The addicting loot game series that began in 2009 from developer Runic Games is back with even more clicking and looting. The first and most important improvement fromTorchlight is the inclusion of a six-player cooperative multiplayer. Of course you do have the option to play the entire game solo without ever having to connect to any online server as well as the option to set up a LAN server. For me though the game becomes more enjoyable if you are playing with others; especially when trying to tackle the higher difficulties. I won’t even begin to explain the need of help if you decide to try your luck at Hardcore mode – which features perma-death.
The main narrative revolves around you being the one person that can save the world. It’s nothing new and I guarantee there will be plenty of people who don’t even read anything in game as their only concern is clicking and looting. As you progress through the game you will explore beautifully crafted and stylized and colorful environments creating an atmospheric world. Spread throughout the environments are side-quests that will force you to scour every inch of the map to discover their location. Trust me, you will want to seek these quests out to uncover some of the sickest loot as well as some of the coolest dungeons and boss battles. This is where the risk to explore truly pans out in favor of the player.
Worried about looting too many items? Your pet has it’s own inventory allowing you to transfer trash loot that you were planning to sell to the vendor instantly – clearing your inventory. Taking it a step further you can also send your pet into town to sell the items it is carrying as well as purchase potions and scrolls in a matter of minutes.
The four new classes as seen in our gameplay videos each have a distinct playstyle that can be tailored to how you want to play. The Engineer is a hard hitting tank, the Berserker can utilize animal spirits to augment his strength, the Outlander is the master of ranged weapons including the “Boomstick” and the Embermage will lit a fire under any creature and laugh as it explodes. Each of the classes has three different skill sets for you to invest your points in. Make sure to plan ahead when developing your characters as you are only allowed to respec the last 3 skill points spent. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this design choice as the only way to experiment with a different build for a class is to level up a brand new character. Whether Runic patches this or someone develops a mod for it, I don’t see it staying this way for too long. The overall pace of the gameplay is faster than in the first game which will lead to acquiring new equipment at a faster rate as well as leveling up much faster than before.
As you place points in specific skills, you will notice that they can become maxed out with a level requirement to advance them any further. This prevents you from focusing on just a single skill for the entire game, especially in the beginning of the game. Each skill also has different powered tiers. When enough points are pumped into a specific skill; you will reach the next tier that will increase the duration, range or radius of the skill.
Speaking of the mod system, once implemented, there is the possibility for brand new maps, items, skills and anything you can think of. I’ve already seen requests for new weapon skins as well as an infinite amount of cash – not that it is needed.
Torchlight 2 captures every aspect of the original and expands upon it by creating a randomly generated open world and simple making everything better. Even the fishing feels improved. With the possibility of a never ending supply of fresh content due to TorchED, Runic Games has created the action rpg game that will be still be talked about for years to come. I really hope that the movie and cultural references in the game aren’t missed by today’s gamers. It would be a real shame if no one picked up on The Gooniesreferences in Act I. Did I also mention the game is only $20?
Note: The Torchlight II review was written based on the PC version of the game provided by the publisher.