Torchlight

A simple dungeon crawler action-RPG(role-playing game). The mining town of Torchlight is under attack by monsters coming from the mines. It’s your job to clear it out. That is it. Now straight into the action.

Pros

The cartoony graphics are good and colourful. Everything is wonderfully detailed and drives the game well. All things that move are also very well animated.

Lots of monsters, lots of weapons, lots of armour, lots of magic, lots of accessories, lots of customisations, basically lots of everything!

Very low minimum requirements for a game released in 2009. I am guessing the game can even be run on netbooks, because there is an “Netbook mode” option.

When you start the game, there are tips that display every time something new happens. Very helpful for new players like me. You can turn them off if you are a seasoned player. The game is already easy to learn and play, but these tips makes things even easier.

Each time you start a new game, the dungeons are randomly generated. If rampaging through the main dungeon gets too linear, boring or difficult, there are side quests and extra maps that are also randomly generated.

The game is moddable and looks like there are lots of mods to try out. Check out the Runic Games Fansite for mods.

You get a pet that follows you around and helps you fight and carry your loot as well. Your pet can even be sent back to town to sell the loot for you.

There is a fishing mini-game where you try to get… well FISH! You may not like to break away from monster whacking to go fish, but the advantage is you feed fishes to your pets and they turn into different monsters with different abilities. This lasts for a limited amount of time before your pet turns back to normal.

If you have created multiple characters, you can trade items between the characters through the shared stash chest. I noticed that stash can only be shared between characters belonging to the same hardcore mode or non-hardcore mode. ie Characters in hardcore mode and share with each other, characters in non-hardcore mode can share with each other, but characters from hardcore mode cannot share with characters in non-hardcore mode.

Once the main story dungeon has been completed, you can continue playing OR retire your character. A new area called the Shadow Vault becomes available if you decide to continue. This gives the choice of the Shadow Vault or buying more extra maps to explore or one-hitting your way through the low-level monsters of the main dungeon again. On retiring your character, you get to pass down one item to a new character to start the Torchlight adventure again. The item passed down gets a stat boost and the requirements lowered. This descendant character also starts off with one extra fame point to make their journey just that little bit easier.

Cons

Although I do not mind, I am sure some people will not like this. There is no multiplayer.

The characters’ speeches do not sound convincing.

Apart from zoom in and out, you cannot rotate the camera. Although the game and level designs are made in such a way that you can see most things, it still would have been nice to be able to rotate the camera to get a better view.

Other Points

There is no save game or load game as such. You just play and when you want to stop the game, just exit and your progress is automatically saved. Next time when you come back you can pick to continue a game or start a new game.

Along with the no save or load, there is also hardcore mode. Essentially, this is permadeath mode. You only get one shot, if your character dies, there is no reload. He/she is lost forever.

If you are not playing hardcore mode and die in the game, there are four options: Respawn at the current location at the cost of losing experience and fame; Respawn at the entrance to the level at the cost of losing gold; Respawn back in town for free; Or exit to the title screen and lose your progress.

Biases

Reviewed version 1.15.

Although I have seen many of my friends play Diablo, I myself never got around to buying it. This is the first action-RPG I have played on the PC. The closest thing to an action-RPG I have played is Larva Mortus. But that is primarily a top-down shooter. I have played Champions Of Norath on PlayStation2 though and I liked that a lot.

I really liked Baldur’s Gate 1, 2 plus expansions and Oblivion.

I also liked Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, Lands of Lore 3, Might and Magic 3, 4 and 5.

I did not like Styrateg.

I have completed the main story on very hard difficulty using the destroyer. It took me around 30 hours. It was not a straight play through, as I needed to complete many side quests and extra maps to gain enough levels and good enough equipment to reach the end.

Torchlight is one of those rare games where I get to play with full graphics settings.

I tried out all three classes but mainly focused playing with the destroyer.

DRM

I bought the Direct2Drive version of Torchlight and I remember entering an activation key the first time I installed. Now, I installed it for a second time on the same computer, it did not ask for the activation key.

Unfortunately I do not remember upon activation whether Torchlight actually phoned home to say that I have activated my game on this PC. It did not phone home on this second install.

I have read around that the Direct2Drive version of Torchlight uses SecuRom but I cannot verify this.

On the official site, they do say that if you buy from Runic Games directly, an Internet connection is required to activate the game and an activation key is provided which gives ten activations before you have to contact them.

Torchlight is available DRM free from GOG.com.

Minimum Requirements (from the game manual)

  • CPU: TORCHLIGHT requires an x86-compatible PC with an 800 MHz processor or better. Your computer must have at least 512 MB of system RAM.
  • Operating System: You must be running Windows 2000 or later to play TORCHLIGHT.
  • Controls: A keyboard and mouse are required for playing TORCHLIGHT.
  • Video: TORCHLIGHT requires a video card that is compatible with DirectX. Your video card must have 64MB of addressable memory. Popular examples of compatible video cards include the ATI Radeon 7200, Intel GMA 950, and the NVIDIA GeForce 2.
  • Sound: TORCHLIGHT works with any DirectX 10 compatible sound card.

Computer Played On

  • Core 2 Duo 2.16GHz
  • 2Gb RAM
  • ATI Radeon X1600 256Mb RAM (laptop version)
  • Logitech G35 headset and/or Realtek HD Audio(no idea what model) with Altec Lansing ACS41 speakers or Logitech ClearChat Premium PC Headset.
  • Win XP Pro
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

Torchlight works great on my Windows 10 PC too.

Recommended Mods

Emberfiend – Adds quite a bit of new stuff like crafting, permanent companions(other than your pet) and new areas. I continued playing my normal character after installing this mod and it seems to run fine.

Total Respec Mod – Adds purchasable potions that allows you to reconfigure the skills and statistics of your character.

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