Like many of you, I’ve been gorging a bit on Torchlight, and feel absurdly pleased as to what it accomplishes — it looks great, runs even better, and is a delightful mindless Dialbo-esque experience. Since several of my peers have jawed about this at length, I’m going to leave my review as “great game, can’t go wrong buying it”.
But there is something that bothers me while playing it, and although it might seem petty to bring it up, up it shall come. I knew that Travis Baldree was head of Torchlight’s dev team, a guy who also headed up Mythos and Fate. This being his third action-RPG, it’d be logical to assume that he’s going to stick with what works and not throw everything out the window just because it’s a new game.
However, I didn’t realize before playing Torchlight just how much Baldree and company borrowed from Fate. It doesn’t just use some of Fate’s same concepts, it is Fate. As in, the same exact game from 2005, ported to 2009 and updated with new artwork and new skill trees.
I really thought I was going mad, because the Torchlight experience is, beat for beat, the same that I had back when I paid $20 for Fate. Now, don’t get me wrong — Fate was a great game. A terrific game, even. But I didn’t really want to buy the same exact game twice.
- Randomized dungeon levels
- A pet — dog or cat — that holds an inventory, fights with you, and runs back to town to sell your stuff
- Your pet can be transformed via feeding it fish
- A Fame meter
- The death penalty — you can choose between a hefty penalty to be rezzed on the spot, a lighter penalty to be rezzed at the start of the level, or no penalty to be rezzed in town
- You can retire your character and pass down perks, bonuses and an item to your next character
- Standard Diablo concepts – isometric, socketed items, level up grats you attribute and skill points, fetch/kill quests given by the town you start in
Again, it doesn’t make this a bad game. Just a carbon copy. And that, to me, is disappointing; I was really hoping that Torchlight was going to advance the Fate/Mythos formula, but instead it remains firmly rooted in the past, albeit with enough polish to envy any brass maker.