Duck and Cover Forum Index

  Duck and Cover  •  FAQ  •  Search  •  Memberlist  •  Usergroups   •  Register  •  Profile  •  Log in to check your private messages  •  Log in

 Support DAC!
 Torchlight - the review. View next topic
View previous topic
Post new topicReply to topic
Author Message
Frater Perdurabo
Paragon
Paragon


Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Posts: 2427
Location: Võro

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Torchlight is a new ARPG (read, hack n' slash) created by Runic Games (ex-Blizzard north team, creaters of Diablo II and Mythos and Fate). It plays like a 10-year old game of the same genre. Out of every game of the genre that I've played, it reminds me the most of DarkStone, and fuck, that game was great back in the day.

Before I continue, let me say one thing: THIS GAME HAS NO MULTIPLAYER. IT IS EXCLUSIVELY SINGLE PLAYER ONLY [size=x-small](but an MMO is in production). What the fuck is it with that?[/size]

I don't really know how to start reviewing this game. You choose one class out of the three available: Vanquisher (Amazon), Destroyer (Barbarian) and Alchemist (Necromancer, but really seems a lot like Witch Doctor out of D3) and the game puts you in the town of Torchlight (music is a mix between Tristram [d1] and Rogue Encampment [d2]). The main quest immediately picks up and you are sent on your way to the first level.

The dungeon system is a mix between Diablo I with the waypoint (here called waygate) option from Diablo II. There is no "open world" and different acts like in Diablo II, you are always stuck in the one town. You enter the mines outside the city and activate a waygate every 5 levels that lets you get quick access and saves you from trekking all through it again.

This review will drag because I am going to individually discuss all the gameplay elements, so if interested, just scroll down to the relevant bold title. If you don't care about the individual game elements, then press CNTR + W or just scroll down to the end for a few final words and verdict.

Difficulty:
Torchlight is easy. As simple as that. In the beginning of the game, you pick your difficulty, Easy (bonus experience), Normal, Hard (tougher enemies) and Very Hard (tougher enemies and more damage). I finished the game on Normal and quite frankly, it was way too easy. When/If I start a new character, definately go for Very Hard and I recommend everyone here to do the same.
It is said that you can change difficulty through the console in the next patch without being labelled a cheater.
There is also a Hardcore option, which is the same that it was in D2.

Quests:
Torchlight in this sense feels more like an ARPG than say, even Diablo II, it's an endless dungeon crawler. Main quest has you hunting down this one dude, with a little cutscene or change in scenery every 5 dungeon levels. There's one guy who gives you a quest to get him embers (basically, find another ember every 3 levels or so) and a singing robot bard that (quite nifty actually) that sings songs of your achievments, thus he asks you to kill a rare every 2-3 levels or so. Essentially, these sidequests add nothing besides another source for a little more experience or fame, you'd still be crawling your way through the same dungeon.
There is one more guy who opens up extra dungeons and asks you to retrieve shit from them, they are generally a bit more challenging but add nothing besides another source for gold, experience and fame, so why bother and just not go to another level of the main dungeon? Essentially, they are there in case you are lacking experience for the main quest, but the game is easy anyway.
After you finish the main quest, another set of dungeons opens up with more sidequest creation. This is basically an endless set of dungeons with and endless set of side quests for you to crawl through, until you reach maximum level (100), thus instead of respawning monsters a la Diablo II, it creates an unlimited number of levels or random content for you. Not bad, if you're into that kind of thing.

Combat:
Torchlight has here tried to improve on what failed a little in D2 - too much character specialization in Single Player. Whereas a Smiter was awesome for taking down bosses, it absolutely failed at tackling the hordes sent at you en masse and made him a slow grinder and progresser.
In Torchlight, all classes have AoE skills which are acquired very early on and make progression very fast, so you do not end up stuck, beating one monster. Skills are used in the same way as D2, you bind a skill under each mouse button and let it rip. It should also be mentioned that projectile weapons (bows, guns) do not require arrows or bullets, which is very nice.
Dungeon creation is random, so your map is created every time you enter a new level, however unlike in D2, monsters do not respawn and maps remain explored.
You can purchase maps to "lost dungeons" from vendors, which basically create a portal to a random 2 level dungeon and you can explore it for loot and experience. Great if you are behind with experience for the main quest.
The game also creates rare monsters which give you extra experience and fame. The gain is substantial, so it is worth exploring the level to hunt them down and their drops are good.

Death:
When you die, you are prompted with 3 options - pay a penalty in fame, experience and gold and resurrect immediately, pay a penalty in gold and resurrect at start of level or pay no penalty and resurrect in town. Works quite well.

Stats:
Torchlight has 4 different stats:
-Strength: more melee damage, also a requirement for some heavier armors and melee weapons.
-Dexterity: more ranged damage, requirement for ranged weapons.
-Magic: more magic damage from spells, more ranged damage from wands
-Defence: more mitigation, also a requirement for armors. This is different from Diablo II. In Diablo II, defence gave you less chance to be hit, the direct opposite from Attack Rating. Instead, it works a bit like Damage Reduction from D2. In Torchlight, items have armor values, which directly mitigates damage. The Defence stat increases the mitigation from your armor.

In all honesty, the game is too forgiving for you to really care about this. On my Vanquisher, I ended up pumping 95% of all stats into Dexterity for more damage. I suspect that it will be Strength for the Destoryer and Magic for the Alchemist, with a few tribute points into Defence to wear better armor.

Leveling up is more normalized than it was in D2 (1-87 in 1h, and about 4-5h per levelup in early 90s, with heavy incremental increase). In Torchlight, you get levels at the same time rate, avarage of 1 level per 1.5/2 dungon floors.
Maximum level is 100.

Skills:
Skill trees work like in Diablo II, except that skill prerequisites don't exist, they only have level requirements. You get skill points via leveling and fame. Say at level 30, you have access to all skills and you can invest points in them regardless whether you have any prior points in that tree or not. This allows for more specialization and it means that you won't have to waste 5 points to get the skill that you actually want. Not bad. There are 3 trees, like in Diablo 2. For the vanquisher, one tree is for bows (like Bows trees from D2), 2nd tree is for traps (like Trap assassin in D2) and the 3rd tree is for melee combat (akin to Rogue in WoW).

Fame:
Every time you complete a quest or kill a rare monster, you get Fame points. I haven't played Fate, but apparently the mechanic is similar. Fame is like a 2nd experience bar, every time it fills up you reach a new level of being famous and acquire a skill point. It's quite nice and gives you that extra incentive to hunt down rare monsters. Maximum fame level is 45 I believe.

Pet:
This is perhaps one of the most useful gameplay additions in this kind of game. When you create your character, you can pick a pet (cat or dog) that helps you in combat and carries items for you. You can also equip him with some simple jewelry (Amulet + 2xRings) and 2 spells (explained in own section). The key thing is that he's got a large inventory that you can load up. You can then send him to town and he vendors everything that he carries, returns after 2 minutes and gives you the gold. This mechanic is great because it practically eliminates the need for going to town and you can also pick everything up to maximize your gold gain. Gold is good in Torchlight.

Retire:
You can retire a character if you are sick of him after finishing the main quest, basically deleting him. What this does is that your next character gets an extra skill point and also "inherits" one item from the character, which then has its stats increased. You can inherit one item many times and its stats will keep on improving until a certain extent.

Spells:
You can find several spells in the game which are kept in the seperate spells tab. You can then learn up to 4 spells that you can use at any time, at the cost of mana. This mechanic is essentially dependant on whether you will find the spells or not, since their drop is random. You keep upgrading them, so eventually you'll be using Fireball V as opposed to I. I don't know how useful they are since killing is not a problem anyway and I never used any spells.
If you are sick of your spells, you can unlearn them, but the initial scroll is consumed and you'll need to find another scroll if you want to relearn.

Shared stash:
Besides your personal stash (like in D2), you also have a shared stash, basically a way of giving items to your other characters. Nifty. Softcore and Hardcore stashes are seperate, however I believe that they are the same regardless of difficulty.

Different vendors in town:
Torchlight has a number of vendors with different purposes in town, their essential purpose, besides vendoring is the replacement of the Horadric Cube.
Gem retrieval is done by two goblins. Gems in items work exactly the same way as it did in Diablo II and follow exactly the same pattern (except that it takes 2 gems to transmute to next level as opposed to 3). Unlike in Diablo II, gems are actually very valuable and top level ones are tough to get. So you've got two goblins, one will destroy your item and return your gem, the other one will destroy the gems and return the item.
Transmuter: this guy is the basic Horadric cube, look for recipes. He combines gems and all that jazz.
Gambler: same as in D2 essentially, although there are minor differences. Thus far, I've found gambling to be rewarding, but not so much at later levels when you're already geared.
Enchanter: this guy is key to itemization. I will discuss this later under the itemization heading.

Itemization:
Drops work very much like they did in Diablo II. Everyone can use any weapon and any armor as long as they've got the necessary stats for it. Green is magical, blue is rare, golden is unique and purple is set. However, here comes the annoying bit. Remember how in Diablo II, loads of shit always dropped and most of it was garbage. So in a Hell Chaos Sanctuary run, you'd maybe pick up 2-3 items max and normally vendor those as well. Rest was garbage that you didn't give a shit about because gold was basically irrelevant. However, in Torchlight, gold is very much needed and even though drops aren't as plentiful as they are in D2, there's still a lot, so you spend a lot of time picking up garbage, essentially the same loot that you'd have found since level 1 of the dungeon, giving it to your pet and vendoring it for money. A lot of shit drops, so you really just have to pause, identify all the garbage and then give it to your pet to vendor. I guess it's better than just leaving it, but I'd personally like to see more of a flat gear progression element like in WoW, level 80 green drops have far superior stats to level 1 greens and sell for different amounts of money. You naturally get more gold for higher level items here as well, but picking up another green, identifying it and realizing that it just gives +1 of another useless stat and then selling it gets a bit tedious.
Next thing that I'm unhappy about is how much stats have been dumbed down. There are far less stats in the game, i.e. there are no real minute "fun" ones like in D2 (+ light radius - and hey it was useful!). Essentially, all that you get on gear are +base stats, +res%, +life/mana, +%dmg. It gets a bit boring and especially in the early game, it really just means not picking the one that you give less fuck about. It also means that once you get your item that has the stat that you really want (in my case, I loved +life and +dex), you can end up using that piece for a very long time. Especially due to Enchanting.
Enchanting is key in this game, but it's also something that feels quite gamebreaking. There's a vendor in town that can enchant an item for you for a fee, which can result in one of these 4 results:
-he adds sockets
-he adds magical attributes or improves previous ones
-nothing happens
-he fucks up and removes all enchantments on the item (fairly rare)
So what this means is that you can just bring your level 1 white helmet to the guy and reenchant it for all the money that you have and use it until the end of the game. It is not a bad use of gold. It is fairly expensive and the main money drain in this game, but there's a fine line to cross - you can find a good bow and use all the gold that you've gathered over past 3 hours to make it amazing. You then go to the next dungeon and find a slightly better base bow that would potentially give better stats if you spent 50k enchanting it. You can enchant all items, green, set, rare or unique, but for some of them the fees are really high. The enchanting aspect can really be game breaking, because what it essentially means is that whatever you are picking up is only for gold purposes that use to improve your current gear. And obviously you can get the kind of situation when you've spent 20 minutes clearing 2 levels, finally come back to town, enchant your bow and the enchant fails - nothing happens. Can be frustrating, but potentially very powerful.

The Verdict:
Torchlight has its flaws, but it's the best game in its genre to have come out in a long time, quite akin to Diablo II to be honest. Obviously, a severe problem is the lack of multiplayer, but if you're the individual grinder type, this is not a major issue. I've played many games of this genre and there are very few that I've played for longer than a day or so. Torchlight bored me at first (as did Diablo II) but I've got into it and am about to start a new character now. As far as dungeon-crawlers go, this is about as good as it gets. It's only £15 so even if you don't like it, it's not a massive waste. The game's only been out for a few days (but it's relatively bugfree, nothing game breaking for me thus far), so the next major determiner of success is going to be how and how soon the developers are going to patch the bugs and provide new content. If you liked Diablo II, give Torchlight a chance.

I'd give it an 8/10, but due to the lack of multiplayer, it gets 7/10.
View user's profileSend private message
ApTyp
250 Posts til Somewhere
250 Posts til Somewhere


Joined: 29 May 2002
Posts: 2694

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

snip


Last edited by ApTyp on Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:29 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profileSend private message
King of Creation
Righteous Subjugator
Righteous Subjugator


Joined: 20 Dec 2003
Posts: 5103

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Will it run on my 2 year old laptop?
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's website
Frater Perdurabo
Paragon
Paragon


Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Posts: 2427
Location: Võro

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

ApTyp wrote:
Needs more screenshots.

There's also a lot of "you" and "yours" (you choose, you enter, etc.), do you really think everyone who reads the review will play Torchlight, and especially get as far as you have? Probably not. Yous and yours belong in the narrative that describes player's actions, such as in a roleplaying game. But a review is not a game, so it made me want to skip straight to the action (writing this preview)...
Who gives a shit?

ApTyp wrote:
If you are giving the game scores it might help comparing them against other, similar games. How much would you give Diablo?
I compared it to Diablo with practically everything that I wrote?

ApTyp wrote:
This concludes my preview of Frater Perdurabo's "Torchlight" videogame review, I would like to see more from this promising young writer in the near future! smile
I am in no way aspiring to become a games journalist or anything, I played the game and I thought that I'd let people on DaC know about what kind of game it is. Those that are interested are welcome to read more in depth about the gameplay elements, because personally I'd like to read a review that explains the game's mechanics more thoroughly than just two lines. The idea was not to write some masterpiece, if you're not interested, don't read it, I don't really care. I know that many of the sentences don't make sense - that's because I didn't bother spell + grammar checking it. It's not the point.

King of Creation wrote:
Will it run on my 2 year old laptop?

I should have mentioned this in the review but forgot to - the game's got a "Notebook" mode, which I presume makes it run on older computers, especially laptops. I have a very decent laptop with a "shitty" graphics card and it runs fine, I see some drop in FPS towards the later parts of the game where there are a lot of enemies, explosions and animations. No stuttering thus far, but I suspect that most laptops will have some trouble unless they've got a high-end graphics card - but hey, that's why the notebook mode is there, so give it a go and write here how you found it.
View user's profileSend private message
MR Snake
Chinderella
Chinderella


Joined: 02 Aug 2003
Posts: 2232
Location: Fapping in my mothers basement

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Torchlight is made by the "old" makers of Diablo 2. Hence why it is pretty much identical.
View user's profileSend private message
POOPERSCOOPER
Paparazzi
Paparazzi


Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 5022
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hah, I can't believe it has no multiplayer i would have thought that would be the main selling point of the game.

Thanks for the review, Frater.
View user's profileSend private messageAIM Address
MadBill
Strider Elite
Strider Elite


Joined: 03 Feb 2005
Posts: 932
Location: Vault pi

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I heard there are plans for multiplayer.
View user's profileSend private message
ApTyp
250 Posts til Somewhere
250 Posts til Somewhere


Joined: 29 May 2002
Posts: 2694

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

snip


Last edited by ApTyp on Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:28 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profileSend private message
Frater Perdurabo
Paragon
Paragon


Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Posts: 2427
Location: Võro

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

ApTyp wrote:
Frater Perdurabo wrote:
butthurt


The correct way to react to criticism is to discuss the merits of suggestions I've made. If you knew how to react, you wouldn't feel the need to defend your final review, which you probably corrected many times over to make it better.

Don't you want to be better at everything you do, Frater Perdurabo? Including how to make better videogame reviews?

I'm not disputing the merits of your suggestions, they are valid. I just don't really care, as the point of this was never to write some fucking thesis. And no, I haven't gone over the review, in fact it was written in two sittings. If I write a better one next time, so be it, but it doesn't really matter. I'm not defending my review, I admit that it's mediocre, you say it's shit, the purpose of it was never to write an excellent report, I was just jotting down some things about the game.
POOPERSCOOPER wrote:
Thanks for the review, Frater.

No problem smile
View user's profileSend private message
Smiley
Righteous Subjugator
Righteous Subjugator


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3186
Location: Denmark. Smiley-land.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:46 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Didn't read the review.

Basicly it's a cute hack'n'slash, reminding me mostly of a mix between Dungeon Siege 2 and the diablo series.
Whenever you get a set item or unique you're likely already packing much better items that are uncommon or rare and items drop an masse from everything.

Skills are lacking, quests are bullshit, the storyline is lacking but the mindless slaughter is mildly entertaining.

It's very cheap though and worth the money.

King of Creation wrote:
Will it run on my 2 year old laptop?


I'm running it on a Vista laptop from this year, with an AMD Turion X2 CPU, 3 gigs of RAM and an ATI Radeon HD3450. It's not a gamer PC but it runs most things nicely.

Torchlight runs at a tolerable level on it, on high settings. The game stutters occasionally when a lot of effects happen.

Loading times are horrible though, so I suspect it might be a bitch on older machines.

Pooperscooper wrote:
Hah, I can't believe it has no multiplayer i would have thought that would be the main selling point of the game.


I think they're working on an MMO/multiplayer patch, to be released at a later date.
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's websiteAIM Address
King of Creation
Righteous Subjugator
Righteous Subjugator


Joined: 20 Dec 2003
Posts: 5103

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've got a 2ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, Vista, 1gb of RAM, and an nvidia geforce 8400m gt 165mb video card or something like that.
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's website
Smiley
Righteous Subjugator
Righteous Subjugator


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3186
Location: Denmark. Smiley-land.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

System Requirements
OS: Windows 2000 or later
Processor: x86-compatible 800MHz processor
Memory: 512MB
Graphics: DirectX-compatible 3D graphics with at least 64MB of addressable memory (such as an ATI Radeon 7200, NVIDIA GeForce 2, or Intel GMA 950)
DirectX®: 9.0c
Hard Drive: 400MB

I guess it should be tolerable on your system on mid-settings. I'm guessing the load-times will be long though.
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's websiteAIM Address
King of Creation
Righteous Subjugator
Righteous Subjugator


Joined: 20 Dec 2003
Posts: 5103

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sweet!
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's website
VasikkA
No more Tuna
No more Tuna


Joined: 15 Jun 2002
Posts: 8711

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

That could mean anything. Try it out first.
View user's profileSend private message
jimmypneumatic
Wanderer
Wanderer


Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 442
Location: Still there.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The game drags on at higher levels in the infinite dungeon after you beat the main quest, requiring much unnecessary travel time as there are no waypoints in it. But the game is pretty well balanced, most skills make little difference to the power of your character compared to gear however.Overall i thought it was a solid dungeon crawler and shows surprisingly good quality assurance for a game at this price.

P.S. Watch out for this bug; existing characters in the release version are deleted if you hit the return key instead of clicking the ok button upon character creation. I lost a character with 6 hrs on it due to this crap. Granted, Runic fixed the bug in 1.12, but seemed to have borked the hell out of high lvl loot tables in the process...
View user's profileSend private message
Megatron
Mamma's Gang member
Mamma's Gang member


Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 7863
Location: The United Kingdoms

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:38 am Reply with quoteBack to top



eat shit mongo


Last edited by Megatron on Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profileSend private message
Smiley
Righteous Subjugator
Righteous Subjugator


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3186
Location: Denmark. Smiley-land.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Load times and performance were improved last patch. Runs fine on my laptop now, by the way.

Steam helps out a lot, keeping games updated on the fly(and you have the choice of disabling automatic updates).

Finished it yesterday, the last boss was pretty nice. The infinite dungeons afterwards are like jimmypneumatic says, they drag on. I doubt I'll play it again until they add multiplayer of some sort though, replay value seems pretty low.
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's websiteAIM Address
Display posts from previous:      
Post new topicReply to topic


Jump to:  



View next topic
View previous topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group