also a fishing mini-game! The fish that you catch can buff your character (for example, +20%xp for 300 seconds) but most are to feed to your pet to turn him into various critters like a spider or an electrical elemental to provide even more fire power for you.
Graphically, the game has more in common with Warcraft III than with Diablo and it can look down right cartoony at times. This doesn't detract from the gameplay one bit, in fact the look of the game just works so well. Should it look anymore serious it would be just a straight up clone. I am currently running the game on a 5 year old system. Slowdowns are rare, even on a single core processor and really only occur when I have all of my summons out and run in to 2 or more groups of enemies.
So to bring it all back home, Torchlight is a neat little single player Diablo clone with satisfying gameplay that may be a bit too easy. It is certainly worth 20 dollars since, just like in Diablo, the dungeons are randomized. Add in the number of different skill builds and you've got yourself quite a bit of replay value. There's also a hardcore mode if that's your thing. Just be careful! If you are unsure then by all means check out the demo on Steam. Be sure to checkout www.torchlightgame.com for ordering info and also be sure to keep a lookout for the Torchlight MMO that Runic Games is planning on developing.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.