First Look: Torchlight — The Cartoon Diablo?
We recently received a review copy of Torchlight, courtesy of Runic games. The initial download took about 12 hours, which is shameful as the game is only 300mb big, but we’ll blame slow download speeds on the poor ftp server, as it was obviously overloaded.
From the creators of Diablo, Hellgate London and Fate; we have Torchlight. Torchlight is similar to your typical RPG/hack nâ€™ slash game with the exception of new awesome features. It is bound to have a Diabloâ€™ish influence as the Schaefer brothers (from Diablo) are the lead designers. Overall Torchlight is very similar to Diablo I & II, however it has some really cool cartoony graphics.
When compared to D2 – graphics aside – the game features a load of new and interesting things â€“ but more on this later.
Graphics, Sounds, Engines and moreâ€¦
It is very important to have the correct mindset about the game, as it is not just another knock-off. If you think of it as something fresh, you will definitely enjoy it.
While most games push the graphical boundaries, Torchlight is very different. The cartoony effect adds a subtle atmosphere which allows for a larger concentration on game-play.
About 96 to 99 percent of the game is based underground, in caves. While most games with top-notch graphics should push the boundaries of what a cave should look like, the Torchlight-styled graphical effects allow for a damper mood along with a more flexible environment.
Overall the engine is fast, and smooth. One key feature in Torchlight is the ability for â€œNetbookâ€ users to play the game without any problems. The Netbook feature allows you to lower the graphics in order to play it on slower spec machines.
Torchlight features an in-game pet. The pet is pretty cool because it can do all of your shopping. While shopping is obviously important (â€¦), it’s only a minor role. Other abilities regarding your pet includes morphing. You are able to morph your pet if you feed it fish… Food for the brain. Alongside all of the above pet-features, you can also teach it spells to help you attack and ultimately kill.
What allows this game to expand is that it uses procedural content generation- similar to games like Borderlands, Diablo and Space Hack (a locally created game). This allows games to improve and/or increase various things such as their weapon pool, their maps or their ship designs. How this basically works is that it takes pre-set chunks/parts and places them onto a set framework (governed by rules) to create the object, then a process takes this and generates at super speed.
The game doesnâ€™t feature too many classes, but it does give you the option to specialize in each of them. Each class has 3 branches, where they all boast their own strengths and weaknesses.
The following classes are listed in the order that they were played.
Destroyer: As the name says, it destroys all in its path. This is the melee/berserker class â€“ meaning big shiny axes and swords.
Alchemist: This is the wizard/necromancer. Summoning all little minions and shooting off fire balls is the name of the game.
Vanquisher: A ranger/archer styled class. This is the third, and final class in the game. The Vanquisher focuses on guns and nimbleness, so expect to jump into battle with dual pistols blasting away at bad guys.
A last note on the classes: Just because you’re playing the Destroyer it doesn’t mean that all your character points have to go into strength. You could put skills it into magic, and then go full on spell-star. Be creative.
The story is based on a boomtown (small towns containing a rich mineral that needs be mined) based above a mineral called Ember (Ember is a substance/mineral which is the keystone off magic). As usual as everyone tries to capitalize on the wealth, but alas it seems the humans werenâ€™t the first to find this minerals. Dwelling in these mines are ancient civilizations that bear the consequences of the corruptive power of Ember.
You start off by walking along, not knowing about is actually going on. As per usual, you click around, where you come across the first person that will award you with a quest. Once you start the quest, the fun begins.
The plot includes some random things which you don’t exactly see every day. Expect a good magician turned evil, where his main intention is to turn everyone to the darkside. While the plot might not be the greatest it still allows for nice gameplay.
Loot, loot and more loot. Donâ€™t we all just love loot?
The thing that draws, and will draw, more and more people into the game is the endless leveling and looting. The 2 great Lâ€™s. Seeing as the game has a procedural generation system in place, you are bound to find more and more loot everywhere you go. There are also plenty sideline quests to make extra moola.
And… Just when you think you might get out of the dungeon, Runic decided to include a phase beast. This little bugger will teleport when you kill him. g_g
What also really shines out is the level editor TorchED. Unfortunately, at the time of getting the game the editor was not available to test it out. But what we do know is that it will enable the user to edit almost all aspects of the game when creating your own quest. You can edit the player, monster, items or even particle systems, but the one really wise move made here was allowing the use of publicly available file formats, so you can import models and animations with relative ease. The editor will be free to download and wonâ€™t be released with the game.