I remember a time when staying home sick meant mounds of homework, chicken soup and playing Diablo for hours on end. It has been burned into my mind that the only way to cure a sickness is with hours of dungeon-crawling and Torchlight was just what the doctor ordered.
The similarities between Torchlight and Diablo are so vast that it is easier to discuss whats different. The first obvious difference is the art-style direction to a more cartoony feel rather than a gothic dungeon. Preference of taste aside, using a non-realistic style allows for a wider audience as it is much less graphic intensive and easier to produce, allowing the creators to focus more on gameplay than just art direction. It may feel slightly childish at first but any preconceived judgements quickly fade away as the gameplay is smooth, responsive and, frankly, really nice looking. There is little to no lack of emphasis in environment, character/enemy design and even spell detail when compared to games with photo-realistic graphics and look rather charming in this new world that Runic Games created.
Among many of the similarities to Diablo, the music and sound are fantastic and take me back to my school days where I would rather traverse the lands of Sanctuary than finish any of my homework. If you liked the music in Diablo, there is no way you will not enjoy the beautiful recreation of the feeling you got playing that game in this game. The score is original should be thought of more as part of the scenary than the soundtrack as it so perfectly suits the game that there is a noticeable void if forced to mute it. The voice acting, while not the best I’ve heard by far, is more than enough for what this game needs while not beating out Diablo on a cheesiness level.
There have been a few Diablo-clones that have tried to fill the space between Diablo 2 and the anticipated Diablo 3, and while many have been good in their own way, few have threatened to actually take the crown as Torchlight has. Torchlight has been able to recreate the game mechanics that we grown with and smooth them out while adding their own improvements and flair. The addition of a pet that functions almost as a second player has added an interesting new dimension to gameplay as not only will they help attack or defend you, but they can taught to use spells, equip items and actually run to town and sell your stuff for youso you can keep adventuring! Effectively Torchlight has given the player an avatar-and-a-half to play with and in doing so lets the player get further involved in their world without the need to stop for such petty things as selling items (and believe me, you pick up A LOT of items).
Among all the good that comes from a game such as Torchlight comes the few flaws that, while not fatal, could have taken this game from very good to spectacular. The first and most obvious of these is the lack of multiplayer which is a shame because the only thing funner than spending hours killing minions and collecting loot is doing it with a friend and fighting over equipment. It was such an obvious thing to add to a game like this, it would not be surprising if it was added in the near future but until then we will have to go it solo. While not a major flaw, the lack of more than 3 character types is rather unimaginative and uninspired, especially considering each type can choose to spend talent points to be 3 different classes simultaneously. Yes, Diablo did this to begin with too and yes, more characters will probably be added with patches or updates, but it is also no longer 1997 and there is really little excuse as Runic Games isn’t exactly hurting for spare time between projects.
Bottom line is this. If you were a fan of Diablo you will love this game. If you like dungeon crawlers, you will love this game. If you like RPGs, you will like this game. If you want a game that you can play when bored for 10 minutes or 10 hours, you will love this game. If you want a game that will do all this and is only $20.00, you will buy this game.
Rating: 8.5 / 10