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Torchlight: E3 Demo

Posted Thu, Jun 11, 2009 by Garrett Fuller

This year at E3 we got a chance to check out the Action RPG Torchlight which is being created by Runic Games. The story of Runic Games is important as it all began way back in the old Blizzard North days. Blizzard North was the team responsible for the Diablo games way back and has since folded into Blizzard’s main studio in California. Parts of the team broke up and formed Flagship Studios which was working on several games, one of which was the game Mythos. Mythos made it to beta but was never released openly; it currently lies in the hands of developer HanbitSoft. More importantly Runic games remains growing and is working hard on Torchlight which captures the charm of the Diablo style as well as bring some new elements of game play to fans of the genre. If that is not enough, after the single player game is launched, the company plans to launch an MMO later on set in the same game world.


The town of Torchlight is where players start their journey.  Players will use this as their home base to travel around and adventure in the dungeons and areas. Torchlight is a place where players gather their resources to make magic weapons and armor for their quests. This starting point gives players a chance to stay focused throughout the game as they use the town as a base camp.

One of the classes we got to see in action was the Destroyer! What a great name for a tank class! The Destroyer is the melee specialist who barges through dungeons cutting down everything in his path. The class is set for players who enjoy standing and swinging as opposed to casting or shooting. We watched the Destroyer start out in a dungeon and bash through foes. With powerful and stylized weapons and armor to go with his attitude, the Destroyer makes a great class for you tank fans out there.

The next class we got a look at was the Alchemist. The Alchemist is a casting class who uses all sorts of inventions and potions to blast foes from afar. A slight twist to the cast classes the Alchemist can give players a number of skills in their arsenal to make questing more of a fire works show. While the Destroyer battles it out with foes, the Alchemist usually kites foes into the best spots to unleash his full fury on them with blasts of magic to get the job done.


Another feature in Torchlight that is interesting is the constant presence of a pet. Players can get pets in the game to help them out on adventures. The pet will fight, carry gear for you, and even work in helping you get some of your journeys completed. The pet we saw with both classes was a wolf that carried some loot bags to give players extra space. No matter the class you choose to play, you will have a pet to help you out.

The game play of Torchlight definitely follows the Diablo style which its team had originated. It offers a third person over the top view and allows players to adjust the screen as needed. The art style is a little more cartoony than the gritty Diablo styles and was described during the demo as “The Incredibles.” This style keeps a fun approach to the game and is similar to Mythos. But don’t let the graphics full you, the game play is fast paced and brutal just like the Diablo series.

Overall we were impressed with Torchlight and Runic games added in that when they launch the game they will also be delivering the engine they used to build it. So players can go in and generate their own dungeons and adventures for their friends to try out. This is a trend I think we will see with more games in the future as player created content becomes more popular. The other portion that we spoke about with Runic Games is the eventual MMO that will take place in Torchlight. There is no connection to the single player game and the MMO yet, but the company continues to work on polishing the single player game and designing the MMO. Hopefully we will see some connection between the two in the future when the MMO is released. For now Torchlight offers players a fun action RPG that fans can relate too. We look forward to its release. 
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