Thrust into a world, colorful and pretty, no idea who I’m playing as, what I’m playing as, or where I am. Yet the world immediately captivated me, already making me feel that special tinge of gaming magic that only a handful of games do over the ages. I didn’t intend to feel this way, as I hadn’t heard of Hob up until this review opportunity and perhaps readers are in the same boat, but everyone who loves adventure games should put on their list to-play list ASAP.
Torchlight has been set aflame from the now Ember-crazed Alchemist after the ending of the first game. The Destroyer and Vanquisher have fled the little town to where new heroes can now take on the new threat set to conquer everything.
Runic Games, Inc. (“Runic Games”), a developer of PC and console game entertainment software in the United States, announced the official launch date of Torchlight II this morning at the kickoff of PAX Prime 2012.
You can’t plagiarize and expect not to get caught, it just doesn’t work this way anymore. You can’t hide on the internet. But somehow, Chinese developer EGLS Ltd. (Electronic Game Labs) thought no one would notice that the assets that appear in this free-to-play game were ripped directly from Torchlight, developed by Runic Games.
Currently this is still available on the Canadian App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/armed-heroes-online-3d-mmorpg/id533790395?mt=8, I spoke to Runic Games’ Community Manger, Brian Ward via Twitter:
A thread started by Serena Zhang at EGLS, Ltd on TouchArcade went on to discuss the differences between their game and Torchlight – which they have been accused of stealing assets from. Travis Baldtree, who has worked on Fate and Torchlight stepped in to point out some of the things EGLS failed to mention or completely sidestepped.
A comparison image provided by Travis shows the artwork is identical, save for some alterations made by the developer to appear different. Also included with Travis’ post is the fact that misspellings existed in the files used that were never fixed. Having unpacked the files for Armed Heroes Online, he found the exact same misspellings.
It’s deplorable that EGLS expected to profit (through microtransactions) in their free-to-play mobile game. It’s sickening that they defend their position that they did not steal assets and then try to turn the tables on Runic for borrowing from other games.
Hopefully EGLS or Apple will do the right thing and remove the game from the App Store and so the game can be redesigned to be re-released. I just hope they don’t steal from a different game next time. #StolenTL
So I got to sit down and play with Wonder Russell (Runic’s Community Manager) and talk with Max Schaefer about the game. The build was the beta version that was available in late May, so nothing new to see but I played a new class and heard musings from Wonder. This time there won’t be an infinite dungeon for the game as there was for Torchlight, in it’s place will be “New Game+” and no limit in using it. Though there is a level cap of 100.
I do have a release date to share with the world on Torchlight II, Wonder stated that it will come out “Orange” – I think she is messing with me.
Happening right now is Runic Games and thousands of players worldwide stress testing the servers for the upcoming summer release of Torchlight II, an action RPG sequel to the PC and Xbox Live Arcade smash, Torchlight. The reason we’re seeing a Network Beta, to aid the developers wrangle any and all issues with the netcode, addressing the complaints of the first game not including any local or online co-op. Runic heard those complaints and made it the primary focus. But what else is new?
Pretty much everything. They threw in everything but the kitchen sink. As mentioned above, the inclusion of multiplayer co-op is now present. You and up to five other people can drop into the world and work together, or go off on your own ventures in the same world. The network in my experience was easy to play on and I didn’t experience any lag. That may not be the case for everyone as people mix and match various internet types, which is the whole purpose of this Network Beta.
The game includes Act I of Torchlight II. I’m not sure how many total acts there are, but Runic Games is generous to allow you to play a large majority of the game to help them test out any networking bugs while you hack n’ slash and claim victory and loot. The overworld was something you never got to experience in Torchlight, and is now present here. You have the Etherian Ruins as a hub for vendors, trainers, etc and as a central waypoint location. From there you can leave through several exits that lead to diverse locations that have rain, snow, and other improved location weather effects.
As before, the game anytime you play it – whether you create a new game or join someone else’s, the worlds are randomly generated. New dungeon types starkly contrast from the previous area. All of which I think improve on the prior game ten-fold. Torchlight II is very promising in exploration and allowing you to experience something new all of the time. It’s highly unlikely you’d see the same path twice. In doing so, you’ll click on a wide variety of enemies that was lacking in the first game, ranging from the game’s enemies to feral animals that just don’t like you.
Torchlight II features an improved graphics engine, dynamic weather, and spectacular particle effects that are vibrant and a spectacle to behold. You’ll see the improved UI that makes it minimal when you don’t need it, but when you are using it, it is easy to understand and follow. Everything you’d expect is laid out before you, allowing you to customize your hotkeys and transfer items from your inventory to your pets and so on.
The most outstanding and wonderful feature of Torchlight was the pet system. You could have a cat, dog, or in retail versions of the game – a ferret to travel with you and defeat monsters. You could outfit them with armor and spells allowing them to heal you or spawn skeletons to aid in battle. What truly made the game, was that you could put your unwanted gear and items into the pet’s inventory and send him to town to sell it for you. Then would return minutes later with gold.
This time, there are more pets to choose from, I chose the Hawk (obviously). The pet system also got an upgrade, as you can send pet to shops with a shopping list for health and mana potions and other basic necessities like identify scrolls. That is, until you learn the Identify Spell. The pet will return with the gold from selling your items and bring you the items you requested.
Torchlight II features the same, great action you’d expect from the Action RPG genre. In the network beta, there was no import feature or anything that rewarded you for playing the first Torchlight, but perhaps that’s a feature that will make it into the final game. The musical score sets the tone wonderfully and gives you a whole Act to explore. The most depressing thing while playing Torchlight II Beta, was realizing that all my hard work and effort is going to be wiped away at the end of this network stress test. My engineer and pet hawk will be no more.