After a recent unfortunate experience playing Dungeon Siege III, I went in search of an action role-playing game that would satisfy the kid in me who loved the time spent in games like Diablo.
I didn't have to search long, because as soon as I came across Torchlight, I knew I had found it.
The core of the game is simple: You're tasked with cleaning an evil force from the mine on which your hometown sits. You progress downward, level by level, until you've defeated the last dark force.
There are three main classes from which to choose: warrior, mage or ranger. You are aided by a pet, which initially starts as a dog or cat but can be transformed throughout the game into a variety of animals. This pet also has the ability to travel back to town to sell unwanted loot, saving plenty of unnecessary trips to dump useless items.
I had to play Torchlight for only a few minutes before it became clear that for better or worse, this is very much a Diablo clone. I find it to be much better. The development team put a lot of effort into balancing the age-old action RPG recipe. The interface is clean and simple, the quests are straightforward and enjoyable, the monsters are varied and at times difficult, and the spells and leveling up of characters is extremely rewarding.
Torchlight's negatives come simply because of the nature of any action RPG really, because it becomes a bit boring near the end. It's easy to level up your character in such a way to become insanely powerful and unstoppable. Once this happens and any threat of death is removed, a lot of the excitement leaves. It happens most with mages, whose spells become so powerful that weapons and armor stop meaning anything.
If you haven't played a good, solid, fundamentally awesome action RPG in a while, you should check out Torchlight. The developers are hard at work on the sequel, and let's hope the wait isn't long.