Torchlight In A Nutshell

After the download from Steam completed last night, I fired up Torchlight and started playing.

I selected the Destroyer character on Normal difficulty and headed down into the mines. The Destroyer is the archetypal melee class. He relies on strength, and beats on things with big bladed objects. I played for about ninety minutes and got him to level 6 before I quit for the night.

Tonight I selected the Vanquisher. This is a ranged bow or gun class. She’s a bit squishier. Where the Destroyer rushes in, the Vanquisher needs to plan the encounter a little better in order to keep at range. I played her to level 7 on Hard difficulty, also for about 90 minutes.

Consequently, I haven’t got very far into the storyline yet. I’ve managed to retrieve the first lot of ember, as well as meeting up with the antagonist of the story for both characters.

At the moment, I’m reasonably impressed.

The game is stylistically different to both Diablo and Mythos. The graphics bear a strong resemblance to the graphical style of World of Warcraft and have that cartoony look.

The gameplay is Diablo. If you’ve played Diablo 1 or 2, Titan Quest, or Mythos, then you’ve played Torchlight. If you liked any or all of those games, then you’ll like Torchlight.

However, the game also takes you on a linear path through the mines, at least in these early levels. While Diablo 2 felt a lot more free form than it actually was, I don’t get that sense of freedom with Torchlight. Others have described it as being on rails. I agree. Having said that, Titan Quest was also a very linear game, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as Diablo 2, but so far I feel that Torchlight is superior to Titan Quest.

As others have also said. Normal mode is extremely easy. My Destroyer barely took damage through the dungeon. Even in hard mode, my Vanquisher didn’t really have to worry much, but still had to chug a few health and mana potions from time to time. I’d hate to see how easy mode would be here. It’d probably play the game for me!

I haven’t done any fishing yet.

I like that I can put my overflow inventory in my pets inventory (although whoever heard of a cat carrying saddlebags, every cat I’ve ever known would have rebelled at the indignity) and then send him off to sell it in town. Great idea and keeps the gameplay going without all the annoying trips back to town I had to face in the other games.

That however means I have a smaller personal inventory.

And from what I can recall, a first in these games (at least Diablo-wise,) there is no more extremely frustrating rearranging of my inventory every time I pick up a large weapon. Each item fits in one, and only one, inventory slot. FINALLY!

I like that there is a shared storage area. Tonight on my Vanquisher I picked up a unique, very nice shield that is useless on a ranged character. So I dumped it in the shared bank, and when my I log my Destroyer, he’ll be able to collect it and use it.

I don’t like that there are only three classes, the Destroyer, Vanquisher, and Alchemist (melee, range, magic). I think a game like this needs more than three classes.

Having said that, I don’t know what Runic are planning for the future of Torchlight, except for turning it into a MMORPG. They’ll definitely need a few more classes then.

When it comes down to it, my overall first impressions of Torchlight are pretty good. Runic have created a good fun game here that builds on the games that have gone before, and they’ve done it fairly quickly by all accounts. The game also appears to be quite stable. I didn’t encounter any obvious bugs.

I’m very impressed that the ex-Flagship Studios team managed to get this one up and running so quickly. In fact, this is something of a victory for open source. I had a peek in the application directory and it looks like Runic used an open source graphics engine called Ogre to build the game. Very nice, and it just goes to show that things get done when the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every time.

Torchlight == Good Game.

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  1. Aaron

    Only 3 classes isn’t such a disappointment when you consider it’s only $20. If it wasn’t for the cheap price, I would have waited to pick it up.

    The linearity makes me wonder how long the adventure is, but I don’t mind it so far.

    The way you can tell these are ex-Blizzard folks is the feel of combat. There’s a physicality to the combat. When you hit an enemy, you really feel the connection. That’s where Titan Quest wasn’t as good.

    Fishing is a simple mini-game of clicking the pull button at just the right time. You can gain fish and even items. I haven’t tried one yet, but feeding the fish to your pet temporarily transform it into some kind of monster, depending on the type of fish. In a few minutes, I got five kinds of fish. One type changes my pet into a spider. Others are creatures I don’t know by name.

    I agree. It seems well worth the $20 so far.

  2. Jeco

    There is something of a break to the linearity in the side-quests as you go forward. There is an NPC is town that offers quests that come with their own dungeon portal, have only done one so far so I don’t know how long they get. There are also treasure maps available for sale in some of the shops that open portals to other dungeons,

  3. Pete S

    How do you even get started with fishing? I feel like I missed something, or maybe I just have to get farther in… not been much gaming time available the past few days.

    It looks like the 3 classes have a lot of room for customization too. The Vanquisher can be a ranged class or a back-stabbing thief-y class…

    Have you tried the ‘treasure maps’? I assumed they’d offer random side dungeons, though I haven’t entered one yet.

  4. Pete S

    Whoa cross-posted with Jeco!

  5. Ysharros

    “whoever heard of a cat carrying saddlebags”

    I bet BattleCat did! By the power of Greyskull!

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