Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Impressions: Waiting in the Torchlight

Posted by deckard47 on October 26, 2009

The first and most important order of business involves our guy Mal. This video from Castle (not great) of Nathan Fillion (great!) dressed up as Mal breaks my little heart. Shit, he even walks like Mal here. It’s almost cruel.

I don’t know why I write those “Clever” titles up there. It’s the kind of thing a horrible Yale graduate working for the NYT gets paid way too much money to do for a certain kind of article. Oh well.

This weekend belonged to two games, Torchlight and Tropico 3. Tropico 3 because I am really bad at it. I played the same scenario (the first mission of the campaign) for hours, suffering from bankruptcy, political defeat, and other indignities. Finally, I created a stable economy (more focus on cash crops and less on plain old food) and managed to start kicking ass. We’ll see how the next scenario goes. As it goes, here are my thoughts, so far: it is extremely pretty, the music is catchy, and I like the building/gameplay UI and interface. On the other hand, it is offensive in a reductive, Othering way, and as a result all of the voices/writing are kind of racist. I suppose when a game is called Tropico and has a bearded “Generalissimo” on the front you should expect this kind of shit.

Torchlight, on the other hand, I love and adore unabashedly. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. It’s as if Diablo II got very pretty and lush and almost Borderlands-y (with a bit of WoW), got rid of those dour riffing guitars and replaced them with slightly more instrumental stuff (the music is still beautiful though, and done by the guy who did the music for Diablo II, I think), and added in a ton of cool little things that make the whole game a jaunty, familiar, sublime experience.

I mean, you have a cat companion! She can take your items back to town and sell them for you, bringing up the question: how do they communicate with the vendors? Perhaps, as I’ve always suspected, they ask the the Question of the Animal. Which translates to “will you buy these Sabatons?” There, I just saved you all the trouble of reading any fucking Derrida. Win.

You can fish for fish (which turn your cat into spiders, elementals, and more), you can learn, cast, and level up spells, you can dual wield with anybody, and specialize with in any weapon skill with anybody. My Alchemist dual wields a wand and a hammer, my Vanquisher (lvl 20, I think) rocks it with two pistols, and my Destroyer is still getting off the ground. The enemies are all cool-looking and interesting (I think these are the prettiest blobs ever to slime RPG players), and there are a fair number of fun little “puzzles” and secrets. Enchanting and socketing is really fun, as are the awesome mini-dungeons you can buy from vendors. They sell you a map, which when used teleports you to a small 2-level dungeon. You can’t TP out, so you’re stuck there with your potions and items, and you have to get to the end to escape. It makes things much more tense.

Really, it’s Diablo, without some of the more “hardcore,” needlessly gamer-y elements. It isn’t about punishing you for dying (you have three different options when it comes to resurection, and they all make sense), or leveling wrong, or buying the wrong thing. It’s about letting you have fun, and then getting the hell out of your way. And the music really is amazing. Check it out, over at the cool Torchlight site.

Really, I’m completely taken with this game. I played from 9:30am to 5pm yesterday, and built three characters. Most of my time went into my Vanquisher, who is really fun to play. She uses guns and traps, and my cat (named “Battle Cat,” of course) helps out a lot, when I haven’t turned her into an Ent. Playing it is an effortlessly¬† enjoyable experience. It’s like playing the new Prince of Persia. You have so much fun, and you do it in an enthralling world whose goal is to subtly trick you into having even more fun. I can’t imagine Dragon Age or Borderlands will be able to attain this level of easy fun. I think Borderlands will come close, but it’s going to be a bit more intense, a bit more tricksy. I feel like this two-week period is a great time for PC RPG players (honestly, screw the console versions of Dragon Age and Borderlands). We’re being treated to three great Western RPGs, and they’re each quite different from each other. Lucky us.

Still very excited for Borderlands though. These two are going to suck away all of my time. I lead a rough life.

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4 Responses to “Impressions: Waiting in the Torchlight”

  1. So I just spent an hour doing Torchlight research and now, conveniently enough, I am completely psyched up for this game the day before it comes out. All thanks to you. Rock!

    • By the way, is it cool if I quote and link to this post? I think I might write up a little something about Torchlight. Thanks!

      • deckard47 said

        Absolutely, go for it. I’ll be curious to see what you think…
        It really is a lot of fun, I’m going to have to work hard to make myself play Borderlands. Which is not something I ever thought I’d have a problem with.

      • Mostly it’ll be a redundant “hey here’s a game you didn’t know about” with features from the FAQ/About on the site and some thoughts along with the things you’ve said that make it sound twice as awesome. Just the stuff you said about the pets, fishing, and character flexibility psyched me up so I wanna spread that around if I can.

        Roomie picked up Borderlands on PS3. Loads of fun, but I found myself struggling with it during the first few hours, when all you’re really picking up are the same two or three gun types with different numbers. But then I started getting sweet sniper rifles, so!

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