Hypable game review: ‘Torchlight 2’

9:45 am EDT, September 28, 2012

Torchlight 2 is a hack-and-slash action RPG from Runic Games, a sequel to their impressive 2009 effort, Torchlight. What did we think of it?

Whenever I’ve told friends I was playing Torchlight 2 I usually got the response “what’s that?” and I always replied with “it’s like Diablo but cheaper and better.” Admittedly, my knowledge of Diablo is largely second-hand, but as far as I can make out, Diablo III has no offline option, has a real money auction house and doesn’t have pets. Torchlight 2 in comparison has an offline single player option, no way to pay for power, and about a dozen different pets to choose from. On top of that, there is some appearance-based character customisation, full modding support (via Steam workshop) and I picked it up for less than £15/$20 on Steam, with the original Torchlight thrown in for free. By contrast, if I bought Diablo 3 off Amazon now, four months after its release, I’d be looking at paying over £30 /$55.

Torchlight 2 pets

Let’s move on from the inevitable Diablo comparisons. What works in Torchlight 2? What doesn’t? And, most importantly, is it fun?

The four classes are the Outlander, the Embermage, the Berserker and the Engineer. Each has their own skill tree with three different types of abilities to put points into. For the Embermage, the categories were Inferno, Frost and Storm magic. Inferno was mostly about straight-up fire damage, frost more about control, and storm about applying random conditions whilst throwing lightning around. There’s no real need to only invest in one of the three categories, but each one seems to lend itself to different playstyles. I enjoyed the chaotic nature of storm magic, so spent all of my points on it, just to see if it was a viable way of playing. Skills came in two types, active and passive. Active skills included lightning storms, short range lightning bolts that could stun, and an area-of-effect spell that caused enemies to release healing bolts for me and my allies when they were killed. The Embermage’s three passive skills are: additional damage when enemies become shocked, the chance for enemies to be teleported away when attacking at close range, and the ability to apply random bizarre effects to enemies when using a wand.

Every class can wield every weapon, but each classes’ passives tend to only apply when using certain weapon types.

Each time a new level is reached, points can be used to improve and unlock skills and be put in a mostly standard RPG attribute system of strength, dexterity, focus and vitality – nothing new here.

Another important Torchlight 2 mechanic is the charge bar, a bar that gradually fills during combat and grants bonuses as and when it fills. This can easily turn the tide of a battle – for example, Embermages get fifteen seconds of ‘concentration’ when the charge bar is full, enabling them to cast spells without using up mana, whilst giving an extra damage boost.

Returning from Torchlight 1 is the spell system. Spells drop randomly from mobs and from within chests, and can be learnt by any class. They range from fireballs to armor boosts to heals. Four can be equipped at any one time.

The final and arguably most important gameplay mechanic is your character’s trusty pet. Pets generally have more health than you, so they can soak up damage while you’re busy dishing out spells. They can also learn spells themselves – I found it useful to teach my pet any active spells I found, so I could concentrate on casting my class abilities. Feeding pets fish temporarily transforms them into different creatures, giving them access to new skills and stats. Finally, pets act as a second inventory, like in Torchlight 1. You can send them back to town to sell your stuff, but this time around, you can also give them a shopping list of potions and scrolls to buy too.

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The upcoming 25th anniversary edition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast includes a couple of first looks at next year’s live-action adaptation.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a quarter of a century since the animated Beauty and the Beast hit movie theaters. To celebrate the occasion Disney is putting out an anniversary edition, and its special features section includes a treat: Our first look at Cogsworth and Lumière in the live-action installment, as well as a glimpse of a scene within Gaston’s tavern.

As confirmed by producer Jack Morrissey on Facebook, this photo of Cogsworth (played by Ian McKellen) and Lumière (Ewan McGregor) is concept art, but it gives us a sense of the style that director Bill Condon is shooting for:

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The upcoming 25th anniversary edition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast includes a couple of first looks at next year’s live-action adaptation.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a quarter of a century since the animated Beauty and the Beast hit movie theaters. To celebrate the occasion Disney is putting out an anniversary edition, and its special features section includes a treat: Our first look at Cogsworth and Lumière in the live-action installment, as well as a glimpse of a scene within Gaston’s tavern.

As confirmed by producer Jack Morrissey on Facebook, this photo of Cogsworth (played by Ian McKellen) and Lumière (Ewan McGregor) is concept art, but it gives us a sense of the style that director Bill Condon is shooting for:

cogsworth-lumiere-live-action-beauty-and-the-beast

While it’s nice to finally see a glimpse of a couple of the characters, a big question remains unanswered: How will these objects look once they have faces on them? (Cogsworth’s face might be hinted at in the center of the clock.)

Also on the Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition is a shot from the the “Gaston” musical number. From left to right we see Alexis Loizon as Stanley, Josh Gad as LeFou (just over Gaston’s shoulder), and Luke Evans (with his back to the camera) as Gaston.

live-action-beauty-and-the-beast-gaston

Update: And here’s another look at the movie, courtesy of this person on Twitter — this time we get to see Dan Stevens as human Beast!

human-beast-dan-stevens

We’ll be curious to get our hands on the anniversary edition in September, because we expect we’ll see more from the new movie than the two stills above.

Disney released the first trailer for the live-action Beauty and the Beast in May. It was very much a teaser trailer, as it didn’t provide any looks at the characters — except Belle (Emma Watson), appearing through the glass casing protecting the film’s iconic rose.

In fact, the trailer’s first looks at the various settings (Namely the Beast’s castle) fell in line with the visual style we see in the above concept art.

Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens hit theaters March 17, 2017.

Apple — always one to push the boundaries by simplifying their products as much as possible — is reportedly looking to remove the all-important Home button in next year’s new iPhone.

Apple loves making their products as simple as possible. The iPod was a success because of how clean it looked compared to other MP3 players. With Apple TV, Steve Jobs bragged about how few buttons the device’s remote had.

But since 2007, every new iPhone has had the same number of physical buttons, switches, and ports: A ringer switch, a lock button, volume up/down buttons, a USB port, and a headphone jack.

Read full article

Apple — always one to push the boundaries by simplifying their products as much as possible — is reportedly looking to remove the all-important Home button in next year’s new iPhone.

Apple loves making their products as simple as possible. The iPod was a success because of how clean it looked compared to other MP3 players. With Apple TV, Steve Jobs bragged about how few buttons the device’s remote had.

But since 2007, every new iPhone has had the same number of physical buttons, switches, and ports: A ringer switch, a lock button, volume up/down buttons, a USB port, and a headphone jack.

That changes next month, when Apple is expected to announce that the iPhone 7 will be lacking a headphone jack. Instead, users will be listening to music via the Lightning port (which you currently use to charge and sync your iPhone).

And for 2017, Apple will reportedly go one step further by removing the Home button.

Ah, the Home button. It’s always been there for us — it’s our captain for navigating the iPhone. We use it to switch between apps, we use it to get to our Home screen, we use it to summon Siri, and we use it to read our finger print. Back in the “old days,” we used it to force quit apps when they froze on us.

In a new report, Bloomberg says Apple is planning to remove the Home button for the 2017 iPhone, which will presumably be called iPhone 7s. It’s billed as a “major redesign of the iPhone for 2017 that focuses more heavily on the display.”

Previous rumor mill reports have suggested that Apple will ditch the Home button in order to decrease the size of the top top and bottom bezels, thereby making the phone not as tall, or using the freed up space to add more screen.

Here’s a mock up of what that could look like, via TapSmart:

borderlessmockup1

What remains unclear is how users will be able to unlock and navigate their iPhone without the Home button. Reports have suggested that the whole screen will serve as a TouchID surface and a Home button (using the 3D Touch feature Apple launched last year).

Interestingly, next month’s release of iOS 10 will introduce a new way to unlock your iPhone: You’ll have to press down on the Home button to activate an unlocking. Previously, all you had to do was rest your finger on the Home button while your lock screen was awake.

Disney is making another live-action movie, and this time it’s James and the Giant Peach, to be developed by Director Sam Mendes.

To refresh your memory, James and the Giant Peach is the terrifying delightful children’s movie directed by Henry Selick and based off of the Roald Dahl story. It features nightmare-inducing adorable stop-motion animated bugs that helped James float away from his mean aunts in a — you guessed it — giant peach.

The original film was an interesting mix of live-action characters in the beginning and at the end, with stop-motion animated sequences throughout the middle.

Read full article

Disney is making another live-action movie, and this time it’s James and the Giant Peach, to be developed by Director Sam Mendes.

To refresh your memory, James and the Giant Peach is the terrifying delightful children’s movie directed by Henry Selick and based off of the Roald Dahl story. It features nightmare-inducing adorable stop-motion animated bugs that helped James float away from his mean aunts in a — you guessed it — giant peach.

The original film was an interesting mix of live-action characters in the beginning and at the end, with stop-motion animated sequences throughout the middle.

Now, according to Deadline, Disney is developing an all-live-action remake of the film. Nick Hornby will write the script, while Joe Roth is in negotiations to sign on as a producer.

If Mendes’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he directed the last two James Bond features, both Skyfall and Spectre, as well as 1999’s American Beauty.

You can check out the trailer for the horrifying original film below:

As of late, Disney has been announcing live-action versions of its properties left and right, including The Nutcracker (which has a huge cast of well-known actors), The Little Mermaid (with Lin-Manuel Miranda attached to help write the music), Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson), and Cruella (starring Emma Stone), among others.

With the amount of remakes — especially in the live-action department — it’s no wonder James and the giant Peach is the latest to be announced.

Do you want to see a live-action ‘James and the Giant Peach’ movie?