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Torchlight PC Review

23/05/2010 Thinking Considered Gamer Review
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Torchlight PC




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Torchlight PC doesn't try to be deep or complicated. The dark foreboding mine was unnerving but never really got under my skin. Although shallow, in small doses it was an immensely entertaining game.

Torchlight starts out in an extremely appealing yet simplistic manner. I had the choice of three different character classes and decided to go with the Destroyer, assuming he'd be the simplest character to learn. I was right; usually a right click did everything I needed to achieve. Choosing a dog or cat as a pet that could fight alongside me was a nice touch too. I immediately personalised my feline friend with the name of my real life cat. It created a nice bond with my character.

I loved Torchlight's artistic style. I was expecting something dark and depressing but this wasn't the case. Visually it might look dank but on closer inspection it's actually quite charming. Even the monsters look cartoonish. I enjoyed the game a lot more because of this, it was light hearted and a welcome break from more depressing titles.

That's not to say that Torchlight isn't violent. It offers plenty of that too, and with gusto. The kind that I'm used to seeing in forgettable action films.

From what I could gather from the meager story, my role was to vanquish all the monsters below the town that I would return to after every quest. There were plenty of monsters to kill but my motivation wasn't of the conventional sort. The entire game focused on providing me with instant gratification with new items and reasons to keep playing. That's what made it so much fun. I could play it for only 10-15 minute bursts and I'd still achieve something.

It was a terribly selfish thing really but I enjoyed it immensely.

With many different floors of the mines to explore, there was plenty to do. Although there didn't seem to be much variation to the layout or appearance of the areas, it was satisfying to get that bit deeper and further into the massive dungeon. It was fun to watch my character level up and gain more and more powerful weaponry.

I was a little disappointed to find that I never really felt as unnerved as I would if this was a real mine. I think I never really felt threatened. It wasn't until I set the game's difficulty to Hardcore, where my character could be permanently killed, did I find any great risk. Torchlight is more about mindless hacking than anything deeper I think.

Rather than emotional attachment, all I really cared about here was my character and items. The storyline never led me to feel anything more for them as they were just 2-dimensional catalysts to spur me on. It was a terribly selfish thing really but I enjoyed it immensely.

None of the other characters in the game really offer much more than a few lines of basic dialogue. The character development appeared through the physical progress of my character's abilities rather than anything more emotional. I created a bond with my character and my faithful cat, Harry, urging them on to success. It was good to have a companion in these dangerous mines.

I could play it for only 10-15 minute bursts and I'd still achieve something.

Torchlight didn't impress itself upon my mind but I don't think it was meant to. With no real world connections or character development it focuses simply on the instant thrill of success. I enjoyed it for what it was: shallow fun. It's not a game that I'd find myself playing for long sessions, it'd get too boring. In short bursts though it was really satisfying to the competitive side of my personality.

Written by Jen Rawles

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Jen Rawles writes the Considered Gamer column.

"For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by games that can provoke an emotional reaction. I enjoy a game that can tell me a strong, emotive story even if sometimes the game mechanics behind it are weak."

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