Game Review #9


Torchlight is an action-role playing game released by Runic Games.  Development of the game is led by Travis Baldree, designer of Fate, and Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, co-designers of Diablo and Diablo II, joined by the team that developed Mythos.  This fantasy-themed game is set in the fictional town of Torchlight and the expansive caverns and dungeons nearby, which adventurers explore to collect valuable loot and battle hordes of monsters.

The player controls a lone hero who explores a series of randomized dungeons, fighting large numbers of enemies and collecting equipment, gold, and other loot. The game also features a single town which serves as a hub, to which the player character can periodically return to buy and sell items to NPC vendors and obtain quests. As the protagonist delves into the dungeon, a series of quests are presented which involve battling unique bosses that advance the main storyline. Optionally, the player may take on side quests, random quests or visit branching dungeon areas. The graphics are three dimensional and viewed from an overhead perspective, similar to the isometric perspective used in the original Diablo. The game is controlled using a point-and-click mouse interface and keyboard hotkeys.

The game generates each level of the dungeon by assembling modular “chunks” of the game environment. Each chunk is designed by hand and may be composed of multiple rooms. They can contain scripted events and interactive objects such as levers that open secret doors or cause bridges to move. This approach to level generation is intended to create dungeons with more purposeful design, instead of environments that simply look like “crossword puzzles that have been extruded upwards.”

I stumbled upon this game through Steam, a free digital distribution and multiplayer communications software.  It’s great for people who play, or want to play games on the computer.  They constantly have great discounts on various titles.  Check it out.

Torchlight features 3 character classes:

  • The Destroyer is a wandering warrior skilled in melee combat, although he also has the ability to call upon ancestral spirits to produce magical effects.
  • The Alchemist is a spellcaster drawn to magical power of Ember. He can fire blasts of magic and electricity from his specialized focus glove and can summon imps and steampunk-styled robots.
  • The Vanquisher is an elite city guard, sent undercover to investigate the town of Torchlight. She specializes in ranged weapons and can also use traps against her foes.

This game has a great “fun factor.”  It’s a hack-and-slash, but doesn’t have a lot of button mashing like most games of its genre.  There is a multitude of  ways to upgrade your weapons and items, as well as pass them to your other characters.  This creates much more interest in the game overall.

My biggest complaint is that you can’t re-specialize  and experiment once you have chosen your skills.  I would like to try all of the combinations of skills on each character, but unlike most other games, once you choose your skills, you are stuck with them, unless you make a new character from scratch.  Other than that, the only thing that I wish it had was more unique fights.  There are a unique few boss fights following the storyline, but throughout most of the game, the fighting style stays the same.

Overall, I would say that this game is worth trying out if you can find it for a discount during one of Steam’s sales.  Its a good buy if you like titles such as Diablo.


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