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February 24th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

With Torchlight II and Diablo III on the horizon, there may be no better time to check out Torchlight if you haven’t done so already.

Torchlight Title Screen

Not to be confused with that British train wreck, Torchwood.

Torchlight is, quite simply, a Diablo clone. Okay, maybe that wasn’t much help to those who haven’t played Diablo or Diablo II. All of these games are top down action RPGs and are probably the leading cause of carpal tunnel syndrome cases in the United States. You know when you’ve entered a room with someone playing one of these games based on the sound of excessive clicking and the groans of protest coming from the mouse.

Some may call Torchlight a dumbed down version of Diablo II, however that both is and isn’t the case. It is true that Diablo II offers more in terms of classes and detailed item mashing via the Horadric Cube, however Torchlight does things that Diablo II doesn’t. For example, in Torchlight, your pet (more on that in a minute) has its own inventory space and you can send it back to town to sell the contents of said inventory without having to go yourself. Your pet will be unavailable for a short time, however the convenience of this feature more than makes up for that.

You’ll have a choice of playing as one of three characters. You can’t change their gender or their physical features, but you can name them and can choose either a cat or dog as a permanent pet. This pet, which you can also name, travels with you, fights, and levels up with you. You can also assign a limited amount of spells to the pet as well as feed it fish so that it can transform into various things.

Torchlight Pets

Luckily, your pet cannot die. When its health reaches 0 HP, it automatically refills.

Like Diablo II, you’ll have a chest back in town you can store things in. In addition, you’ll have a shared stash that you can share between your characters. If you find something on one character that you want to give to one of your other characters, you can place it in the shared stash to be retrieved later. You’ll also have access to identity scrolls and town portal scrolls, which allow you to identify unknown items and warp back to town, respectively.

You’ll be able to go on quests, buy and sell loot to NPC vendors, and all that other jazz that you’d normally find in an RPG. Each character class has a talent tree you can put skill points into as you level up. Those who play or have played Diablo I or II will feel right at home with the mechanics.

Torchlight Fame

A fame increase? Pffffft…just another day at the office.

The three main classes are:

The Destroyer: Mainly melee combat, similar to the barbarian class.

The Vanquisher: A ranged, rogue like class that uses traps.

The Alchemist: A mage / necromancer class that can cast powerful magic and also summon more pets, if specced into that talent tree.

Leveling up allows you to put points into Strength, Dexterity, Magic, and Defense. The in-game tool tips do an excellent job in helping you decide where to put those points. The Alchemist, for example, would probably go with Magic and Defense. Some items (weapons and armor) you pickup will require a minimum point value in Strength or Dexterity so it’s a good idea to throw a little bit their way too, just enough to equip those items.

Torchlight Talent Tree

The “Lore” talent tree allows me to sit back with a bag of popcorn while my minions wipe the floor with the bad, bad monsters.

Speaking of loot, there is plenty of it. Some are standard white pieces and others are common greens, uncommon blues, rare purple and oranges, and so on, complete with special stats. A window will pop up if you hover your mouse over the item, telling you what you currently have equipped (and its stats) to quickly see if you’d want to switch out the item.

Those interested will be happy to know that there is a free demo out there in various places…Steam included. I see it for sale on Steam as well on a regular basis, sometimes even as cheap as five bucks. Full price currently runs for about fifteen bucks.

Torchlight Fishing

Prefer fishing to being Rambo? Torchlight has that too…sort of.

Torchlight II looks interesting and will hopefully be released sometime over the next few months, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Their website speaks of new classes and co-op play so that you can play online with friends. This is a welcome addition to the single player only Torchlight that we currently have on our plate.

Personally, I recommend you give Torchlight a try. If you can get the game while it’s on sale, it practically becomes a steal. Even at fifteen bucks the game is worth it, in my opinion. It’s a semi-mindless romp with enough complexity to keep things interesting but not too much to drive off the casual gamer. Someone I know, who I will not name to protect their privacy, has sunk over nineteen hours into it already and they don’t normally play video games. I bought it for them about seven days ago.

Casual gamers and hardcore Diablo players needing to scratch their Diablo itch (don’t visualize that) would do well to give this a go.

As always, check your PC specs and the system requirements before purchasing.

Final Verdict: 9/10

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