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Torchlight Review
Posted on April 20, 2010 by OG

First and foremost, you are likely wondering, what does Torchlight stand for? The answer to that question is rather simple: it is the town that you are in. Beneath Torchlight, the town, there are many different ancient caverns with secrets and loot beyond imagine. The townspeople frequently need things done in the caverns, and this is where your story begins. Quickly after starting the initial quest your objective starts to become clear, overcome the taint that has infected you and everything below Torchlight. That means slaying thousands of monsters in the process.

Being an RPG at its core, Torchlight gives you a vast variety of stats, armor, sockets for items, XP, quests and more. The main objective in Torchlight is question beneath the seemingly endless caverns that lie below the city. At the very beginning of the game you get to choose to either be one of three classes: Alchemist (Mage), Destroyer (Warrior), or Vanquisher (Hunter/Archer/Survivalist). I personally for this review played as a Destroyer. You immediately get different categories you can put stat points in such as Strength, Magic, Dexterity, and more. Not only that, but you are immediately bonded with your dungeon crawling dog or cat.

Right off the bat you are thrown into conflict, and asked to explore the tombs and catacombs underneath Torchlight. With many people promising you amazing treasure, and quest rewards for your services. Not only that but the game actually ranks how the people feel about you, in a similar fashion to the Fable series known as �Fame,� as your Fame level goes up so does your recognition with the towns people offering a more RPG like experience as you conquer deeper and deeper into the tunnels of Torchlight. Mainly Fame is given after beating a Named NPC boss that is part of a quest, or just a named NPC in general.

Unlike other dungeon crawlers, Torchlight comes with a plethora of features, such as the ability to teleport to and from dungeons instantaneously via scrolls that are acquired in the game, this way it makes turning in quests, selling goods, and enchanting your items much much easier than trekking all the way back through the dungeon. Some quests that you partake even send you to their own personal dungeon. There was even one quest that dropped a quest tome that opened a portal to a long forgotten dungeon, all in linear fashion. Even if you don't feel like trekking back into town, your loyal companion has the ability to take items off your inventory that you don't want, and sell them in town while you are still in the dungeon.

Combat primarily takes place by clicking the left and right mouse buttons, with the scroll button being used as a zooming mechanism for the game. However, since this game is kind of a hybrid in additional to clicking the mouse you also have the 1-0 keys available to hot-key any spells, potions, or armor you may wish to have readily available. You are able to completely customize this toolbar to your likings, in a very similar style to World of Warcraft.

You cannot use keys to move your character at all. This is completely done in a clicking fashion. If you are like me, and playing on an HDTV, this can wear on your wrists rather quickly. Also sometimes it leads your character to frustrating points when there is a clear path for them to use and they don't. However, this seldom happens. By hot-keying everything else you can eliminate your mouse usage except to move your character. The camera, while not rotatable, does offer the ability to zoom in case you want to see a bit more detail, but I found the normal settings to be just fine for me.

The enemy AI in this game is fairly good, and at time there are tough challenges ahead of you, so be sure you are always stocked up on potions. Throughout your quest, you will find several mini-puzzles involving levers, doors, and the such, but none are too hard to figure out. Your quests are tracked in a good fashion with your quest log, that way you can know what you are looking for and where you are looking for it. What sort of bugged me was the lack of an arrow to point you in the direction of your next quest location. I actually think I missed some, so exploring everywhere before you progress is a bit of a must if you want to finish each and every quest.

Just as in more recent RPGs since World of Warcraft, this game has a wonderful loot system that gets more rewarding as you kill more enemies. As in World of Warcraft you have 5 different colors of loot which represent their rarity. From white to purple, there is plenty of loot to keep your player satisfied. One thing however that did bug me about the loot system was sometimes the quest and boss drops later on in the game were worse than something I got on the first few floors underneath Torchlight. For example the weapon I was using at level 12 was the same weapon I found at level 2, albeit enchanted and socketed with jewels to make it better. I have yet to find a better weapon, even though I have gone through many more dungeons and quests.

Armor is another place the game shines with the loot system, allowing you to socket armor, enchant armor and more to bring it up to par. After every named you kill you normally get at least one piece of armor that is worth something to your character. If not, you can simply send your Dog/Cat away to sell it in town for you. I really enjoy the fact that they allow for such customization of your items in the game, and it gives your character a genuinely unique feeling. Every person who plays this game will eventually have different armor and enchantments/sockets than every one else.

Not only are you given armor for you, but you are allowed to feed your dog/cat items you are able to fish out of the ruins that temporarily transform them into elemental creatures, helping you wreak damage on just about any enemy that stands in your way. This is a great addition to the game, and lets have even more customization with how your character and his companion progress. Some of the items you fish out are even beneficial to your character and provide buffs or stat increases.

Coming in at only around 500 MB I wasn't expecting all that much in the way of graphics or sound from Torchlight, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. The graphics, while not ground breaking, seem like the Warcraft 3 engine mixed with a little World of Warcraft engine. It does look kind of dated, but that doesn't detract from the overall fun factor of the game. The sound however, seems to be lacking. There is very little to the soundtrack, and very little ambient noise. When you are in battle everything is great but outside that, I felt the score could personally use a little bit of work; In a dungeon crawler it does kind of get repetitive, but I would have enjoyed something other than silence as I walk around looking for baddies.

Surprising is the amount of time you can actually spend on this game. It may seem like an �Arcade� download, however I spent more time playing this game than I have actual retail copies of newer games. I am currently 15+ hours into the game and it is still going, which is amazing for a 500 MB game. I thought it was going to be one of those three hour beat it quick games, and I was totally wrong. The game takes time and it rewards you for your time played in the form of new loot.

All in all, I feel that Torchlight is a very sanctifying experience. It clearly had some of the best talent from some of Blizzard's old teams working their magic on it, and it worked. The only complaints that I have is that you MUST click in order to move your character. If you could simply walk using the keyboard, that would help my wrist from not hurting so much. But as a freshman game from a freshman developer made up of some of the industries finest it is hard not to like this game. If you are a fan of Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, and other Dungeon Crawlers, than for $19.99 this game is a steal. I recommend it to anyone looking to play a game that reminds you of the good old days, and anyone looking for a nice Dungeon Crawler.

- GamerX

OG - Editor-in-Chief / Original Gamer og (@) | all author's articles

Is crowd funding the way of the future?

Absolutely. It gives power to the gamers by letting them pay for the games they want to see.
Nope. Crowd sourcing will be fine for a year or two until too many developers do not follow through with their games and waste our money.
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