Back in 2001, Blizzard unleashed the Action-RPG phenomenon Diablo II, and after a decade of mutliplayer brilliance: it's still being played to this day. After Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer left Blizzard; they, along with Runic Games, released the next Action-RPG for Max and Erich: Torchlight. Using elements of what they learned with Diablo II and the newer technology of the OGRE Engine, Runic Games created what is to be an amazing Single-Player experience for a sticker-shocking price.
Torchlight is the name of the town in which your hero will be visiting and soon to be saving. Your hero will be one of three classes: The Destroyer, with skills in melee; The Alchemist, with skills in magic; and The Vanquisher, with skills in range. Your hero will help out two fighters trying to find their lost master, who's been infected with the power of the Ember that Torchlight has mass quantities of. What you'll notice off the bat is that Torchlight bears a heavy resemblance to Diablo II: a town which all merchants, quest-givers, even the town song bears a feel of Diablo II in it. If you've played it, you'll find yourself right at home with Torchlight, which is all about killing minions to get the best loot.
The level design for the 30+ levels for the main story's dungeon are fantastic, going with more of a cartoonish look, with lavish underground scenery that really steals the show when fighting the hordes of monsters. Each level feels like you're going through a completely different scene in, where this also kills the illusion of it being a dungeon, it's certainly better than playing through creepy dark caverns over and over again. Although Torchlight doesn't allow you to create your own character character, everything you put on your character; minus rings and amulets, will be shown on your character in full detail. Epic Shoulder Pads, crazy looking Gloves, and everything in between is pasted onto your character to give a greater feel to connecting with the character; especially with the sick looking weapons, guns, and bows.
The Quests in Torchlight allow both casual and hardcore players to enjoy completion one floor at a time. Players can have up five quests ranging from defeating a specific mini boss, to finding a valuable piece of Ember, to entering a portal to retrieve treasure. Though these quests run tried and true with the feel of the game, they'll get repetitive for players who want to play into the 30-40+ hours of the game. It's all about the dungeon crawling, and that's exactly what these quests pertain to. Early in the game, these quests are fun and enjoyable, but like said before, when you've gone through the 50th floor, and you're doing the same quests: it will get repetitive.
The leveling system in Torchlight is similar to many RPGs: kill many things, go up levels, and the sort. But when you level, you'll upgrade stats and skills in a simplified Diablo II manner. You'll receive 5 points per level to upgrade Strength, Dexterity, Magic, or Defense. While you level up, you'll also gain 1 Skill Point to put in one of three skill trees, all giving different styles to build your character. The skills definitely do give very different ways in which to make your character, and since the MAX level on the skill is only 10, unlike Diablo II's 20; you're able to MAX out multiple spells early in the game to really dish out good power. Having simplified trees and less levels per skill is a great way to bring casual players into the Action-RPG genre before Diablo III hits shelves.
What's the most amazing thing about Torchlight is nothing of the game, but how much the game is. Running a total of 30-40+ hours easy, all you have to pay is $20. It's stupid not to buy this game, but only if you like single-player; which comes to the worst part of the game: there's no multiplayer. Absolutely none. And it really hurts some of the replay ability in the game. Torchlight screams for multiplayer, I couldn't tell you how much more I would've played this game if I had a partner to dungeon dive with. But until the rumored Torchlight MMO comes out, you're diving alone.
Torchlight, for what it's made for, is worth every penny of the $20 asking price. Limitless dungeon crawling, amazing looking levels, tons of loot, and addictive gameplay really make Torchlight stand out. But the late-game repetitiveness and no multiplayer really hurt it's credibility. But for $20 and 40+ hours of gameplay, you can't not get this game.
- + Limitless Dungeon Crawling
- + Unbelievably Inexpensive
- + All The Greatness of Diablo II...
- - ...Minus the Multiplayer
- - Quests get Repetitive