Developer: Runic Games
Release Date: 9/20/2012
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With fans being so upset with Diablo III, I have to first say turn here. Torchlight II builds upon the already excellent engine and adds more content, a lengthy campaign, and tons of great loot. The dungeon crawler genre is all about the great loot, leveling your character, and fighting tough bosses. Once you get to the last couple of dungeons you will be guzzling potions like crazy. The game is non-stop action with no breaks. While Diablo III may have a larger budget in the millions, a better story, and better graphics, Torchlight II delivers on what the fans want; loot, dungeons, and bosses.
You can pretty much forget the story. It is told in three pieces and isn’t very interesting. Something about Nephilim invading the world and you trying to stop it? I honestly don’t know. I lost track because the story is broken up too much and told in between three large acts so you forget what happens. What does matter is the action? You can choose between 4 strong classes that are typical of the genre. Mage, duelist, warrior, and a middle ground guy. Each class has a slew of great abilities that you actually won’t completely acquire in one play through. I chose the duelist and stuck with akimbo pistols. There was even a perk called Akimbo! There’s something here for every type of player.
The loot feels nearly endless and it is actually good. There are boss chests, large chests, and just regular ones spread throughout. You don’t have to worry about getting good loot. Of course, most of it ends up being junk, but when you beat a boss you will get something good. You can equip rings, belts, shields, leg and body armor, helmets, you name it. You can enchant items that add random stat increases, add jewels, even disenchant items to regain money. There was even an option to use junk loot to create new items like potions. I’m glad there are a lot of options for the main part of the game; the damn loot.
I found the dungeons and enemies to be plentiful and varied. I never really got bored. Each area has small, large, and champion enemies that get tougher to fight. Sometimes you will be swarmed by over a dozen, but that is the whole point. Every step led to an enemy and I felt the urge to uncover every part of every map. I always found a secret somewhere or a new champion to beat. Doing this helps you level up faster to make the game easier. There are side quests that are fun, and some downright tough bosses. A couple at the very end had to be beaten 2-3 times over which is a challenge all on its own.
When you die Torchlight punishes you with gold instead of lame armor damage. Resurrecting at the entrance is the cheapest option, but doing so in town is free, just inconvenient. The best one is resurrecting on the spot but costs 3 times as much as at the entrance. This really makes you think if it is worth it or not. Usually, I only resurrected on the spot in the middle of a large overworld area where backtracking would take forever.
You still get a pet this time around, you can equip armor and other items on it. You can have your pet take your loot back for you, sell it, and now you can give it a list of items like potions and scrolls to bring back for you. You lose your pet for 2 minutes, but this is a lifesaver. Let your pet do the tedious work while you continue fighting. I found this almost revolutionary for the genre which is already one of the least updated in the gaming world. If you want one reason to play this, the loot is what kept me going. I wanted to acquire new abilities, and get the best weapons and armor. There is also great balancing in multiplayer which is what most people are going to play.
Overall, Torchlight II is a lot of fun and has all the genre staples that people want, lots of great loot that is dished out often, tough boss fights, and a lot of strong varied enemies. Sure, the game isn’t a technical hound, but who needs that for this type of game? The story kind of sucks, but in the end, we just want to click away and kill stuff. Diablo III and TL2 are always being compared for a reason. TL2 did everything everyone expected D3 to do and it didn’t. For even a fraction of the cost of D3, this game is a steal.