Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good times for budget gaming

I had a short look at Torchlight yesterday, and it was a pleasant surprise. I could get it via Steam the day it came out (initial plans had been a Steam release 30 days later), and for once as a European I didn't have to overpay much: 15 Euro, which today is equivalent to $22.50, and thus not all that far from the $20 the US players pay. Torchlight is very much cloning the gameplay of Diablo 1:1, with a village and quest givers upstairs, and a random dungeon downstairs. Graphics are modern, and cartoonish, which I personally like very much. The big advantage of cartoonish graphics is that they run better than any attempts of photorealistic even on low spec machines, and they age a lot better too. Torchlight has system specs so low, it actually has a button for netbook settings in the graphical options.

Lots of other games have tried to clone Diablo, but none has come so close to the fun of the original than Torchlight. And they added some new features, like you having a pet which fights, helps to carry your inventory, and can even be sent to sell your loot and come back with the cash. There are three classes, with three talent trees each. And Runic plans to expand Torchlight into a Free2Play MMO in 18 months, although I'm not sure if that is just a fancy way of announcing the equivalent of Not bad for a budget game for 20 bucks.

If you can't even afford that, I'd recommend you to check out Dragon Age Journeys, a free browser RPG EA set up to promote Dragon Age Origins. For a Flash game it is surprisingly well done, nice combat system, and giving player a glimpse into the world of Dragon Age Origins. Which happens to be all I got right now, because after EA first asking me where to send a review copy and could I please write a review of Dragon Age Origins before release on November 3rd, the word now is "we should be getting word on review copies shortly. I’ll let you know asap when I hear if I’m able to reserve a copy for your site and when I anticipate it will be shipped." Dear EA, I'm happy to hear you haven't totally given up on me yet, but if you haven't even shipped your review copies on October 29th, you won't get your reviews before launch.

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