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Torchlight Review

Torchlight review


  Every once in awhile I get the urge to reinstall Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, and without fail I find myself drawn once more into the world of Sanctuary. So what does this have to do with Torchlight you ask?


  Well Erich and Max Schaefer the co-designers of Diablo 1 and 2 and a bunch of other people who worked on Diablo and also the game Fate just happen to be part of the team that put Torchlight together.


  For those who have played the Diablo series of games prepare for a serious case of Deja Vu, in fact Ed Glaser of Dark Maze Studios could probably make an episode of Deja View about Torchlight.


Torchlight math

A hiccup in the matrix?


  Like in the original Diablo you get to play as one of three different classes. The Destroyer, Vanquisher, or Alchemist.


Destroyer, Vanquisher, Alchemist

            Destroyer                        Vanquisher                       Alchemist


  The Destroyer is your basic barbarian melee combatant; he focuses on beating his enemies into the ground. The Vanquisher is the ranged combatant who uses bows and guns to fight her enemies from a distance. The Alchemist is the caster class of Torchlight; he summons minions and blasts his enemies away with eldritch force.


  Don't feel forced to embrace the role, if you want your destroyer to whip out a pistol or for your Vanquisher to go sword and board, the choice is up to you.


  There are four important stats that each character has Strength (melee damage), Dexterity (ranged damage), Magic (spell damage), and Defense (armor). Each level you gain gives you 5 points that you can distribute amongst your abilities as you see fit. Just remember that if you want to use certain equipment that you must meet the minimum requirements first to do so.


Vanquisher in the dungeons of Torchlight

So familiar...


  Each character also has a set of three Talent trees that can be used to help improve or specialize your character. You gain 1 talent point for each experience level gained and 1 point for each level of fame that you reach.


  Each character gets to use a wide range of equipment including weapons, rings, necklace, helmet, gloves, armor, shoes, and shields. Your character also comes with four universal spell slots.


  Although Torchlight is strictly a solo game you do not have to venture into the world all alone. At character creation you are given the choice of a cat or dog companion, much like you were in the game Fate. The animal companion will not only defend you in the dungeons below Torchlight, but is also trained to carry saddle bags. At any time you can send you animal companion off back to town to sell loot. Just how the animal negotiates with the merchants will leave to the imagination.


  You can equip your animal companion with up to two magic rings as well as a magical necklace. Your pet also has the ability to cast spells! With only two spell slots available to your pet you must be careful with what you teach them. You have no control over when your pet will activate the spells that it knows (never waste an Identify or Town Portal spell on a pets spell slots). These spells can be switched out for different spells later on, but you must destroy the spells the pet currently has in their spell slot first before they can learn the new spell.


  The game begins in the small mining boomtown of Torchlight. The miners of Torchlight seek out a magical substance known as Ember. The town sits over a very rich vein of Ember, but mining has come to a halt after the mines became flooded with monsters.


  Upon your arrival on the western edge of town you witness the heroes Syl and Brink fighting back some monsters at the entrance of the Ember mines. Brink rushes off into the mine by himself and Syl asks you to go after him.


Syl & Brink

                                Syl                                                 Brink


  What you have ahead of you is 35 levels of dungeons beneath the town of Torchlight and the tale of master Alric's fall.


  The town of Torchlight has several services that an adventure will find quite handy including storage, merchants, enchanters, and transmuters.


  You will also find that the townsfolk need you to do a few things in the dungeons for them. This is a great way to earn fame.


  The Transmuter NPC (non player character) is a non mobile version of the old Horadric Cube from Diablo 2. You can place various items inside of the box that opens when you talk to the NPC and combine them to gain a different item.


  The Enchanter NPC can add random new abilities or sockets to your items. Be careful because he can also disenchant your items by accident rendering them completely mundane except for any sockets the item may have acquired.



If it's a whopping you're a wanting.


  Torchlight is far from perfect, the animations and art style are very cartoonish. There are a paltry amount of quests given out by the townsfolk, all of which boil down to fetch this item or kill this NPC mob in the most literal sense.


  The story and NPC's did not draw me in as they had in Diablo 1 and 2, there was just something missing that I cannot put my finger on.


  Another issue is the lack of any way to respec in Torchlight, this can be a pain when you waste points in a skill on the talent trees that does not function as you expected.


  As I have said before, this is purely a solo game. I am sure multiplayer would have elevated this game to another level, but in all honesty it works just fine without it. If you are a fan of the Diablo series, you will find yourself right at home in the world of Torchlight, new comers will have a bit of a tougher time until they grasp how the enchanter and transmuter work, but will still have fun in the dungeons below Torchlight.


  Overall an inexpensive (currently $14.99) and fun little game, you will get hours of dungeon crawling goodness out of.


Final verdict for Torchlight 8/10




Torchlight is available on the PC, Mac, and also the X-BOX 360 via the Xbox live arcade.



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