Earlier this year, we kicked Diablo’s ass and enjoyed the hell out of doing it. Unfortunately, a few months later, many of us had lost interest in the game, it was good but just not as good as it’s predecessor. We turned our eyes towards the distant gaming horizon, Torchlight 2 was already in beta and it would be coming soon. Then we were sent some codes to get our hands on the game to review it. The big question that we kept asking ourselves though was “Can the game offer us something we haven’t already been playing for the last few years?“. Easy answer, that text below tells you.
Now, I loved Torchlight, it was the first ARPG that I felt really “got it” since playing Diablo 2. There was tons of loot and smashing of many thing but even though it was an awesome game, it still felt a little linear. Ultimately, the game felt like a mad dash to the bottom of the mines, and while the game wasn’t the biggest ever, I just wanted more. Runic Games, fortunately, employ some sort of dark magicks or mind reading gypsies though because that is the first thing you will really notice about Torchlight 2, a large map just waiting to be explored. You know what was on that map? Tons and tons of loot. You know who got it? This guy, right here!
Character creation in Torchlight 2 is limited, thankfully in this case, to simple cosmetic changes to your character. Do you want them to be male or female? What class do you want? Which hairstyle do you want? Head? Pet? (You’d better pick that papillon, every other answer is wrong!) After going through this process, you name your character and pet and then get thrusted right into the story. No adjusting the depth of your chin or the saturation of your hair color, just the basics and then off you go!
Once Torchlight 2 gets started, it hits the ground running and never looks back. It feels like loot is much more frequent than the previous title, and with the open world approach, you will always have something different to do. Now, I started the game with my first character on the normal difficulty but after tearing through the first 2 major dungeons and fighting a pair of major bosses, I decided I needed to play the game on a harder difficulty. I wanted to feel that I was actually in some sort of peril when I was fighting, although I may have been simply really effective with my character. After getting into progressively more difficult modes, I felt that the demand and focus on gear was even higher, which is completely cool since this is what these games are all about.
The game’s story is rather simplistic, yet told in such a way that it doesn’t overburden any of the gameplay as well. More or less, the heroes from the original Torchlight have had a few inconveniences arise and evil has returned to the world, so new heroes need to step up and kick some ass in their stead. Like I said earlier, this isn’t just a one dungeon campaign either, Torchlight 2 is a global affair that will take you all over the world and feature many different sights than before. Did I also mention that the campaign is significantly longer? Well, it is and it is awesome!
Combat isn’t overly complex, although after leveling extensively, I was very glad to be using a gaming mouse since I could map abilities to the extra buttons. Clicking on your targets and burning them down with skills and auto attacks is the name of the game here and while it may sound boring, the numerous types of weapons really keep you coming back for more. I had a ton of fun with the Outlander, as some of the guns that could be used were simply amazing. The feeling of fighting a cluster of enemies and then blowing them clear away from me with a cannon or shotgun brought a smile to my face. That isn’t to say that every other class doesn’t have it’s perks. In the multiplayer mode, this is even more entertaining, since positioning and combining attacks can have some interesting outcomes.
With that being said, let’s take a minute to talk about multiplayer. This was something that the original Torchlight lacked, and while it wasn’t absolutely necessary, it could have made the original even better. Well, no more bellyaching about not being able to play with friends now, because Torchlight 2 features an entire smorgasbord of online co-op awesomeness. Feel like playing with a couple of friends? Create an online game and up to 5 buddies can join you. As a fair warning, the more people in the game, the more hectic things can get. A few times, in smaller environments, it felt a bit cramped but even this wasn’t so bad since loot is dropped separately, so even if I am trying to figure out what the hell just happened, I can still get my precious loot. Torchlight 2 also features the ability to play via LAN, so no more logging into an external server if you want to quickly set up a game with a few friends in a more personal environment.
So what makes Torchlight 2 different from Diablo 3? Torchlight 2 is absolutely a better sequel! Everyone at Runic Games paid attention to what the players liked and disliked and painstakingly made the rare “better than the original” sequel that most games fail at. While Diablo 3 was indeed a good game, it pales in comparison of it’s predecessor. Torchlight 2 says “Remember all that bad ass stuff you loved about the first game? Well, we brought all that stuff to this party and we brought buckets of new stuff too!”. Yes, buckets. Also, a certain wheeled robot that is quite annoying.
How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!
- Flexible multiplayer
- A great improvement upon the original game
- Graphics that can run on almost any PC, yet look great
- Beautiful soundtrack
- You may need to look for a challenge to get things started, yet will probably regret that decision later.