Posted On: 3/4/2011  Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

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Rejoice Diablo fans because Runic Games has brought that style of game to Xbox Live Arcade with their largely popular PC title, Torchlight. The game is am action RPG where you値l find yourself hacking and slashing through many different dungeons meeting up with a variety of characters along the way. From the moment I started playing the game I knew I was in for a treat. Torchlight is downright fun and a pleasure to play.

Torchlight is the name of the town you find yourself in the beginning of the game. It seems the town is under attack from some sort of evil and it値l be up to you to put an end to the evil. There are quests, merchants and more found in the town and scattered throughout the dungeons. Looting is always one of the top priorities a good dungeon crawler needs and there is no doubt that it痴 a definite highlight in this game. Rare magical items are dropped randomly as you take out your opponents. You値l find gold, scrolls, weapons and armor.

The graphics are very well done and the little background action you will see definitely sets the tone of the dungeons. At times there are some slowdown areas, especially when there are a lot of enemies on the screen using magical abilities. It tends to hiccup a little and stutter with lots of magical explosions. I love the cartoon style and feel of the game and it reminded me a lot of the old Baldur痴 Gate series from back in the day.

The sounds and voice work are not super fantastic, but they definitely get the job done. The musical score playing in the background loops and at times it will not blend perfectly from one portion to another. But honestly it痴 not a huge issue. You値l hear environmental ambience throughout such as creatures roaming, bats flying and more. I think the sound goes hand in hand with the visuals and creates a perfect balance for the hack and slashing ahead.
So you値l begin the game by creating a character. You can choose from 3 different classes each having their own special attributes and abilities. You値l definitely play the game differently with each class. The classes you can choose from are: Destroyer, Alchemist, and Vanquisher. Along with the character you choose, you値l also get to choose a pet companion who will help you throughout your travels as well as act as an extra storage unit. Your pet can carry items back to town to be sold at any point by using a pet command in the inventory/submenu screen. The pets you can choose from are a wolf/dog, a bobcat/cat, and a troll pet can be pretty nasty towards your foes.

You have a few different difficulties to choose from including a Hardcore mode. I played the game on Normal difficulty and it seemed pretty easy to run through without dying very often. Once you have started your game and created your character you will then be dropped into the town of Torchlight. There are quests to be had initially before heading into the depths of the mines below. Your character starts with a basic weapon, but no worries because you値l find new ones soon enough with a few kills.

So as I stated earlier, Torchlight is an action RPG. I like referring to it as a hack and slash. On the main screen you値l see a minimap, your health meter which is represented by the red circle in the upper left, your mana represented by the blue circle in the upper right, your pet痴 health and mana meter, and then your leveling progress bar along with your button assigned actions. The game is straight forward in game play; just start running through the dungeon and killing everything that moves. As they drop items you値l be prompted to pick them up with the 鄭 button and store them in your inventory. Gold you can pick up automatically by running over the gold piles. As I stated earlier, there are rare items which will be represented by colored names and at times you値l pick up unidentified weapons. To reveal the stats on a these weapons will require the use of an Identify Scroll. You値l get the option to identify the item if you have any Identify Scrolls in your inventory.
So let痴 dive into the inventory/submenu system for a bit. When pushing the back button you値l bring up a tabbed menu system with the following options: Inventory, Stats, Skills, and Quests. The Quests tab is pretty self explanatory and you値l find all the info you need pertaining to your accepted quests including what your reward is. The Stats tab is where you値l assign points to the following categories: Strength, Dexterity, Magic and Defense. You値l also be able to see your magic resistance levels, your player stats and level/fame, and then your journal which houses everything you have accomplished. The Skills tab allows you to assign earned skill points to better your character痴 abilities and fighting styles. Here you can create skill sets for your character too by assigning skills to certain buttons. You値l notice that you値l have to be a certain level to access certain skills.

In my opinion, the most important item in the menu is the Inventory. Here you値l be able to check out everything you have picked up along the way. Your equipped items will be highlighted with a gold color background. The name of each item is listed with its Damage Points and Effects if applicable. Magical items are identified by colored text where normal items will have gray text. As I mentioned certain items will need to be Identified and these items you find in red with question marks for their attributes. When highlighting one of these items you値l see the identify option and if you have any scrolls you値l see a number in paranthesis indicating how many scrolls you have. Be sure to check your inventory often to upgrade to new weapons you have found as well as new armor.

Your inventory houses the following item categories: Weapons, Armor, Jewelry, Miscellaneous, Socketables, and Fish. I just want to touch on the 擢ish category real quick. Throughout the game you値l find fishing holes which allow you to perform a fishing ability. To catch a fish just sit and wait for the 2 circles on the screen to come together and then turn red. At the moment the circle turns red you have to push the 鄭 button and voila. These fish will allow you to perform certain things such as transforming into trolls or magical beings for brief periods. There are also permanent transformations as well so be sure to read the description before using. You can also feed these items to your dog by pressing the 店 button which swaps the item to the pet. Using the 店 button will swap any item you want to your pet. As I mentioned earlier this is how you can use your pet as an extra storage unit. Once his inventory is full you can then send him off to town to sell the items. He値l return once he is done.
The Torchlight storyline adds some purpose to the dungeon crawling and looting. At anytime you can use Waygate or Town Scrolls to head back to town to complete quests or pick up new ones. You値l also be able to purchase items from Merchants once you have collected some gold. Merchants are found in town but they are also scattered throughout the dungeons in random areas.

Torchlight is not groundbreaking in gameplay or presentation. What it does do well is transfer from the PC version to the Xbox 360 very well. The controls are simple and the menus are easy to navigate throughout the entire game. The game is practically limitless with plenty of DLC support which I hope to definitely see in the future. The game also gives you many hours of gameplay and exploration and each time you find one of those random rare item drops gives you the same tickle in your tummy as any other game. I will say that Torchlight is one of the best dungeon crawler games to come to the Xbox 360 in a long time perhaps the best ever. If you are a fan of the Diablo series then this is almost a no brainer must buy. You definitely won稚 be wasting your money. You値l have Leaderboards and achievements of course to compare against your friends. The only downside to the game is lack of multiplayer. Co-op would have been very welcome in this game and hopefully it comes in the form of an update down the road. But its still a solid single player experience and one that値l have you playing for quite a while. Check out Torchlight which is released on XBLA Wednesday March 9th. Happy dungeon crawling!
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