Monday, 25 April 2011

Torchlight In-Depth Review

The creative masterminds from Diablo I and Diablo II revitalise the dungeon-crawler genre with an isometric click-fest extravaganza called Torchlight. First impressions may result in a childish overview, however the hordes of monsters and a deep character customisation involving a well-crafted talent-tree system results in an engaging gameplay experience.

The ever-so familiar town centre
Set in the serene mining town of Torchlight itself, players first have to choose a stereotypical archetype for their playable-character. The three classes found in Torchlight cover the orthodox prototypes found in any RPG. The Destroyer is a melee-based class who relies upon brute force and dual-wielding swords in order to decimate his enemies. The second class is the Vanquisher who uses ranged weaponry combined with devious traps to kill her enemies. The final class is the Alchemist whose skills are akin to that of a mage. Despite there being only three classes, there is enormous depth to each class, you even get a trusty companion who joins you on your epic journey! Again, even though you can only choose from two domestic (absurd, I know) animals as your loyal guardians, there is much more depth to them than the naked-eye can perceive. Pets can be transformed into a multitude of creatures using special fish which, not only transforms the former pathetic aesthetics of your pet, but also changes the skills, strengths and weaknesses, making certain transformations useful to certain situations.

More importantly the pet has an inventory of its own which you can transfer junk into so you can save your own bag space, but the most startling feature is that your pet can carry your undesirable items into town and sell them for you, making down-time virtually none! On top of that, your pet can don an amulet, two rings and can even learn spells to auto-cast during combat. The pet can fare well on its own, but from time to time, you'll need to drag a potion or two to avoid losing your friend.

The game's controls are simple, yet sophisticated. You must utilise mouse-clicking to move while skills (and potions) can be hot-keyed to various buttons such as the left and right mouse-click and numbers 0-9. The control system is quick and easy to master yet is extremely effective at the same time. The health and mana bars of your character are aptly located in the centre of the screen making it easy to concentrate on both the monster's health, and your own.

The fishing system is ridiculously basic.
The game is extremely addictive and shines from other recent dungeon crawler releases. Everything that makes the genre so wonderful is present in this single game. Armour customisation is even possible with an array of gems and even enchants. The loot system has carefully been designed to keep the player "hooked", the game distributes a perfect balance of both essentials (like town portal scrolls, gold and potions) and rarities (such as much sought after weapons and armour) to keep the player satisfied and not grinding for certain items. The game even has a simple fishing system in order to transform your pet!

Where the game falters, if at all, is its lacking storyline. The storyline is detached and not immersive as the gameplay. Moreover it is rapidly completed and the side-quests are innumerable and not satisfying, albeit the designers have done ever so well to create rich,varying environments in a linear storyline. Players will traverse lush forests, eerie dungeons and fiery lava-pits while questing. The stylised graphics are breathtaking as well as being downright hilarious at times. Torchlight isn't the typical dungeon-crawler where the prevalent colours are shades of black; the designers have used a palette consisting of a wide variety of colours to create a visually pleasing gaming environment.

Beautiful environments await you

Finally the simplicity of the stat building makes the game approachable for even the most casual of gamers. Players only really need to assign their stats into one of the offensive stat and one into the defensive in a generally equal manner. However there's no need to follow a set guideline, as you can if you want, have a muscular mage albeit the class-skills will heavily restrict avoiding the status quo. The talent-tree system is wonderful and allows for in-depth customisation and great "replayability" as well.

All in all, Torchlight is a marvellous game with some unique features not found anywhere else. The story is somewhat lacking, but not too important in a hack'n'slash genre. The graphics are great, the music is engrossing and the gameplay is extremely addictive. While the lack of multiplayer may seem a little bitter, the single player campaign more than makes up for it, and for a bargain of around £8 in stores, you simply cannot go wrong.

It deserves a solid 8/10.


  1. Beautiful review, you've really got me thinking whether I should buy the game or not.

  2. This is amazing. You are a fantasy gaming god. I worship you. This review is terrific mate