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Vitals – System: PC // Release Date: October 27, 2009 // Genre: Action-RPG // Developer: Runic Games // Publisher:  Encore, Perfect World Entertainment // Players: 1

Before playing Torchlight you have to ask yourself a question. Are you a fan of Diablo? If you said yes you are like many others waiting for Blizzard to release Diablo 3. You are a hack’n’slash rpg fanboy. You have played all the clones, Titan Quest, Sacred 2, Divine Divinity, trying to fill that gaping hole left by Diablo. Diablo is the popular kid in school. Everyone else wants to be the popular person but ends up becoming a carbon copy. Enter Torchlight, the latest game to copy Diablo in the oh so popular action rpg genre. Torchlight sure is a copy of Diablo, but you know what? Runic Games has made the best copy to date – The popular kids’ best friend.

If you have played the original Diablo the single player in Torchlight will be of no surprise. You pick one of three heroes, the Destroyer (excels at melee combat), Vanquisher (expert at ranged combat and utilizing traps), and the Alchemist (controls ember to attack from afar and summon minions). You also pick between a dog, cat, or ferret as your pet. The town of Torchlight has been plagued by an evil, and luckily you have shown up to save the day. You are asked to seek out the evil by venturing forth into the mine.

 

The story is the weakest part as there is barely enough of it to drive you through the game. You will probably not become attached to any particular character as the game has you killing and looting throughout most of it, heck yes! You meet a lady who was attacked while attempting to find her master who had gone into the mine where the main source of ember (magical energy) is. You decide, well you really are not given a choice but you click the “okay” button a lot, to help out the woman in search of her master. Thus you begin your unstoppable slaughter of baddies in the first level of the mine.

Combat is just as you remember from Diablo. Quick battles with tons of enemies on screen and an excessive amount of left clicking are common in Torchlight.  Right clicking casts your skill or spell, and pressing tab will swap between two skills assigned to the right mouse button. A feature I would love to go back and add to Diablo is a hotbar. Torchlight lets you assign 1-0 for potions and skills to maximize your killing per hour. Sometimes too much can be happening on screen, and while attempting to attack an enemy you find yourself instead picking up one of the thousand items dropped by the attacking horde.

 

Remember me mentioning a pet earlier? Yea that was not a typo, you really do get a pet and it is damn helpful to boot. Your pet will attack enemies, carry and pick up loot, hell it will even make a trip back to town and sell it for you, wear jewelry to look sharp while biting those baddies and even cast spells. That is right; you can assign your pet spells! I had my once cat, now dog (thanks to a transforming potion) casting fireballs and summoning skeleton archers – badass!

The hack’n’slash romp should run you at least 10 hours – that’s a lot of killin and lootin. Side missions and randomly generated dungeons should keep you occupied if you do not feel like venturing further into the mine. If you love collecting loot and are tired of playing through Borderlands or Titan Quest, Torchlight has got you covered. This game has an insane amount of loot. It has been a while since I have gone crazy for set pieces – something I really wished Borderlands had incorporated. You are able to store gear for other characters using a “shared” stash, which is a fantastic feature since multiplayer is nonexistent.

 

This game truly is a gem. The world is beautifully stylized, cartoonish without overdoing it. There are ludicrous amounts of items and spells, and just the right amount of environments to fight on. The some-what lacking story is easy to look past because this game does what so many other Diablo wannabes could not. This truly is the first time I have been so excited to kill and loot hack’n’slash style since I beat the pants off of Diablo, and that is truly a remarkable thing. You can’t find a better way to spend $20 (booze aside). Oh, did I mention the development team originally worked on Diablo, no?

Likes:

–          Budget friendly ($20)

–          Well balanced gameplay

–          Graphics are not too shabby

–          Pets that can cast spells = epic win

Dislikes:

–          No multiplayer

–          Story was a tad weak

CBG RATING:

8.5/10