Friday, April 16, 2010
Video Game Review - Torchlight
1 Player RPG
Rated T for Blood and Violence.
I said in my Push review, there were a lot of major releases for movies last year, and that's also very true of games as well. With games like MW2, or Batman: Arkham Asylum releasing every few weeks, it was kind of a hectic year for gaming as well. So it's no surprise that, just like with Push, some games would go unnoticed as well.
I suppose it's not exactly fair to say Torchlight went unnoticed, the game sold pretty well, but it wasn't exactly a hit either. I suppose what I'm saying is, Torchlight kind of flew under the radar. It wasn't a catastrophic failure on par with Psychonauts, but it wasn't a hit on par with Ghost Recon 19 either. It fell somewhere between the two. So I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard of Torchlight, from a new studio, Runic Games, who are comprised of a lot of members of a company known as Blizzard, known for the Diablo franchise, alongside Starcraft, and of course, Warcraft.
The experience certainly shows because, from what I understand, the game is basically an update of Diablo. I admittedly haven't played Diablo, so I can't make that comparison. What I can tell you though, is the game is pretty good.
The story starts in the town of Torchlight, a mining town, mining a mysterious mineral called ember with magical properties, and you enter the mines to save this one guy, and then the plot thickens or something so you go down deep into the ember mines and blah blah blah blah boring boring blah.
The plot couldn't be more generic if it tried. I started paying attention to it, and then I realized it was crap and Runic had no idea how to make a good story in a game, and stopped, and just kept going deeper under the town.
The gameplay is where the game shines though. Your character is absurdly powerful, any one enemy in the game doesn't stand a chance against you, so the game compensates by throwing a lot more than just one enemy at you at once. It throws a LOT of enemies at you at once. The end result is AWESOME chaotic gameplay, with spells flying everywhere. It's quite good.
The graphics are also really good. They have a cartoony, almost WoW-like style, that really lends itself to the game. Also any time you critically hit an enemy, they are reduced to a bloody smear on the ground, which is disturbingly satisfying.
But! Another great feature of this game is the fact that if you DON'T like turning your enemies into bloody smears, and I can't imagine why you wouldn't, but let's say you don't, you can easily go into the options menu and turn blood off. Easy as [insert easy thing here].
Another nice feature is your pet. You start off with a pet cat or dog, who follows you and fights with you, and can run back to town and sell things for you. A nifty feature to be sure.
The sound is... Well to be honest, the sound was eh. I didn't like it that much, I left it off and played with some music, or a podcast on for most the time. But it wasn't bad, and hearing your enemies go *SPLAT* is very satisfying. I'M NOT VIOLENT.
But, with that in mind, there is one near-fatal flaw with the game. And I'm just going to put this out there, to Runic Games, and any other developer EVER:
No boss fight should ever, EVER, have that much health. The final boss of Torchlight is absurd. It's like trying to demolish a skyscraper with a butter knife, that you can only touch with your tongue. It's absurd. And the worst part is, you can die and revive pretty much on the spot for little to no cost, just some gold that YOU WON'T NEED AFTER BEATING THE FINAL BOSS ANYWAYS.
Never give a boss that much health again. Ever. Seriously. Terrible. After about an hour of fighting it, chipping away at it's health, I was halfway done, and took a break, finishing the next day. It was absurd.
With that in mind, I really did enjoy this game, and will probably play it more at some point in the future.
Buy this game if: You enjoy being absurdly overpowered, and reducing hordes of enemies to bloody smears on the ground.
Don't buy this game if: You require a strong story, and aren't willing to overlook a few bugs and flaws with the game, to get to what's actually a pretty fun game.
Torchlight can be purchased here on steam for $19.99. There is also a free demo there. This review was based off of 20 hours played, including one full Alchemist playthrough on normal difficulty.