The role-playing game is the cornerstone of PC gaming. Long before shooters or real-time strategy, the earliest PC developers replicated their tabletop RPGs on the PC, building sprawling adventures filled with orcs and wizards and foul dungeons. Those early games slowly built on their tabletop origins, and RPGs eventually became so popular, their elements spread to other genres. Here are our 25 favorites: the RPGs we’d tell anyone to play right now.
It’s another good day to be a PC gamer (isn’t every day, though, really?) with a new set of Steam Summer Sale deals to pad your library for the long hot days of hiding inside ahead. If nothing has caught your eye yet, there’s still another weekend to go, but we’re pretty happy with today’s selection—they’re not all brand new, but between the heartfelt Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and the vast wasteland of Fallout New Vegas, there's a few hundred hours of amazing and diverse gaming at a deep discount.
Two of the co-founders of Runic Games, the studio behind the wizard-bothering Torchlight series, have announced their departure from the company in pursuit of "smaller-scale development". In a post to the Runic forum, Travis Baldree revealed that both he and Eric Schaefer would be stepping down as early as next week. Of course, Runic were originally set up as just such a small-scale studio, but grew after the success of Torchlight and were subsequently acquired by Perfect World. And so, the circle of life continues.
Sometimes, games are a gruelling trial of hardship, strife and the worst excesses of humanity. DayZ, for instance, or trying to get a working match of Battlefield 4. Luckily, games are all about variety. So when you're fed up of being fed up, you can play a game about punching goblins into mince. To help sate that urge, gib-friendly ARPG Torchlight II is currently doing the Free Weekend thing on Steam; tempting you to pay its discounted price by giving a brief taste of the clicking, punching and thwacking it does so well.
While zombies, vampires, and werewolves have had a pop-culture resurgence in the last decade, children of the 1980’s are wondering: “Won't ninja ever make a comeback? If not, that's totally bogus.” See, in the 80’s, ninja were everywhere, in everything, all the time. Clearly, that needs to happen again, and you can help, by playing as a ninja (or six other new classes) in the Far East Pack for Torchlight 2.
Indie hit Torchlight, the action RPG that pushed all of our kill-loot-kill buttons in the decade between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, is now available for free from GOG. The DRM-Free Summer Sale launched early this morning, and it'll run for 17 days and feature over five hundred games on sale.
A small number of Torchlight 2 players have found themselves at the bad end of the DRM stick. While the game's authentication system offers unlimited activations, if it detects "significant" changes to a system, it will ask for that copy to be reactivated. So far, so standard, but a number of posts on Runic's forums are claiming to be unable to complete this process.
Games are meant to be played with friends. From the earliest days of pen and paper RPGs to sidescrolling beat-em-ups in arcades everywhere, the highs of a great game are so much sweeter when you share them with a friend or three. Even better, keeping close to friends and family through co-op gaming has never been easier thanks to the rise of local multiplayer on PC, and drop-in, drop-out online co-op. If you're out for a new co-op adventure, grab your wingman: these are our 15 favorite co-op games we’d tell anyone to play right now.
Yesterday's patch for Torchlight 2 has added a couple of new critters to the pet roster. An angry badger and a noble owl can tag along to help you in combat and sell off unwanted loot in town, which must look more like a zoo than a market by now. Free updates are always appreciated, but fans on the Runic forums do note some suspicious similarities between the new Owl pet and the Hawk. Runic's community manager, Brian W, explained the resemblance with this helpful image.
The patch also makes a few balance changes to class skills, adds a new set of pants and fixes a few bugs. Once loving and gullible minion gels have grown cynical in the face of repeated beatings and now "cannot be charmed." On the plus side, "Legendary wand Earth Dies Screaming can no longer crash the game." Thank goodness for that. Grab the full patch notes on the Torchlight 2 forums.
In a wide-ranging interview with Indie Game Magazine Radio, designer Max Schaefer described his hopes for the future of Torchlight 2, saying that he'd like to introduce a greater sense of permanence to the game through player-created structures.
"What I’d like to see personally is to get the building and resource aspects of Minecraft and put them into an ARPG," he said, "just so it’s a little more than just wandering from one monster to the next and hitting them."
I say, dear chaps and dames! Have you found yourself perplexed by the intricacies of delivering steampunk justice to the curs and filth of the monster hordes in Torchlight 2? Well, as luck would have it, you need look no further than this build guide to increase your brigand demolition quotient by fourfold! Have at it!
Tossing around the chaotic energies of the universe can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Alright, alright—it's still really dangerous even when you do know what you're doing. But with the help of this guide, you can make it more dangerous for your enemies than it is for yourself and your friends. And that's really what matters in the end, isn't it?
Like hot chocolate and marshmallows, our Embermage guide is best-used in conjunction with our Torchlight 2 Class Guide, which will be updated with new builds as we hatch them.
For the sake of this demonstration, I am an Embermage: you are a Varkolyn whelpling, an unarmed and mostly undressed little bat-person sitting up a tree. You've been sitting up that tree for a long time, waiting with your many brothers and sisters for someone to wander past. Suddenly, a stranger approaches! You leap down, snarl, prance about, and are almost immediately annihilated by five blind-fired bolts of magic that leap from my outstretched hands.
Let's assume that, in those final moments, time slows to a tiny fraction of its regular speed. This is what you see: half a dozen of your siblings, stumbling into a purple patch of energy that slows them to a crawl. Six columns of flame bursting from the Embermage. A rain of firebolts. A storm contained in a vortex of wind that turns your nearby cousins to ash. Sometimes, when a whelpling dies, they explode into icy bolts that freeze nearby friends. Sometimes, the Embermage gets all its health back for no apparent reason. Sometimes, the ground shakes and a meteor falls from the sky, as if to drive the point home.
Torchlight 2 was released yesterday. But before you sentence thousands of monsters to death by mouse click, and smash enough urns to embarrass a bull in a china breaking tournament, there's the small matter of which class to select: Embermage, Beserker, Engineer or Outlander. Each offer their own flavour of play and, more importantly, a unique selection of explosive particle effects. To help you make the right choice, here's our guide to each of the four characters. How do they work? What tactics can they use? Which of their early powers unleash the most carnage? Read on to find out.
Torchlight 2 is out! If you're uncertain as to whether you ought to splash $20 on Runic's charming new action RPG, you can download a demo now from the Torchlight 2 site.
But why is Torchlight 2 so much cheaper than your typical new release? Runic took to Reddit to explain their reasoning behind the pricing in a recent AMA session. Here's Blizzard North founder and Runic co-founder Max Schaefer's view:
"We sell for $20 because we want a bigger community, and for people all over the world to enjoy our game. Not everyone has $60 lying around. Plus, digital distribution, like on Steam, makes this more economically viable for a company like us. We couldn't make money selling $20 boxes only, but we'll do fine with this price because of the trend towards digital distribution.
When I play RPGs, I create one character and I stick with them. I share an office with people who do things differently: whose first dozen hours with a new game are spent cycling through possibilities, repeating opening areas until something clicks or the game dies of inertia. I commit to my characters because what I enjoy about RPGs is advancement, exploration, and momentum. I'd rather make a decision quickly and see where it takes me than agonise over the choice on offer, which is both why I'm capable of buying trousers very quickly and also why I should never do jury duty.
I've just finished playing the opening two hours of Torchlight 2 for the fourth time in a row. I've levelled each of the game's classes to the point where I feel I know what their deal is. I've killed the same three bosses in a variety of positions, swapped loot around using the shared stash and created a new set of angles from which to take on the rest of the game. I've put off commitment by around eight hours.
"The official Release Date for Torchlight II is Thursday, September 20th, 2012" writes studio head Travis Baldree on the Runic forums, kindling a flame of hope in the souls of disgruntled Diablo 3 players.
"Will it let me hit monsters ... offline?" they ask, cautiously. Why yes it will. "Will there be mods?" Yup, seems likely. "Will item drops be meaningful, giving me powerful new toys to play with regularly?" Well, I can only hope, but the videos Tom took when he spent some time with Torchlight 2 looked very promising. Each class has access to some delightfully destructive abilities, and that signature sense of impact from Torchlight 1 has translated into the sequel's big, outdoor zones nicely as you can see for yourself in our Torchlight 2 class guide videos below.
Torchlight 2's devs have released an infographic detailing just how much more of, well, just about everything there is in the upcoming ARPG than its predecessor. From double the number of player skills to over six times the number of unique areas, it looks set to keep our already carpal-tunnel-ridden mouse fingers in pain for a very long time. Check out the full number crunch inside.
Torchlight II still lacks a firm release date, but Runic president Travis Baldree tells Joystiq that it's still on for this summer. "The end of summer is September 25th or something like that, right?" said Baldree. "We're still trying to get it done for summer. It's a big game and we've still got some polish to go."