From the minds of the developers who worked on the Diablo series, Torchlight 1 was a hit right out of left field. Although it was missing various gameplay elements, such as multiplayer and real longevity, it still won gamers over with its fun and addictive gameplay. Soon after its success, the sequel was announced, promising to be bigger and better than its predecessor.
Set years after the original, the antagonist (The Alchemist), corrupted by the Ember Blight, destroys the town of Torchlight and looks to wreck the balance between the world’s six elements. The plot itself is quite complicated and lacks suspense or clarity, but most of the time you won’t be paying attention as to why you’re going to the next designated area for your quest.
Instead you’ll be enjoying the trip itself.
During your quests, it’s very easy to get side tracked, with many secret areas and side missions to be found. It’s good that the developers have decided to reward gamers who like to venture off the beaten track, and can add many hours to an already decent sized game.
You’ll have your choice of four character classes, each with their own special abilities, pros and cons. However, there’s nothing that we haven’t come to expect from RPG games of this nature. The Engineer, who constructs bots to do his bidding, the Outlander who uses ranged weapons to dispatch enemies, the Berserker who’s your typical melee brawler, and the Embermage, your typical spell caster.
Instead of trying to deliver a state of the art graphical masterpiece, Runic games has instead focussed on delivering a more memorable experience with a cross between WoW and Steampunk-stylised visuals. At first glance you could confuse these graphics for being a game aimed at kids, however it’s not until you start exploding creatures all over the map that you realise how wrong you are.
Perhaps the best thing about the game is the sheer amount of loot you receive. With no auction houses using real money to worry about, T2 will bombard you with many drops throughout the game. If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to carry all these items, worry not! You have a huge backpack and also a pet that not only acts as a powerful ally, but can also carry items and even be sent back to town to sell any unneeded ones. While there, it can also do your shopping, allowing you to continue your quest uninterrupted.
As you progress through the game you’ll constantly get the feeling that your character is growing and becoming more powerful. Don’t be fooled thinking that you will be one shotting every enemy on the screen though, like you’re the angel of death or something. There are many parts that can prove to be rather difficult and ask more from you instead of simply standing in front of the bad guy and left clicking your mouse until he stops moving.
Even though the game allows you to re-adjust your last three skill points, think carefully about where you set your skill and stat points. T2 is nigh identical to Diablo 2, meaning where you put these points is more of a permanent nature. Although this may eventually lead to community websites listing up the best builds for your chosen class, the more casual players should come up with many different ways to build and play the game and for the most part it doesn’t punish you for your chosen build, whether it be glass cannon or tank, so you can expect to replay the game simply to try other builds for the same class.
A feature lacking from many big name PC games lately has been a LAN option. Yes we’re looking directly at you Blizzard. Thankfully, T2 is completely LAN and mod friendly! And with a strong community behind it there is every chance that we’ll see some amazing stuff from the mod scene. Naturally this is an IF and WHEN scenario, but for titles this popular with a strong community, it’s all but a forgone conclusion. Something else to mention is that your character will be available both online and offline without the need to play each one separately.
From start to finish Torchlight 2 is an amazing game that is both fun and exciting. It offers replay value and the combat and enemy slaying never feels tired and old. The four acts will take you about twelve hours to complete with the added ability to then go back and play through on a harder difficulty. At only $20 this is a hard game to pass up and is an easy recommendation to gamers who enjoyed any Diablo game ever and perhaps those who were a bit miffed with the third in the series.