If you've heard of Mythos or Fate, two games from recent years, you may know about Torchlight, developed by Runic. Tucked away in a quite booth in the West Hall of E3, I found this game that I had heard about before, but very little about.
Torchlight is a top-down hack-n-slash RPG, similar to Diablo. Developed as a single-player adventure, it has you pick one of three classes to go into a dungeon and fight wave after wave of enemies. You get more equipment, more levels, and take on more enemies as you go deeper. It's not a complicated formula, but Torchlight makes it fun in more ways than one.
You begin the game with a pet, either a cat or dog. It has its own stats, and levels up along with you, increasing in strength as it fights your enemies. Similar to Fate, it will also be able to stock up on items and return to town to sell them, returning with many cash monies. It can also change into different creatures by feeding it fish, making it faster, stronger, and so forth.
In addition to the standard skill trees for each class (they each have their unique skills, around 10, and share a few between the three of them), you also have special passive abilities called perks. These are special, and are purchased using something called fame, which is gained from killing champion-style monsters. This means managing not only skill points earned through levelling, but also these fame points that allow you to gain passive skills that increase your abilities.
There are about 40 levels of dungeon to go through, with near 20 hours of gameplay promised per character. Each dungeon is randomly generated from large set pieces, meaning that while the dungeon won't repeat itself, neither will it be a random mishmash of walls and pots. The developers have also stated that there's a good chance you'll be able to 'retire' your character, imparting abilities or items to a new character in some way or form, though the details aren't hammered out just yet.
What really impressed me were the graphics. Sharp and colorful, the presentation of the game really delivers instead of being a dark/gritty/dull slash-em-up.The world is vibrant, even underground, and the design stylized; the developer I spoke with described it as "Dragon's Lair meets the Incredibles", and the description is apt.
Torchlight should be coming out this Fall. Runic is pursuing a number of avenues of distribution including downloads and shelf copies, and a price point of around twenty to thirty bucks.