Please rate my review: Torchlight
High: it’s like Diablo!
Low: it’s like Diablo…
WTF: My dog summons zombies and shoots fireballs!
There are various reasons for going to Torchlight. One of them is the spectacle. I sometimes like seeing things burning and blowing up. In the mines below the small village of Torchlight there are plenty of opportunities to blow things up. It does feel pretty good to see a continuous rain of fire mow down skeletons and zombies. They don’t simply burn to ashes. No, some of them literally explode, leaving nothing but a bloody splat on the cathedral floor next to a fistful of gold. My trusty dog raises some minions of his own, when he’s not busy selling the just found treasures to the highest bidder. I am a Vanquisher, came to the town of Torchlight searching for fame and treasures. But did I come to find Diablo?
Even though he was defeated in Tristram years ago and defeated once again in hell some time after, Diablo hangs over Torchlight like November fog. Everyone who ever played either Diablo game will immediately know what to do, everyone else as well. Leftclick somewhere and you walk there. Click on someone friendly to talk or trade, click one a monster to attack. Repeat until the monster falls over, then you can click on whatever is left on the floor to pick it up. If you are advanced you can click on the right mouse button for an alternative attack and hit Tab for switching to a second alternative attack. That’s as complex as it gets.
Torchlight is an easy game until you suddenly die. The first death is without warning and not necessarily because of some strong boss monster. My first death was because I opened a treasure chest. But the game asks you how much you want to be penalized. It doesn’t want to scare you off. You can simply choose to loose nothing except being sent back to town. It doesn’t want to hold you back for too long from killing monsters and collecting loot. The killing becomes secondary at the point where your character becomes a weapon of mass destruction. Collecting better weapons, rings and armor is what keeps you driving forward. The combat, though enjoyable for some time, eventually feels repetitive and even the instant-death moments don’t change much since there is no real penalty. Not unless you play hardcore mode of course, where death is not some small inconvenience.
I quickly forgot what I should do in Torchlight. The story about corruption and some ancient evil is delivered in text with voiceover you can skip. Not a very compelling way and it doesn't draw you in at any point. Doesn’t matter, I am too busy comparing my shield with a slightly better one that was dropped by some goblin a few moments ago. Maybe it’s more suitable for my other character? The three classes, Demolisher, Vanquisher and Alchemist are interesting variations of the old trio warrior, rogue and mage. There are no class specific items like in some other RPGs. Everyone can wear everything if the basic stats are high enough and the skill trees that differentiate the three classes are very flexible and invite to experimentation.
Torchlight is a competent action RPG and if you are drawn to this kind of game and counting the days until Diablo 3 arrives: get Torchlight. See it as a snack in between. It’s definitely worth your money. But as pretty as it is, it’s not redefining the genre in any way and leaves you wondering if it would have hurt to bring something new to the table.
Disclosures: This game was obtained via online retail and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 16 hours of play were devoted to single-player mode (completed 1 time). There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: a lot of comic violence but nothing to worry about for teenagers. No harsh language or swearwords.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing: There are subtitles for all dialogue and no acoustic clues that could be missed.
Last edited by Li-Ion; 12-03-2009 at 06:43 PM.