Game Review: Torchlight
Release: October 27, 2009
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Runic Games
Available Platforms: PC
Torchlight is a Diablo style dungeon crawler from Runic Games. The game isn’t like Diablo on accident, some people who worked on the past Diablo games are the leaders at Runic Games. Torchlight was made in a little less than a year and the game only costs 20 dollars, but that doesn’t mean it can’t compete with all the other big releases of the season.
At the beginning of Torchlight, gamers will choose which of three classes they want to be. The Destroyer: a giant of a man who specializes in getting close to dispatch his enemies. The Alchemist: A magic user who would rather stand back and let his minions do the dirty work. Or the Vanquisher: a foxy lady who likes ranged weapons and traps. The class the gamers choose will affect how they play Torchlight and offer a good range of play styles.
The gameplay is extremely similar to Diablo. Click on the screen to walk, attack, pick up items, ect. You can use hotkeys for potions, items, and powers. If you have ever played and action RPG on the PC before then nothing about the gameplay will surprise you.
Another similarity Torchlight has to Diablo is that it is very fun. Running around dungeons and murdering hundreds of monsters is addictive. Everyone who enjoys RPGs knows that leveling up is what keeps you playing and in Torchlight gamers will level up a lot. Constantly gaining new powers as your level goes up makes the gameplay feel less repetitive, even if you are just killing monsters in a slightly different way.
Loot is another important part of any dungeon crawler, and Torchlight has a lot of loot to collect. There are tons of weapons and armor to collect. The prospect of finding a new item keeps you going until way past your bedtime. Finding a powerful new sword or axe makes you want to find an enemy ASAP so you can bash it into their skull. Leveling up also reveals that there are different ways to play as each class. The three classes each have 3 separate skill trees. I liked having options for how my class played and being able to mix different skill trees.
Perhaps my favorite part of Torchlight’s gameplay is your hero’s pet. You can choose a dog or a cat at the beginning of your game and it will be at your side from start to finish. Your pet is there to make things easier. It attacks your enemies, can carry items for you, you can equip it with rings and amulets, even teach it spells. The best feature of your pet is that gamers can load it up with unwanted loot and send it into town to sell. This is a great addition to classic action RPG mechanics. I hated having to constantly mange my loot and drop items when I wasn’t near a merchant. It seems like a small thing but it makes a world of difference while you are playing.
While Diablo is extremely fun, and thus, a great game to emulate, I would have liked to see Torchlight find its own voice more. The pet is a great addition, but other than that it really sticks to action RPG basics. Torchlight is a lot of fun, but not much in its mechanics make it stand out.
Bobby’s Final Say: Torchlight is a fun and very addictive game. Even though Runic Games stayed close to classic action RPG gameplay, that gameplay is still very fun. It is absolutely worth the 20 dollars it is selling for. A word of warning, after getting the game, do not plan on getting to sleep on time.
P.S. If you do not like that it is strictly single player, Runic Games is already at work on a free to play MMO in the Torchlight world with Torchlight’s dungeon crawling gameplay.