Wot I Think: Torchlight

By John Walker on October 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am.

Strange lack of torches in the game.

Runic’s new action role-player Torchlight has occupied my week. Does their ultra-sleek and approachable dungeon crawler manage to find that sweet Diablo-shaped spot? Read on to find out wot I think.

My fingers hurt. I have done more clicking in the last week than in the rest of the year combined. I’ve been exploring the dungeons below the town of Torchlight for so long that I no longer know how to do anything else other than just click.

Torchlight’s biggest strength and weakness is its simplicity. The dungeon crawling follows the familiar themes of Diablo’s many children, built by the team behind Fate and Mythos. These people have pedigree (project lead Travis Baldree was in charge of both previous games, and the team includes ex-Blizzard types who worked on Diablo II). What they don’t have is an abundance of original ideas. The question is, does that matter?

Probably not. You pick one of three classes: Destroyer (Fighter), Vanquisher (Ranger), or Alchemist (Wizard), then choose whether your pet is a dog or a cat. There’s then an introduction to a story thinner than prosciutto ham, and the clicking begins. Each class has a unique set of three skill trees to select from, and each skill, along with magic spells learned (all classes can use magic proficiently) can be assigned to the hotkeys in the bar along the bottom of the screen. Left mouse is always your basic attack, and the right mouse is assigned by you as your secondary. (There’s some smart techniques to quickly reassign this right mouse attack mid-battle too.) If you can see it, attack it, then pick up its loot. And repeat. For the rest of time.

Torchlight follows the formula very faithfully. Almost minimally. Any twists to tradition are very subtle. What it instead focuses on is getting the core, idiotically engaging concept behind the dungeon crawler exactly right, and then makes it louder. It’s a ballistic game, exploding and erupting in frenzies of colour without pause, throwing wave after wave of raging enemies toward you.

The same attention to volume appears with its loot. It roars out of the screen like a geyser, bombarding you with weapons, armour, gold, potions and scrolls. You’ll be used to filling up your limited inventory quickly in such games, but not this quickly. Fortunately Torchlight has the rather spiffy idea (as shared with Fate) of giving your pet an inventory of the same size, letting him carry your spare content. Then when in the middle of a large dungeon, and too busy to use a portal scroll to head back to the above-ground shops, you can send your pet off with whatever he’s carrying to go sell it for you. It’s such a neat device that makes a welcome return. The deeper you go, the longer your pet will take to make the trip, and of course without him you’ll be slightly weaker in the fight.

There’s more to the pet. As well as being your constant buddy in battle, he can also perform his own magic. A pet has two ring slots and a pendant slot for the accompanying bonuses such jewellery bestows, but also two spell slots. Any magic you can use, he can use. This means you can set him up with buffs or attack extras which he’ll fire off independently, but far more interesting is to take advantage of the “pet” spells. With the right spell bought or found you can conjure up an extra helper, say a skellington, who will join your gang for a limited time. But rather than worry about that for yourself, assign this to your pet. As soon as my Destroyer got into a fight my faithful cat, Dexter, would generate a skeleton to join in. In fact, play an Alchemist and you can create yourself your own army of followers, created by both you and your pet.

I mentioned before about going deeper. Torchlight isn’t big on destination choice. The core game is set in one enormously deep set of levels, with faint scraps of side quests to explore. The tissue-thin story is something about chasing down a Master Alric, who has been corrupted by a substance known as Ember, found in the minds beneath the town of Torchlight. As you descend through the levels the environments change, as do the enemies, creating some sense of variety. And as you go you’re told by the story that the ‘blight’ caused by Ember has affected you too. But 33 levels down I’m still not what that has to do with anything.

There’s a few side-quests you can take on. Elsewhere in Torchlight is a man who’ll open portals to various areas in another storyline about helping him realise the mysteries of a book he owns. You can also buy mini-quests from merchants in the form of maps. However, both of these repurpose environments from the main quest, and a couple of levels into any of them I honestly couldn’t remember which I was doing. Because, after all, it really doesn’t matter. It’s all about the clicking.

However, I do wish they’d at least pretended there was a greater sense of going somewhere. Every few floors down this vast shaft sees the environments completely changed – perhaps it’s ruins overgrown with vegetation switching over to Dwarven chambers. If they’d only had you return to Torchlight and then use a different portal or passageway to reach this new location, it would have felt more substantial, and less claustrophobic. It doesn’t matter how much variety there is – I’m still on floor 33 of the same level after 12 hours, and it makes the game seem oddly small. Compare it to, say, Titan Quest, and that horizontal spread let a game with no more detail feel so much more expansive.

The other completely unnecessary failing is the setup of the quests. I don’t need to actually be doing anything different – I just need to be told I am. But Torchlight makes no effort to offer this variety either. Throughout you’re only ever looking for specific chunks of Ember for one wizard dude, killing certain bosses for a strange robot chap, and battling ever deeper for the girl who keeps blurting the story at you. And that’s it. No, “Go to randomly generated dungeon X to recover my mum’s lost reading glasses,” then, “Go to randomly generated dungeon Y to replace this book in the magic library.” Which I rather missed.

The looterfall begins to make more sense the farther you get. At first new equipment comes so thick and fast that you’re never given a chance to grow attached to anything, constantly upgrading weapons and armour after every fight. However, later on it finds that sweet spot where you find yourself weighing up the advantages of varying bonuses against upgrades you may have made to a faithful axe. Both weapons and armour can carry enchantments and gems, each augmenting them usefully. Rarer loot will come with enchantments, but you can add some or more via the enchanter in the town. (There’s a hefty charge, and the gamble that it might not work, or even undo previous enchantments.) Again items may come with one or two sockets in which gems can be placed – if not an enchantment might add slots. You find gems as you explore the dungeons, and lower grade jewels can be combined with identical types to upgrade them. Eventually you’ll have a weapon or two, and perhaps some boots or a helmet that you’ve enchanted to the eyeballs and loaded with your finest gems. Parting with them can be a sad moment, which is precisely how I want games like these to make me feel.

Torchlight’s gorgeous design (a more fun, more sleek WoW-style, emphasising on colour) and constant explosive detail ensures it’s always interesting to look at, even if it’s not always interesting to play. Three or four levels into a sequence of dragons and demons I’m finding myself a little fed up of fighting the same enemies still, and looking forward to the next shift in environment. The only problem is, I do at this point, 12 hours in, start to wonder if there’s enough incentive to keep going. I think it’s here that the dismissive narrative reveals its failing – I’ve been teased with fighting Alric so many times now than I’ve given up on it happening, and it’s been a while since any drops have competed with my own augmented equipment. Without a sense of purpose the otherwise very entertaining, if somewhat mindless, game might be running out of steam.

The game nails that hoary old cliché of, “I’ll just play it for thirteen picoseconds,” and then emerging four thousand years later to discover the world has been destroyed in a brutal nuclear war and all the food in your house has become sentient and set up a colony in your kitchen. And the focus on the process of battling and loot-sorting I found it one of those ideal games that lets you be completely engaged in all it offers and also listen to podcasts. My choice for Torchlight: RadioLab. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough, letting Torchlight occupy one section of your brain while witty and informative education goes into another. In fact, as much as I may now have found myself growing a little weary of it, for the last two or three days I’ve felt delighted that I’ve been able to absorb both at the same time in such an enjoyable way.

There’s two other things that must be mentioned. First is the price. It’s £15 on Steam, Direct2Drive and elsewhere, and only £12 if bought directly from Runic, which is absolutely spot on perfect. And second, and even more significantly, is the customisation. In the next day or so the editor will be released, which we’re told will let you easily create your own levels, texture packs, and so on. It also lets you mod every detail of the game, tweaking loot drops, skins, animations, music, the UI…

It does want for horizontal spread and a greater sense of purpose for playing. But as a pure mechanic it aces the dungeon crawler, and does it in an ultra-bright, cheerful way. At such a smart price, and with so much modding potential, it seems well worth it.

Edit: People in the comments have reminded me of something I had intended to mention – the difficulty levels. I started the game on Normal (as one always does for a review), but wished I’d gone for Hard. It’s a shame you can’t change level during the game, once you’ve learned where the difficulty is pitched, but when I play it again with a different class it will definitely be at least on Hard.

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325 Comments »

  1. neems says:

    I have been tempted by this, but at the moment my looting needs are being fulfilled admirably by Borderlands. I’m sure it will keep.

  2. Nick says:

    Hmmmm. I’m not sure. The words dungeon crawler scare me… yet, I want to have a game I can work on. I haven’t been able to commit recently. :(

  3. RiptoR says:

    Great write-up! I’ve got the same feelings about the game regarding quests and story. But then again, those things don’t really come up when I just want to bash heads in for 30 minutes before heading of to the pub…

  4. JM says:

    Nick, neems,

    Just get it. It’s not a game where you worry about the commitment or think it might be too samey to Borderlands or whatever. It’s just a tightly designed little masterpiece that brings a smile to your face.

    And it’s dirt cheap.

  5. Lars Westergren says:

    “If you can see it, attack it, then pick up its loot. And repeat. For the rest of time.” [..] “The same attention to volume appears with its loot. It roars out of the screen like a geyser”

    I get the feeling this game isn’t targeted at me, because that sounds like a vision of hell to me.
    :D

    Scary thing is that like with Diablo, I’m sure that if I tried it I would be trapped for hours just as John describes. Whenever that happens with this type of game, I always feel physically numb and completely mentally and emotionally empty afterwards.

    • yutt says:

      They seem to take us to some primal meditative state.

      Or maybe it’s vegetative.

  6. Skalpadda says:

    I’m amazed by the sheer mindless joy of it. It would certainly be even better if the story was in any way engaging, but they have the basic gamplay mechanic down so well that the lack of depth is almost a strength.

    I usually love complex games that take a while to learn and forever to master, but the instant joy of this makes me think it’s one to come back to for random play sessions for a long time to come. Really looking forward to what’s to come in the way of mods :)

  7. ArtyArt says:

    some random thoughts: 1) I enjoy this a lot more than any other dungeon crawler since the first Diablo, and it looks so very wonderfully good. But why the long load times? meh. – 2) to any aspiring players: start on hard difficulty, normal is too easy. Only one death in 20 levels seems to confirm this – 3) the game should run on basically any computer out there, it has even a netbook mode – 4) wot he said

    • Spoon says:

      I’m wishing I started on very hard. Hard is a decent challenge in the beginning, but once you get some decent loot and develop your skills a bit, it becomes much easier.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Long load times may be fixed in the next patch according the nice chaps over on runicgames.com. An even nicer chap by the name of ISAWHIM posted a nice hacky workaround for now that seems to cause considerable loading time shortening (I swear the water was very cold… oh wait, short is good) for some people. Point your brows-o-mator here

  8. toni says:

    this beats borderlands out of the park with a much smaller budget. Also: play it on “very hard” and the clicking stops and the running starts. everything of the above can be applied to borderlands only torchlight nails the combat and feeling of ueberness spot-on. Borderlands just relies on bad taunts “is there no end to my power ?”

    • neems says:

      Heretic.

      *Hugs Experimental Exploding Tech Blast Sniper before incendiary phase shifting to safety*

    • Tei says:

      Borderlands is a random weapons generator. PERIOD. Too bad the mosters are not random too :-/ (or not random enough). It give every few hours a new weapon you want to show everybody. My 2 last ones: a pistol with very good aim that corrode people really fast. And a autopistol that has lots of “speed” bonuses and clip size bonses, it has a giganteous clip that empty in 0.8 seconds… and It has very good aim, Is *brutal*. The only problem with Borderlands, and It will be fatal, is the moment the game can’t trown at you anything with a minimal challenge. I am looking forward for DLC’s (???), and I am still a very low level player (!!!).

  9. Psychopomp says:

    Played the demo, and got bored very quickly.

    The art design is absolutely lovely, though. It’s really nice to see that between this, TF2, and the Okami sequel, warmth and charm is making a comeback the past few years.

    DOWN WITH BROWN

  10. Chobes says:

    I was aware of this game a fair amount of time pre-release and completely dismissed it as I simply couldn’t see myself playing Diablo II without the multiplayer. The demo was released on Steam and I figured I had nothing to lose giving it a shot and now I’m in a power struggle against my impulses to not spend the savings I have to keep me going while I’m between jobs. I still think it’s a damnable shame that there’s no multiplayer in the works, but damned if that slick-clicking experience didn’t win me right over.

    I’ve dug around and found little promising nuggets; anyone know the plausibility of a third-party MP mod? I’m not holding my breath for an official add-on when an MMO is in the works.

  11. Premium User Badge

    abhishek says:

    I’ve been hearing praise for this game pretty much everywhere on the internet. Very tempted to pick it up but I’ll be getting Borderlands next week, and Dragon Age & L4D2 soon after that. This game will definitely get lost amongst the big ones, so I might as well wait for a sale. The lack of co-op play is a big flaw in my opinion.. ARPGs, of all games, are the best type of game to play with friends. And also, the blocky, cartoony graphics don’t even match up to Titan Quest, which is 4 years old now? It looks a lot like Fate to me.

  12. Drool says:

    This game is your favorite hooded sweatshirt straight out of the dryer.

  13. mrmud says:

    The one thing that bothers me to no end with this game is that the way the skill system is structures just begs for munchkin builds that focus on a single skill and then passive damage boosters. The result is a game that is frankly boring to play.

    • Kester says:

      I thought this just from the demo. There’s no incentive to specialise in any more than one skill, and some are obviously better than others. It’s pretty unforgiveable to have poor character building in a game that is only about loot and character building, so I think I’ll give it a miss. I do really like the overall style though, especially the fact that you can have guns.

    • Psychopomp says:

      To be fair, Diablo 2 had the same problem. All the “best” builds involved putting all the points you could into 2, MAYBE 3 skills. Hated it.

      I don’t like dungeon crawlers in the first place, though, so I’m not the best judge.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Kester: My traps/ranged Vanquisher disagrees.

      KG

    • mrmud says:

      Diablo2 shares the same problem but slightly less so.
      Skills in d2 require you to have the prerequisite skills (so that means at least 1 point in other skills)
      In the later patches synergies were introduced that allow you to spend skillpoints early and still get late game benefits.

    • mrmud says:

      KG, Cashing out for low level skills is still going to bite you in the arse later on.
      Granted on medium it is so mindnumbingly easy it is of no consequence anyway.
      Just like in D2 the best way to go is to always save your points so that once you hit the important skills you want you can keep putting points into them every level until they are capped (and this is unabashedly bad design).

    • Chobes says:

      If by “bite you in the ass” you mean “entertain you until later levels when you get the official respec mod”, then yeah.

      http://www.torchlightinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=270

    • mrmud says:

      Ok, now that I wholehartedly approve of. My inner munchkin need not suffer 20 levels of boredom anymore, thanks!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      mrmud : You are aware of the contradiction in your argument – I don’t mean sarcastically, but in a “you actually are because you’ve said it” way. If you don’t get screwed for playing a sub optimum build, *you’re not screwed if you play a sub optimum build*. That it’s SP only means there’s no worries about being competitive. And I’m not entirely sure my build – which is pretty concentrated, just in a “more than one skill and passive” way – would end up being totally unproductive.

      But yeah – also: Respec!

      (I do wish the game let you alter difficulty levels)

      KG

    • mrmud says:

      Im just a little annoyed that the game rewards the diablo 2 style skillpoint hoarding a little to much. I thought that game made it very clear why this is a bad idea.

    • Spoon says:

      You get quite a few skill points, and you can easily boost a bunch of passives to max and still boost 2-3 skills to max/respectable levels. Also, if you boost the magic skills, you are potentially boosting four active abilities for the price of one.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Well single skill specialisation – like it or not.

      There is a mod community. And i am sure we will see modified skill trees, and even different skills in future

    • Chobes says:

      I doubt this will be seen in context as we’re at page 3 of comments now, but I noticed that skills at higher points in the tree have level requirements on ranks and it’s set up so that the minimum level requirement to get the skill is never lower than the talent tier. Basically, this means that point hoarding is useless anyway as you’ll have to spend that point on early skills anyway.

  14. Tei says:

    “And the focus on the process of battling and loot-sorting I found it one of those ideal games that lets you be completely engaged in all it offers and also listen to podcasts. My choice for Torchlight: RadioLab.”

    Wow!.. I use to play Red Faction Guerrilla with “Babylon 5″ in background. Its like cool to play in mars as a terrorist, with the news of Babylon 5 about revolts in mars in background. It just merge the two things, Red Faction Guerrilla in the Babylon 5 universe.
    Man, G’Kar and Lando are awesome.

  15. Paul says:

    Addicting awesome game.So unoriginal it is incredible.But i have not played so addicting game since D2.

  16. Antsy says:

    Its a wonderful game that hits that Rogue nail square on the head. I sat down for a quick shot on the night of release and forgot to go to bed.

    It certainly isn’t telling a story you’re going to be gripped by (or even aware of sometimes) but, my God, if you’re at all entertained by dungeon crawlers this game will consume you. For a while at least :)

  17. Uglycat says:

    More games need autopickup of gold.

    Even the old text-based dungeon crawlers had that ages ago, and this is one of the few modern games that do it.

    All they need to add are options to autopickup purple/green/gold etc., and it will be perfect.

  18. Scoteh says:

    I lost 3 days of my life with this game. Lost them. Dont know where they went. But I know I had fun. Phenomenally addictive game. I had been playing Borderlands until this came out, and frankly with the massive price difference, I really shouldnt of been pulled off of Borderlands and sucked so wholely into Torchlight. But I was.

    Fantastic achievement by the Runic lads, and cant wait to experience the modded content, even create some of my own. Bravo.

  19. Paul says:

    I started doing the random dungeons you can get from vendors, and there’s also a guy in town that gives quests to send you to a random dungeon. I’ve done about 6 or 7 in total and now I’m about 5 levels higher than everything in the main dungeon. Playing on normal the game was already incredibly easy, but now it’s just boring. Massive oversight there.

  20. TotalBiscuit says:

    Fact is if you like dungeon-crawling hack-and-slash loot fests then there should be nothing stopping you from enjoying this. It oozes charm and polish from every pore and there’s enough variety within the skill-trees to ensure replayability (the retirement system is also great in this regard). Stop dawdling and buy it.

    If you don’t like that kind of thing then this isn’t going to convince you otherwise.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “It oozes charm and polish from every pore”

      Pretty much. The art style just *works,* and carries the paper-thin world on its more-than-capable shoulders.

  21. Po0py says:

    That was a spot on review. And your absolutly right about the podcast thing. Just turn down the sounds a little and hack away to your hearts content. I’m actually running out of podcasts to listen to now. It’s probably one of the most addictive games I’ve played this year.

    The pacing of each floor is just right for small doses with a short pause in the middle to sort out your inventory and send your dog back to town. Large enough to feel like your being challenged but small enough to make you think, “What the hell. I’ll do one more floor.”

    Cant wait to see what the modders get up to. I’d personally like some over-land maps.

    This game is gonna have legs.

  22. teo says:

    Meh, I don’t know
    I’ve played a lot of Diablo clones and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed any of them. I played the Mythos Alpha / Beta, Sacred, just bought Titan Quest and meh again. I did like Dungeon Siege when it first came out but it was too shallow

    • Premium User Badge

      Schaulustiger says:

      The only way to find out if you like it is to play the demo.
      But I too got nothing out of any of the Diablo clones. Hell, I didn’t even like Diablo 2. I quit Sacred after about 2 hours and never came back. I forced myself through Titan Quest. I didn’t like Dungeon Siege. I found Fate to be too simple.

      But I absolutely love every minute in Torchlight so far. And I can’t even tell you why. I guess it’s some kind of gaming magic.

  23. Azazel says:

    I never played Diablo. I did however play a game which is said to be somewhat comparable – Dungeon Siege.

    So – is this better or worse than Dungeon Siege? Because I got bored of it half-way through.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Dungeon Siege was shallow, and practically played itself, so…

    • Azazel says:

      Right… well fair enough. I might be tempted at £12 then.

      As my only experience of this particular genre I was always wondering: are they all a bit like Dungeon Siege?

      I suspected probably not.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Dungeon Siege probably has about the same depth. If you liked DS, you’ll like TL.

      I’m talking Legends of Aranna, not Dungeon Siege II.

      I personally can’t quite get into the colorful art direction. What ever happened to the good example Diablo gave on how to make things look dark and haunting and exciting? Toooo bad.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Most of them are better than Dungeon Siege to be honest, but again, it requires you to enjoy the repetitive nature of the combat. I am impressed by Torchlight’s ability to make me overlook that.

  24. Carra says:

    It’s a fun game but I miss the outdoors. When I’m in a dungeon in WoW or Titan Quest I always want to get out asap.

    The game does offer a few useful extras. Walking over gold picks it up or having a pet with an inventory which can go and sell your equipment are fun little extras which makes life easier.

  25. Hoernchen says:

    My interest-o-meter dropped from 90% to about 0% as soon as I realized that there is absolutely no multiplayer whtasoever.

  26. espy says:

    Just downloaded the demo yesterday to have a quick look, the next moment I’d finished it and it was suddenly the middle of the night. Terribly addictive and very well done. I must not allow myself to buy this under any circumstances. It would just sap my time away. Maybe when the weather gets worse. Maybe.

  27. Chaz says:

    I don’t usually nit pick on spellings and what not, as lord knows I’m not the best at grammer myself. But a “skellington”, really Mr Walker, you’re a big boy now, time to start using proper grown up words.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      Skellington is an amazing word. I envy the British for having it all to themselves.

    • John Walker says:

      YOU SHALL NEVER TAKE AWAY MY SKELLINGTONS.

      (And it wasn’t exactly a spelling/grammar mistake!)

  28. Uglycat says:

    I don’t think it’s in TQ (I’ve been playing it fairly solidly for the last month – if there is one, I’m going to be angry!) but it would be so simple to introduce :|

  29. Uglycat says:

    Reply fail ;(

  30. Woop says:

    Bought it as I like to support smaller outfits where they’ve done something half decent. I loved Diablo, D2, played Fate, Titan Quest and Mythos, so it seems foolish to stop now anyway!

    Very fair review. The good is good, but the complete lack of originality or interest in creating something a little more interesting is bordering on the silly. Even the music is a steel from Diablo in places. Is that the original Diablo guys having a sly wink, or just being lazy?

    Anyway, looking forward to getting the editor and seeing what I can kick out ;)

    • Zaphid says:

      It’s the guy who composed Diablo music, Matt Uelmen. I mean, you can’t really say they are ripping off Diablo when they guys basically made it.

  31. Peter says:

    “Parting with them can be a sad moment, which is precisely how I want games like these to make me feel.” I love it that you want the game to make you feel sad :)

  32. Karry says:

    “In the next day or so the editor will be released”

    I’d rather to see a couple of patches released, instead of editor. Who needs editor if the main game is on the Daggerfall level of bugginess ?

    • Wolfox says:

      You’re blowing it away out of proportion. It has bugs, yes, but they’re not nearly as prevalent as you make it sound. Bugged skills? Only one is actually relevant in terms of game enjoyment. Brink not following? You can keep playing and if you skip the cinematic you can proceed. And so on.

      Sure, it has bugs – but don’t you dare compare it to Daggerfall or such. And the devs are on it as we speak, and should have a patch out today or early next week, before the editor is released.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Are you serious? Somehow I don’t think you played Daggerfall on release. In fact, compared to the majority of recent releases, Torchlight is almost bug free.

    • Bremze says:

      Some people are losing their saves when making multiple characters. Quite bad but not Daggerfall levels of bad.

  33. Zaphid says:

    Just FYI, the main campaign has 35 floors and you owe it to yourself to finish it, the last boss looks awesome.

    My guess it will be like Oblivion, you finish it, then you pick it up a year later, mod it and play a completely different game.

  34. Dominus says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention at all the gorgeous music composed by Matt Uelmen!

  35. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    Dangerously addicted. Never played an rpg before but the juggling of gems and weapons and gambling to get an uber weapon +222 dps have suckered me in.

    Can understand the lure of wow a lot more now and I doubt very much i’d ever play this multiplayer if/when it comes out. CoH, DoWII and TF2 can do that for me.

    Its all about single player and pick up and play for 20/30-360 mins when I want/can.

  36. DeepSleeper says:

    It would be terrible if it were that buggy.

    It isn’t.

    Bring the editor on!

    • Karry says:

      Yeah ? Wanna hear the latest popular bug ? Installing a mod increases the game loading times by several hundred percents. Thats right.
      Every aspect of the game is bugged : NPCs disappearing, dialogues get stuck, several items dont work, skills are bugged, sfx arent playing, bosses dont drop loot, and thats not mentioning ever popular crashing to desktop and refusing to launch.
      Just take a look in the support board of the official forum, its amazing.

    • Zaphid says:

      I don’t think we are playing the same game.

  37. wm says:

    So I am the only one who gets the graphics bugs? You mean you can all see your inventory when you run the game full screen? Because I can’t. I see one third of it, the other thirds sticking out the edge of my screen.

    And then in windowed mode, I get all kinds of little nits that basically render the demo unplayable.

  38. quamper says:

    How is this any different from Fate? I played Fate a few years back and aside from the updated graphics this seems almost a carbon copy of it.

    Not that I’m bashing Fate, but it always seemed overly simplistic and this feels the same way. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun, and not a good value. But it just seems like a direct knock off.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Since when did ‘spiritual sequel with basically everything improved, at a budget price no-less’ become the equivelant of ‘knock off’? I swear some of you actively avoid being happy.

    • quamper says:

      See that’s the thing, you saying basically everything improved. All I see is graphics improved. Is that bad? No.

      But it doesn’t feel like a new game to me really. Again that doesn’t mean its not fun.

  39. jsutcliffe says:

    What I should be doing: Getting ready for work, especially since I’m fricken swamped this week

    What I am doing: Sneaking in a bit of Torchlight

    • Premium User Badge

      MonkeyMonster says:

      I was there this morning…

    • jsutcliffe says:

      “Eh, I don’t need breakfast. Or to shower or shave. That gives me 30 minutes or so …”

      later

      “Nobody gets to work at 9:00 on a Friday anyway.”

      later

      “So if I skip the 8:30 bus, I can get there at about 9:40. I think I can get away with that.”

      later, around 11:00

      “Morning, guys. Sorry I’m late. Had a, um, plumbing emergency I had to fix in my house this morning. Yeah.”

  40. L1ddl3monkey says:

    That taranchlea has trianglea legs.

    Do I need to tag that for grammar nazis or are we cool here?

    • Chaz says:

      In my best Herr Flick voice. “No. As a punishment you shall stay behind tonight and practice your spelling from the Gestapo Big Book of Words. For tomorrow there will be a test.”

  41. Ravenger says:

    I’ll probably get the steam version of this, as I loved the demo.

    The direct download from Runic has 10 limited activations if that’s an issue for you. (It is for me).

  42. Demiath says:

    A thoughtful and fair analysis of a neat little indie (or at least semi-indie) game, although it might be worth mentioning that the “neat little indie” part probably explains (if only partly excuses) a lot of the criticized limitations – such as not the least being the lack of multiple dungeons with access points in different geographical regions etc. After all, there’s only so much you can accomplish within a year of development (pre-production started in August 2008 according to Wikipedia) which is then to be released with a lowly $20 pricetag…

  43. jsutcliffe says:

    A respost from the Torchlight forums, for those wanting to change difficulty on the fly. It’s a little fiddly, but if you’re sad about being on Medium when you want to be on Hard, give it a try. Personally I’m happy on Medium, because I suck at games.

    A short tutorial on how to change settings (including difficulty) without being branded as a Cheater.
    1. Download Cheat Engine (newest)
    2. If You know how to use it go to 3, otherwise run through the tutorial, or continue if you feel clever ^^
    3. Enable the cheat console by changing console :0 to console :1 in settings.ini
    4. Start a new character and open the console using shift and ~ (just above tab)
    5. Type in the command you want (ie. setdifficulty) set it to any working number ( ie. 1 )
    6. Load up CE and connect to torchlight.
    7. Search for the difficulty number cell by alternating the value.
    8. Exit the character, go into the one you want to modify and simply change the value in CE ( the cell address stays the same )

    Sounds pretty complicated but took me 2 minutes and if you used CE before I am sure you will do it within seconds aswell.

  44. Frye says:

    Sometimes i feel it’s a blessing to the world that my opinion doesn’t matter and i am NOT a games reviewer. I would have crushed this title, thinking nobody could possibly like this. Even in the very first dungeon i stopped looting because my bags were full and when i noticed yet another stairway down i closed the game and i’ll never play it again. Just not my kind of game i guess, but it looked well-made.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      So basically it’s a good job you’re not a game reviewer because you are incapable of being objective? Yeah… you’re right.

    • Frye says:

      Sigh. The fact i realize that myself actually makes me objective again but that subtlety was lost on you.

  45. Sergey Galyonkin says:

    You can change difficulty, but it will label your character as a cheater.

    Edit string in settings.txt to CONSOLE: 1
    Press SHIFT + ~ in game
    Type: SETDIFFICULTY 1 (normal) SETDIFFICULTY 2 (hard) SETDIFFICULTY 3 (very hard)

  46. MadMatty says:

    Wot i cant believe is that they didnt throw in multiplayer. Its afterall a continuation of the old MUDs (Multi User Dungeon).
    Multiplayer is also the reason i still play Diablo 2 occasionally even tho i know that game as the back of my hand

  47. Sean w/o an H says:

    Yeah, the lack of multiplayer is a little sad, but given the designers’ pedigree (and the complete debacle that was the SP/MMO of Hellgate), I can understand why they split up the singleplayer and (apparently) F2P MMO sides of the game… I guess it’s kind of a beta for the MMO (like most MMOs on release… :rimshot: )

  48. KilgoreTrout XL says:

    I started it on normal and quit after 10 levels. I restarted on hard and am finding the game much more enjoyable- like night and day really. I actually have to be concerned with getting killed now.

    One annoyance- the constantly shifting stock of of town vendors drives me absolutely fucking bonkers from time to time. Otherwise, it’s hard not to love this excellent game.

  49. Lobotomist says:

    This game is must buy for every fan of dungeon crawling , procedurally generated rpg. Thing that started with original Rogue , to Nethack, to Diablo, to Dungeon Crawl.

    Some people are bashing it for lack of story or rpg depth. They do not understand this type of games.

    This is 3D Roguelike at its best.

    Its why its more closer to Diablo (that was direct copy of Rogue) than Diablo 2.

    One more thing. The game is fully moddable. So it would be safe to expect many variations and tweaks.

    For 20$

    This is a game you will be playing for long time. Every time you feel you need a break from “deep” modern RPGs and “choices”. Its perfect casual fun!

  50. Tei says:

    Seems… I will not buy this game, because there are lots of other games already, and I am not rich. This “aim for winter period release” think is very hardcore unfriendly :-(