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Friday, November 13, 2009

Stay Awhile and Listen [Torchlight]

Many regular readers of this site know that I'm a huge fan of the Diablo series by Blizzard. The point-and-click dungeon-running games have always topped my list of greatest games ever. Unlike games that rely on graphics, gimmicks, or controversy, carving a path through a monster-filled dungeon filled with monsters and loot will always have unlimited appeal to many gamers out there.

I remember the first time I played the original Diablo. I'd just purchased my very first computer during my second year of university: a Pentium 166. Along with my new computer, I decided to pick up Diablo after having read some favourable reviews in PC Gamer. I popped in the CD, installed the game, and grabbed a beer in preparation for what I hoped would be an amazing experience. I was not disappointed.

Diablo's opening cinematic looks a little dated today. But at the time, sitting in my room with my housemates looking on intently, it was the most impressive thing I'd ever seen on a computer. I spent the rest of the evening playing Diablo for twelve straight hours. I was in gaming heaven.

When Diablo II came out, I can only say that the bar was raised even higher. Diablo II is still, to this day, the best video game that I have ever played. No other game has ever come close to capturing the unforgettable experience of playing Diablo II. Even today, Diablo II's opening cinematic remains an unparalleled thing of beauty.

All this talk of the Diablo series brings me to last night and a little game called Torchlight. I'll be honest: I hadn't heard anything about Torchlight until it was brought up on the weekly GiantBomb Bombcast. I don't follow PC games regularly; when I do, I end up sorely disappointed in the graphical capabilities of my laptop computer.

After putting the kids to bed, I visited Runic Games' Torchlight site and downloaded the game demo. I'd heard that the game's developers had actually played Torchlight on their netbooks around the office. If that was the case, my laptop would likely have more than enough juice to run Torchlight without issue.

Great news! Torchlight worked perfectly on my laptop! It looks great, it sounds great, and I am more excited about this game than many of the games I've played in the past few years! I've got some trailers, GiantBomb's Quick Look, and a video review of Torchlight for all of you to watch. Before I get to those, let me give you my thoughts on the game based on my first hour of play.

Torchlight is made by the same people who made Diablo II. Torchlight is, in my opinion, the spiritual successor to Diablo II. Think of it as Diablo 2.5. The feel of the game is very much Diablo II but with some crucial upgrades. Here are the features that most impressed me in my short time with Torchlight:

  • Graphics are amazing. I love it when games have a cartoon-like quality to them: Torchlight does not disappoint in this regard. Even on my laptop running everything on medium settings without anti-aliasing and low particle effects, Torchlight's graphics have blown my mind. Torchlight looks much better than Diablo II ever looked - discounting cutscenes, of course.

  • The mining town of Torchlight offer all of the necessary amenities, including blacksmiths, general stores, spell shops, and the like. But there are also NPCs who offer amazing services. One citizen performs a service that mirrors that of the fantastical Horadric Cube from Diablo II. For many of you, this in itself is reason enough to buy Torchlight. Other citizens will break down items for gems, unsocket weapons and armour, and basically perform all of the little things that you wish you could have done in Diablo II.

  • The musical score for Torchlight was composed by the same guy who did the Diablo II soundtrack. It's amazing and eerily familiar!

  • Torchlight has gems and socketed weapons and armour. Different gems imbue your inventory with different abilities. Awesome!

  • Torchlight offers players a huge amount of loot. There are normal, magical, rare, unique, and set items that you can find. I don't think that there is any greater moment in gaming than finally completing a set of items or finding a unique weapon or piece of armour.

Honestly, I could go on about Torchlight but I'd rather just get back to playing it.

Before I go, here are the videos I mentioned earlier. Enjoy!

GiantBomb's Quick Look at Torchlight

GameTrailers' Review of Torchlight

Torchlight - here I come!

Have a great weekend!