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Combine the spirit of Diablo 1 and the best things (runes, change of weapons, etc) of Diablo 2, add 3D graphics, the musician of Diablo 1, experiment team of Mythos, and two Key people of Blizzard North, the result Torchlight, incredible, addictive and cool game.
Torchlight isn't so much a successor to Diablo as it is a successor to Fate, and many of Torchlight's core elements can be seen as being a natural evolutionary progression of those seen in Fate, like the pet.
That being said, Torchlight made feel the same way about the Diablo/lone player ARPG genre that Dungeon Siege did with CRPGs- that a game had come along taking many of theread more little jagged and niggling rough points of its genre, ironing and smoothing them out. You now had a useful and credible companion with you in the dungeon who was more than just cannon fodder. Magical item modification and gem management were no longer awkward and clunky. Character classes had truly interesting abilities and skill progression even allowed for intriguing combinations of classes and abilities.
Torchlight is a very streamlined and very thoroughly-perfected ARPG. Yet, for all of its strong points, and for its excellent aesthetic, good sound design and nice soundtrack, it still is an ARPG. For fans of the genre, it's arguably one of the most important games to come out since Diablo II, and it's a total must-have. For people turned off by the genre's repetitiveness and complete lack of any narrative beyond "KILL KILL KILL", it won't be making any converts. Still, for what it is, there's no disputing that Torchlight is an excellent game.
I first got torchlight on a Steam sale a few summers back, thinking that it would be something i played for 2 hours and would be done with. Boy was i wrong. This game was the first game in the ARPG top-down style that i played and i instantly fell in love with it. It has a good length campaign and afterwards an 'infinite dungeon' that you can traverse in order to level up and keepread more on the search for loot. Also the game is massively moddable and they improve upon the already excellent experience. Absolutely fantastic game.
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