So a while back I wrote about my disillusionment with action-rpgs. Well, lately I had another go at Torchlight and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is, frankly, a bit confusing.

At its heart its exactly the same thing as Titan Quest or Diablo 2. Hours of dashing around click click clicking firing off the same 2 or 3 abilities to kill waves of mooks. Gathering loot, occasionally picking out a pair of gauntlets 5% better than your current ones, and selling the rest. Occasionally making decisions on a talent tree. Repeat. Click click click.

So what’s this one doing better? Some thoughts:

1: It looks good. While the graphics aren’t particularly cutting edge, the aesthetics are appealing. It’s colourful and all just a little cartoony, almost as if Blizzard had done Diablo in a Warcraft style.
2: a few quality of life tweaks to the formula – like, every character has a pet that, apart from helping in fights, can also be loaded up with vendor trash (unwanted gear) and sent back to the town to flog it. This saves you the hassle of going yourself.
3: It’s relatively short. I don’t have numbers to hand to prove this, but I’ll eat my hat if it’s more than half the size of the other big names in the genre. Which is good, because a couple of hours a day for a week was quite enough. Once you’ve beaten the main quest there seems to be an extra dungeon for those who feel they want more. And of course you can just start again with a new hero.

So, a pretty solid 4/5. I still can’t be bothered to play (and write about) Diablo2 again, sorry. Also not in a rush to play Diablo 3. Although I might be tempted by Torchlight 2, which was pretty clearly timed to compete with Blizzard’s behemoth.