Players will choose from among three character classes, and venture from the safety of the town of Torchlight into randomly generated dungeon levels, with a huge variety of creepy monsters, endless variations of loot to find, and quests to complete. Randomized levels and an ‘endless dungeon’ unlocked after completing the main game ensure a long-lived gameplay experience.
What We Think:
Runic Games has done it again. Literally. In a stroke of genius, the hit title Torchlight has come to us on Xbox Live Arcade, making this winning game available to all the children of the earth (those who have Microsoft points to spend that is). Its release on Arcade is a brilliant move by Runic. The game harnesses the destructive power of addictiveness rivaled only by its granddaddy, Diablo. Making a highly accessible game only more accessible will once again guarantee a sleeper hit in this new format.
As for the game itself, not much has changed and why should it? Why dig somewhere else when you’ve hit a gold vein? The only thing that is different from its PC incarnation is the use of an Xbox controller, meaning players won’t lay awake at night staring at their ceiling with blood shot eyes and the endless, haunting sound of a million mouse clicks ringing in their ears.
But there is something that hangs around Torchlight’s neck like a dead albatross: no multi-player. It’s like that damn stain on your shirt you thought you got out but it keeps coming back. It’s release on Xbox promises a whole new round of people asking, “why the hell can’t I play with friends on this?”
I have a theory that the minds of at Runic had no idea Torchlight was going to catch fire the way it did. In the movie industry, film companies are sometimes guilty of deliberately making a crap film so they can raise the capital to put out a good film (ie: make SaW XXXVII, wait for brainless hordes to go see it, make tons of money after bad reviews, use said money to make The King’s Speech).
I can’t say Runic is guilty of making Torchlight a throw-away game, it’s clear from its quality that it’s top notch. But a lack of preparation for the game’s success is the only reason I can figure, as to why the game didn’t have a multi-player feature.
With Torchlight 2 set to come out, Runic has wisely answered the call of the fans and made it multi-player. In fact their advertisement for the upcoming release throws this declaration at the screen like an action movie, making damn sure that everyone knows this Torchlight is going to take what worked in the first one and add what was missing in the second.
Hopefully lightning can strike twice for this classy upstart of a gaming company (heavens know they have shown they got the tools and the talent). But will the fans show up? On the forums for the sequel, one disgruntled fan wrote, “AWESOME! MULTI-PLAYER! HELL YEAH, GREAT NEW FEATURE! Oh wait, it’s not 1996 anymore :P”.
Yes, it’s true that Torchlight will forever have to suffer under the criticism of its multi-player deficiency, the way a celebrity might have to relive naughty picture that were leaked to media, over and over. But trust me when I say this: do not let that be your excuse for not trying this title.
Torchlight is a hit and it has turned heads for a very good reason(s). Now it’s on Xbox Live. Which means YOU gentle reader, have no reason for not owning it.