GAMING: Torchlight

Torchlight does not have a single original bone in its body. And that’s a good thing. Made by the same people who made the mega-hit Diablo and Diablo II games, Torchlight does exactly what Action RPG’s are supposed to do, offer fun, fast-paced dungeon crawls with a plethora of environments centered around a “doomsday” plot.

Key features:
-Three character classes: Alchemist, Destroyer, and Vanquisher. These roughly correspond to Caster, Melee, and Ranged, respectively, and merge together many of the skills and ideas found in such Diablo II character classes as the Necromancer, Sorceress, Barbarian, and Amazon/Rogue.

-Dungeons are not completely random, but that’s a good thing for all of us frustrated by Diablo’s/Diablo II’s sprawling, sometimes completely non-sensicle environments.

-Plot centers around Torchlight, a town (a la Tristram) just outside the “Ember” mines there. Ember is, apparently, the physical manifestation of magical energy that can be mined…and…does it really matter?

-Moddable. Torchlight provides gamers nearly endless opportunity to mod the game with everything from new textures, item sets, or even new class skills.

There are serious detractions, however. First and foremost, there is no multiplayer. I am not sure whether to believe forum posts saying the company Runic Games will not implement one, but this is the most glaring defect I can see with the game. Secondly, the game is very new and many of us craving the overwhelming options provided by Diablo II’s expansion, Lord of Destruction, will be left wanting; although the game uses many of the same features, like socketable items, enchantments, item sets, unique named items, etc., it does not have the same variety (yet?). Lastly, while Torchlight does rip off some of the class skills demonstrated by Diablo III preview demos, it does not offer as many unique and interesting spells/skills to use; this is much like Diablo II where you mashed “whirlwind” as a Barbarian or “chain lightning” as a sorceress as your bread-and-butter skill.

In conclusion, for $20, it’s most definitely worth your time, if only to occupy yourself until Diablo III lands (now they’re talking about 2011!!!???). Torchlight offers everything you loved about Diablo and Diablo II with a slightly new twist. Lack of multiplayer is a serious detraction, but not enough to excuse skipping over this game.

I have this game and concur with much of your review. (I found Lord of Destruction to be Item Option Overload. D2 was already an excercise in slogging through a slagpile, 98% of the items dropped being worthless and LoD made it worse.) I would point out that Torchlight is really a prelude to a massively multiplayer game to come later. So one could almost see this game as a demo. Also, I think they do indeed depart from the Diablo formula in one major aspect: the character renderings have that World of Warcraft cartoonishness. If you hate that, you will hate this. Many Blizzard fans are praying till they sweat bood that D3 does not go down a WoW road.

As far as D3’s release date, they say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans; likewise, if you want to make a gamer laugh, tell them Blizzard’s release date. :smiley:

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