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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 14, 2010
This game sure comes with some serious pedigree: Travis Baldree, designer of Fate, and Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, co-designers of Diablo I &II put their heads together and came up with an action hack&slash isometric RPG game that can appeal to all ages. The result is a good game that will keep us hacking and summoning - until the ...3rd coming that is.

In fact, the game developers made sure to often pay tribute to the DIABLO Series: from the background music while at the town-camp (you would recognize those Tristam guitar riffs anywhere!), to the draining health and mana fountains and to the voice announcing & warning, you cannot miss the timeless DIABLO influences. Having said that, I found TORCHLIGHT to be something between a DIABLO and a FATE game.

If you have experienced any of the FATE games you will be reminded of them often, although the heroes here are not children. The village NPCs will keep giving you straightforward quests (usually a go-and-fetch excuse to dwell deeper into the dungeon). Extra dungeons, however, can be accessed by accepting the extra quests of the male NPC in the south and by purchasing dungeon maps of various levels from the local merchants. Also, sometimes a spectral animal appears while in a dungeon: slaying it will open up a bonus dungeon where better equipment often becomes available. There is no traveling to/from town while in a bonus dungeon, so you better keep an empty inventory before entering it.
Yes, you do get a pet (a dog or a cat - but you can interchange them by purchasing and feeding them a special fish) and, yes, you can transform them by feeding them different types of fishes. Fishing is carried out in pretty much the same fashion: you wait for two concentric circles to merge and their color to change from pale blue to purple but it is less important than it was in FATE (so far I brought in nothing else but fish - no equipment or valuable items).

Now, when not playing an AD&D RPG (where I always choose to be a Paladin), I like to play other RPGs as a warlock, a fighting mage. The Alchemist class allows you to both cast powerful spells and exchange blows in the midst of the action (the other available classes is the Destroyer and the Vanquisher). The Destroyer is the up-close-and-personal tank warrior whereas the Vanquisher is the ranger.
When leveling up as an Alchemist, make sure to get both the (steampunk!) golems and the Ember Strike spell. Together with some good shielding spells, nothing can stand in your way.

Try not to go broke. At first I though, "finally, an RPG that is not stingy with its money". But that was only at first. Items are less expensive at the shops but (surprise!) they also sell for a pittance. The good news is that money drops like rain from slain foes. The money-hole is the enchanter: attempting to further enchant your equipment will deplete your funds faster than you would imagine! And you also run a considerable risk of having all of its enchantments removed. No post-dated checks are honored. No credit cards accepted. I tried.

You WILL get swarmed so be prepared. Place healing potions, defensive and knockback spells on quick-slots (1-0); equip your pet with self or group healing spells and a powerful summoning spell; and never forget to first stay alive and then keep pounding on your enemies. In the heat of the battle it is best to deactivate (Alt-key) the fallen-items labels (more on this later on) and to always keep an eye on your health and mana levels. Respawning is not free: it will cost you either time, money or experience.

The inventory seems small but, in fact, it is more than adequate. Potions and scrolls are stackable up to 20 and (more importantly) every item takes up only one inventory square (no, you do not have to carry your fishing pole, it is just there).
You can send your pet to town to sell off its inventory and the time it needs to return is much less that what it did in FATE.
And there are treasure rooms you can only access by finding and pulling levers (sometimes in specific sequence) to open doors or turn bridges.

Now, some negative points:
(1) the game is only a dungeon crawler, there are no outdoors locations.
(2) the graphics of the the spells are very impressive but they can become really confusing as well. Even at maximum settings, unless the fallen-items labels are deactivated you will not be able to actually see much of the battle. That means alternating between fighting and looting - but it also means missing some important interactive objects (levers or ballistas). Also, when electric, fire, ice and poison spells get mixed the result is not something one can discern friend from foe in. It makes no tactical difference (you cannot harm yourself or your company) but it sure would be more enjoyable if you could aim more than...80% of the time.
(3) the environments are beautifully designed but your path is often blocked by obstacles that visually you could easily bypass. Sometimes you find your hero running in place, stopped by a ...pebble.

Finally, some closing suggestions to the developers for a future patch: (a) add the possibility to order our pet to bring back potions and identification scrolls when sent into town, and (b) make it possible to change class in mid-game (keeping the level and redistributing the skill points).

All in all, TORCHLIGHT is a very enjoyable experience. It is easy to master, it is beautiful and it is fun for the whole family.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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VINE VOICEon January 14, 2010
I've been playing this type of game since Wizardry came out on the Apple ][. And this is about the most entertaining dungeon crawl I've ever dove into!

I don't want to spend time telling you what kind of game this is. You know that. I want to point out how REFINED this is. The developers know what you like and what's annoying. Stuff you like (loot!, violence!, MINIONS!!) is plentiful. Stuff you don't (long cutscenes, stupid storylines, micromanagement) is gone.

Bash Monsters in the style YOU like. Snipe from long range? You can do that. Tear them apart in axe-to-face combat? You can do that! Swarm them with legions of undead minions? YOU CAN DO THAT! Go all John Woo - blazing away with a pistol in each hand? YOU... CAN... DO... THAT!!! You can even switch between those styles (and many more) with the SAME CHARACTER. You develop the character the way YOU want - because it's more fun that way!

It runs well on older systems (even netbooks!) and beautifully on newer ones.

It's well supported. There is a vibrant user community supplying a plethora of mods. Steam has a long list of achievments you can shoot for (I don't know if you can hook into the achievements if you don't buy the game through Steam).

You got the idea. I gotta go. My alchemist has a bone to pick with some poison-spitting spiders. Actually, his ZOMBIES do - but you get the idea.
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on May 17, 2012
It's been a long-running joke/acknowledgement in the gaming world that no matter what Vivendi puts on the boxes of its games, "Hellgate London" has always been the "true" Diablo III, and Blizzard/Vivendi's recent disaster would always be "Diablo In Name Only". Unfortunately, the publishers of Hellgate London decided to put it on store shelves before the developers were done with it, it kind of sucked, and it sank into obscurity among everyone who wasn't keeping up with the internal politics of Blizzard at the time. Fortunately, the team that made Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo III: Hellgate London has reunited to bring us "Diablo IV: Torchlight", and this time, they were allowed to actually finish what they started. In fact, Torchlight is more or less a remake of the original Diablo with more advanced graphics. The original three character classes are here, but they've been renamed: the Warrior is now called the Destroyer, the Rogue is now called the Vanquisher, and the Sorcerer is now called the Alchemist. We've gone from Diablo II's multi-act structure back to the original single-town approach, but the town has been renamed from Tristram to Torchlight. Unfortunately, multiplayer seems to have been overlooked, but that's going to be fixed in the upcoming "Diablo V: Torchlight 2".

So that's really what you're getting: Diablo 1 with modern graphics. Who can complain about that?
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on May 23, 2011
DRM?
After reading all of the reviews here, I learned that if you buy the retail boxed version, you don't have to deal with DRM. DO NOT GET THE DOWNLOAD VERSION FROM STEAM, ETC., OR IT WILL HAVE DRM! I was able to install this on my desktop as well as on my netbook. Now, after about a few days, I did get a popup asking me for registration information, which I told it to remind me later (or whatever it was to get past it) and then I immediately did the following:

* Press the Window key and 'R' in order to pull up the Run dialog box.
* Type "msconfig" and press Enter
* Go to the "Startup" tab, and uncheck the "RealConnect Agent" entry and click on OK. You should see an entry under the "Command" column that references Torchlight. I've been playing it for a couple of weeks now and haven't been bothered yet!

Game Glitches/Lockup Issues?
One of the first things I did after installing was to download and install the patch/update from www dot torchlightgame dot com/download. It is a 400MB download BTW. This updates Torchlight from the installed 1.13 version to v1.15. I only had it kick me out of the game once while playing on my netbook, and this was when I was descending down the stairs to the next level (early in the game, like at level 5 or so), so I didn't loose anything thankfully. Once I did have my pet stop following me around once, but I just got out of the game and got back in, and that fixed that. I haven't had any problems with any characters getting stuck behind a pebble, etc.
I'm currently at about level 20 on one character, and haven't had the problems that others have mentioned.

Portals back to Town?
There are scrolls to take you back to town, and you can buy more once you get into town as well. Also, I just found a spell that actually allows you to cast a two way portal to town. I haven't really needed to use it yet, since I've been playing it on easy mode, and always have more than enough portal scrolls to take me back to town.

Game Play?
I am not that much of a gamer. As a matter of fact, this is really the only (PC) game I've played since Diablo2, although I have played one or two of the Army Men games. People complain about the lack of story, but for me, I don't really care much about that! In fact, I find that sometimes the story and all the characters are just too confusing! All I care about is killing monsters, zombies, skeletons, etc. and collecting treasure, which this game has plenty of. Also, some people complain about the game being too easy, but I find the game just right! On easy mode, I am able to just relax, kill monsters and collect the loot, and not worry about dying. Of course you do have to replenish your vitals, but the game allows you to run away to a safe place to do that, at least on easy mode. I have enough stress in my life, and sometimes I just want to play a casual game, and explore new places, and collect loot! I guess with me being a casual gamer, it took some adjusting to all the various other aspects of the game, such as assigning character traits, enchanting weapons and armor and jewelry, and transmuting gems (combining 2-4 same-like gems together to get the next better version). My advice if you are like me is to first assign Strength, Dexterity, Magic, and Defense evenly at first, and as you collect different weapons, armor, and jewelry that adds to each of these, you can then adjust them all to keep everything in sort of a balance.
Also, further along in the game, you will have plenty of $$$ to enchant any weapon, and you will eventually start collecting a lot of gems that you can store in town and then start combining them to get higher attributes!

Price?
Is Torchlight worth $15-$16? Hell yeah! I thought the game was a steal for that. I think you can download it for less than that, but then you have to deal with DRM, so getting the retail boxed version is still worth it. Heck, I bet you could still buy a used copy, download and install the patch/update, and remove that entry mentioned above and play it just fine. Had I known what I know now, I would do that, if a used copy was cheap enough.

Graphics?
I think the graphics are really nice! People complain about everything taking place underground, etc., but I've found plenty of different scenes so far to give some variety, such as: underground waterfalls, rock "islands" like in Avatar that are connected by wooden bridges, castles with caskets with lots of different rooms, and other "islands" surrounded by molten lava that looks pretty cool. There is also an underground "garden", which has green algae and some plant life which is supported by torchlight I am let to believe, which it is nice to see a little green here and there. The smoke, fog, lava, and water effects are all pretty cool I think!

In conclusion, I really liked this game, and after reading through all of the review posts, I at least learned that the retail boxed version was the way to go!
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This review is for the Steam version--I do not know if the retail requires activation. This review will be done in a different format than my other game reviews. Scores in each section are out of 5.0 stars. My apologies for the length; I can't seem to write short reviews.

Torchlight is a new entry into the Diablo-style hack'n'slash genre of games. While it may seem derivitave, it bears mentioning that some of the team behind this game also worked on the actual Diablo games, and one of them is the guy behind Fate.

Customization (3.5):

Not much here to start with--three class archetypes to choose from (melee, ranged, or mage). Each character has their own brief backstory. I played as the melee class; my wife is playing as the ranged class, which involves both bows and guns. More customization comes in upgrading your character--each one has three different skill tracks to upgrade. Personally, though, I would argue that this game's REAL customization potential is in the loot. This game is loot-heavy. Some items have slots that you can upgrade with runes. In town, there is an enchanter (which as another reviewer mentioned is the real money-sink in this game), and also an NPC who can combine duplicate runes into better ones. Some loot is in "sets" that provide bonuses the more pieces you have equipped, though I've found mish-mashing stuff I find to be the best way to go.

Graphics (3.5):

Colorful. Vivid. Confusing. The enemies will swarm you (load up on AoE skills!) and it can often be hard to tell exactly what's going on, but a few clicks of said AoE skill can usually clear them out fairly easily. For those playing on non-gaming netbooks, there is a "Netbook" option under settings that makes it much more playable (we tried this with the demo on my wife's computer before I bought it on mine, and it seems to work well).

Pet (3):

The pet is an interesting mechanic. The fish you can find throughout the game (via, well, an easy-to-grasp fishing mini-game) can be fed to your pet for temporary transformations or stat boosts. These will greatly increase your pets HP, and bestow temporary abilities depending upon the type of fish consumed. They generally last for 120 seconds, though there are variations. Perhaps the most useful aspect is the ability of the pet to run to town and sell stuff in its inventory, which is just as big as yours. Due to the decently high drop rate of potions, the only thing that really might make you go back to town in the middle of a dungeon is using up identify scrolls. You CAN learn an ID spell, though it takes up one of your 4 spell slots.

Gameplay (3):

The real measure of a game. The gameplay here is not deep, thoughtful, or difficult. The enemies--even most bosses--are pretty easy to kill. This is not a criticism per se--I downloaded the demo before purchasing this game, so I knew exactly what to expect. When it comes to games, I'll play a certain game for weeks on end, tire of it for a while, then play something else in a different genre. This is a simple game, but the dungeons go on for a VERY long time. I played through and "beat" the story (which ends on about level 35-40, I can't recall exactly). I'm playing other things now, but I still bring this game up when I want some mindless loot-grinding. It's a good game to kill some time while waiting for my wife to get ready if we're going out (she feels the same away about when I'm getting ready!). Even though the main quest is completed, there are still NPCs outside of a secondary, more difficult dungeon (the Shadow Vault) that are giving me quests.

Bug, Glitches, Issues:

A relatively common one I've found is enemies and the loot they drop getting stuck in walls or behind objects that appear transversable but are not. To my knowledge, no patch has been released addressing this, though if I am mistaken, please let me know. Occasionally your pet will get stuck and trail behind you, though this is easily fixed by doubling back and running in a little circle usually (though it is rather annoying). The save mechanic uses (in the Steam version, and when connected) the Steam Cloud. HOWEVER: The game does NOT require an internet conenction to play, or save. I've found the best thing to do when done a session is open a town portal, and go into town. The game saves, will reload you into town the next time you open it, and your portal back into the dungeon will remain there. I've had several game-killing crashes (which on reloading means I start at the beginning of a dungeon floor), though this is not prevalent enough to make the game unplayable.

All in all, for a game that had a development-to-market cycle of 11 months, with an engine built from the ground up in this time, Torchlight is still surprsingly well-done. The cost--$20 (I got mine for $10...a week later it was $5 in the holiday sale! Oh well)--seems reasonable (if not, wait for another sale, it's sure to come!). This game can definitely cause the "just one more turn!" (or dungeon level, or boss, in this case) mentality, but it is also easy to pick up and play for an hour without having to invest much thought or effort in it. If you liked Diablo, Fate, or just the dungeon crawling, loot-grinding genre in general, this game is a can't-miss.

3.5 / 5 Stars Total (I wish Amazon allowed 1/2-stars).
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on January 25, 2012
I originally played Torchlight as an Xbox 360 arcade game and loved it, so I decided to pick up a copy to play on my laptop. The graphics look much better than the 360 version and the game runs at 60-80FPS even when I'm in the middle of a fight with 30 enemies and spell effects are flying all over the creen. The laptop I'm playing on isn't anything particularly high performance, just a two year old Toshiba with an Intel core2 duo 2.8ghz, 8gb ram and a dedicated Radeon 1gb graphic card.

The game offers three basic classes - a warrior, archer and mage, but you get to allocate your stat points and pick your skills, so you can end up with totally different versions of the classes that aren't even similar to play. The customization and random loot generation ala Diablo and the fact that each dungeon floor is completely random each time you play it means you'll find a lot of replay value from this game. Definitely a bargaino for $15-ish.

If you like hack & slash action RPGs you'll love this game...if you're a fan of Diablo/Diable 2 or Dungeon Siege give this game a shot, the odds are you'll love it.
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on July 9, 2011
Some reviewers compare this game to Diablo, and I suppose it is similar in many ways, however I found this game to be MUCH more fun than Diablo. It's really easy to play. I did not even have to open the documentation files. Also, it was easy to get the right patch, as that was part of the installation process, during the registration of the game. The game play is fun, and full of action. The really great thing is it is no strain at all on computer resources. You can probably play it on a net book with an atom processor, it's so computer friendly. Most of all, IT IS FUN to PLAY!

Another bonus, once installed, you can put the CD away. I really loath having to dig out CD's and/or DVDs to play a game.

After playing the game about 20 hours, it became boring, because it's extremely repetitive. Also, there are SO many items you find, that it becomes a challenge what to save. Eventually, I felt no longer interested in trying to manage all the game clutter of the items, as space is limited. The only thing that happens as you go further and further into the game, is the battles get a little more difficult, but winning a level has diminishing returns in feelings of accomplishments. What is really needed is some nice role playing and story development.
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on October 22, 2012
Torchlight is yet another iteration of 'roguelike' dungeon crawler. Sure, the graphics have been updated and equipment management has matured, but this isn't a whole lot different than the text-based rogues and morias that I played on Apple IIcs and Amigas as a kid. That said, the formula still works. Torchlight is pure hack and slash fun with better-than-expected production values for a budget-priced game. The dungeon itself has a wide variety of creatures, terrains, and quests and (so far) a fairly compelling story. A bargain at full retail and a steal for five bucks.
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on February 21, 2012
I couldn't get into Diablo or Diablo 2 ever (oh noes grab the pitchfork, we have a blasphemer!) But I tried this game out thanks for a friend lending me his copy. He also told me it was created by two guys who did work on Diablo 1 and Diablo 2. SO far, I enjoy this game more. I wish there were more classes, but I understand that this is a starter game to a new franchise. So far it has been very very addicting and fun. One thing I enjoyed this over Diablo was the animations. I just couldn't get into the stiffness of a melee classes of Diablo.

With that said, I am anticipating Torchlight 2. Especially now since Diablo 3 requires an online connection to play anything including single player. Also, I'm assuming like this game, Torchlight 2 I won't have to upgrade my computer to play it like I would have to for Diablo 3. But for now, give this a try through here or on STEAM. Price is wonderful for a game like this.
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on January 25, 2014
Once installed, I just started playing the game with a mage character and his dog. And kept going, deeper and deeper into a starter dungeon (a beautiful mine shaft actually). I had to stop playing to go see if there were mods available, and there are.

I've rarely had this PC game experience, of a game so lushly beautiful and easy to use that I felt I had mastered it before I even learned a single menu control. Everything about this game is slick and plays smoothly. When I think of all the computer games that were a bear to learn and explore, this is how it should be done. Amazing and a pleasant surprise.
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