Last week Yahtzee pointed out that the term “role playing game” is a bit messed up. I still can’t believe that Dragon Age and Diablo II are both lumped into the same genre. Do not go into Torchlight expecting Knights of the Old Republic or Fallout. This is one of the other RPG games. Like Diablo, this is a game about killing monsters and taking their stuff.
It was just a few weeks ago that I was ranting about games that would mar a fun gameplay experience by throwing in a cringe-inducing or nonsensical story. I’m a bit of a story snob, so if a game expects me to sit through a story then I expect the story to make sense and contain interesting characters. If the game isn’t interested in telling an epic tale, then it should stick to delivering good gameplay and leave the story lightweight and simple.
Torchlight is a great example of this minimalist approach. There is just enough story here to give the player a sense of where they are and why they’re doing the things they’re doing, and beyond that it doesn’t get in your way or force-feed you exposition.
Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found here.