Review by TehAssasin
"Torchlight 2 is honestly outstanding."
Torchlight 2 is a sequel to Torchlight 1, which is released back in 2010. For those who are unfamiliar with the original title, it is basically a hack and slash action RPG with a heavy emphasis in dungeon exploring, 'farming' equipments, powering up your character, and so on so forth, much like popular title such as Diablo 1,2 and 3. In a way, TL2 is also paying a huge tribute to a game much loved by players from this genre, that is D2 due to their many similarities, i.e. tons of fun.
Your main villain in the game is an alchemist, one of the main protagonist from the first game. Some time after the end of the Torchlight 1, the alchemist was corrupted by Ember Blight coming from the Heart of Ordrak, the evil being who had been the source of the corruption under the town of Torchlight, and then destroys the town. Without knowing what is going on, our brave hero (you) shall set forth in a journey to track down this evil being, and save the world. I can't comment if the storyline is good or bad, because it wasn't really a thing I would focus in game from this genre.
There are 4 classes in this game, Berserker, Engineer, Outlander and Embermage. In a nutshell, Berserker is your typical melee fighter, Engineer is pretty much your tank (semi melee/ranged), Outlander is a ranged specialized character and Embermage is your spellcaster. Despite my boring description of the classes, they all have unique and interesting skills. Torchlight II has 3 major acts and 1 short fourth act.
In terms of battle, you get 10 empty slots which you can place your skills in to be used in combat. Your primary attack is set to the default slash/shoot/whack, depending on what your weapon is. Your secondary (right click) attack consists of two slots, thus you can switch out between one skill and another. This makes it a total of 13 active buttons, including left click for you people who are looking to maximize APM in combat. The basic combat is decent in terms of pace, and fairly polished. The movement speed of your player is also reasonably quick. Weapons are actually USED, in Torchlight 2 i.e. you got the sword, you swing the sword at normal attack, you got a cannon, you load it up and blast at your targets. In short, default attack in this game is viable to some extent, and the animations look good.
In the beginning of the game, you can also choose a pet to accompany your character, ranging from bulldog to a ferret. These pets are particularly useful because they can help you carry items, conveniently take them and sell to the town merchant while you are out grinding, and can also transform into powerful creatures depending on consumption of fish. In several occasion, they would also actually try to run away if low in health if they weren't healed. Speaking of fish, at towns or outer area, there would random fishing spot where you can, well do some fishing. The fishes can be consumed by your pet for transformation over a period of time, and you can even 'fish' item out of the pond.
Skill/stat allocation system:
Torchlight II features skill tree like D2, where each character on top of that, you get scrolls and spells which you can find from chests, fishing and grinding. The spells can be learnt by your own character and pet. You get stat points, you choose how you want to build your character stat-wise, making them unique to the other players.
Itemization and Character progression:
In Torchlight II, there are basically total of 7 equipment tiers, which are normal, enchanted, rare, unique, legendary, quest and set. Item progression also exist in Torchlight 2. Sometimes you will come across unique weapon in which you can choose augment the item by satisfying its condition, for instance, killing 50 zombies. Once you done that, it will be boosted with additional stats/ adding sockets/etc. You can also enchant them at some limit from random enchanters in dungeon, and also at town which are weaker, thus rewarding players who explore.
Torchlight 2 rewards players with consistent drop of loot for upgrades, especially from early to mid-game. Torchlight 2 strayed away from that, and making them relatively less important, because there are more useful skills (procs), such as chance to interrupt (hammers), chance to cast thunder at %, increase cast speed and so on.
At random dungeon, you can come across secret areas which is hidden from view. There can also be puzzles which you can solve and gain access to more treasure chests and loots. The quests are abundant, so are the dungeons outside of towns. And they're randomized. You gain fame from doing quests, allowing you to acquire additional skill point to your favour. You also get to choose what rewards you want, out of usually three. There are also phase beast portal created upon the death of certain monster. There, your character will be put through various kinds of challenges, and if you succeeded, you gain access to its treasures.
After defeating the final boss, you can choose to restart the game in New Game+ mode where your character's level and items are intact , and the monster will be scaled to higher level, plus dropping more golds and loot to match your character. Another interesting 'endgame' solution implemented by Runic Games is called mapworks, Players who have completed the last main quest can gain access to stores and purchase randomly generated maps with special condition set on the scrolls, such as increased monster damage by x % but also increased player exp gain by x %, etc. This would provide a fun, endless dungeon crawling experiences.
Visuals and Musics:
The game LOOK familiar to those who have played Torchlight I. The sprites, the environment are designed to be cartoon-y. Despite that, the models are generally well-polished and pleasant to look at. The soundtracks are awesome, and bears a good resemblance to those from Diablo 2, as they are created by the same music composer, Matt Uelmen.
Torchlight II at its single player mode can be played offline. Multiplayer mode has also been added to Torchlight II after it's seen nowhere in the first game. Up to 6 players limit, LAN, and loots dropped for each character in a multiplayer game. There is also PVP in the game, triggered by /pvp command. Modding/Cheating is allowed in this game, which is good for extended playability and although the cheat is bad for multiplayer games, it gives players who wants to be overpowered a reason to have their share of fun.
Overall, this game is definitely worth checking out, plus it is only $20 and packs ton of fun. Thank you for reading.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/28/12
Game Release: Torchlight II (US, 09/20/12)
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