Torchlight’s approachable graphics direction also feels like a much needed bit of polish to the genre, with cartoon style artwork the game is a lot more family friendly. Indeed it looks like what might happen if some actual effort was put into kid’s movie game crossovers. Dungeons are themed depending on how deep you are and change every 5 levels so it doesn’t feel overly repetitive. Though you won’t have to worry about repetition as every dungeon is randomly generated, so no two characters are going to walk the same path.
The sound track is filled with acoustic melodies which really work well, the voice acting, where it occurs isn’t to bad, certainly isn’t cringe worthy but then most of the NPC’s are just text bubbles and most of them just say go collect this for me and you will be rewarded with monies and fame.
One thing that took me by surprise when I fired up torchlight was how morish it is. At first it felt a little slow and tiresome but I soon caught myself think ‘Just one more level and then I will go to bed’. Its surprisingly addictive and fighting your way through hordes of monsters quickly becomes a joy as your creep up levels and start getting better treasure drops.
I will however criticise the story telling. The concept of the world is a familiar archetype of miners digging to deep and unearthing long forgotten evils, that’s not so bad though. What I don’t like is that it’s just used as an excuse for a dungeon crawl, even though it is a very nice one. Today’s games are moving more and more into the realm of movies with full plots and twists and characters that you can get to like on some level. There is little room for that in point’n’click adventures it would seem and so while scratching a lot of my RPG itches it still feels a little hollow.
I must also mention that there is no multiplayer, which wasn’t a surprise as it wasn’t advertised with any. Its occlusion however stands out on consoles maybe more than on the PC as games often survive longer based on their multiplayer rather than the story. The lack may make more sense when coupled with the nugget that this is the first game from Runic studios and rather then getting bogged down with all the MMO stuff they wanted to get a game together to introduce their world and themselves.
On that note Torchlight 2 is in development, in fact some of the console ports polish has been taken from that development. Runic games want to move towards an MMO in this same style and that will be something to look forward to. I just hope they keep us console gamers in mind because I will definitely be keeping an eye on them.