Torchlight 2 Review (PC)

excellent
key review info
  • Game: Torchlight 2
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: No
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
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A review of Torchlight II on the PC

Torchlight 1 brought an old-school role-playing dungeon crawler experience when it first came out in 2009 and now, three years later, Runic Games has arrived with a long awaited sequel, in the form of Torchlight 2.

With the promise of once again delivering a complex, retro-themed dungeon crawling experience set in the Torchlight universe, but with the expectation of competing against Blizzard’s recently launched Diablo 3, the game has its work cut out.

Is Torchlight 2 a worthy successor to the previous RPG or do its old school tricks fail to impress? Let’s find out.
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Start out small ...
... and explore the game's world

Story

Torchlight 2 picks up a few years after the original game, as one of the protagonists from the first game, the Alchemist, has turned evil and is wondering the land in order to extract power from various magical beings.

Players can now choose one of four classes and try to stop him, while interacting with various other non-playable characters, including the other two heroes from the first game, the Destroyer and Vanquisher.

The whole story is structured in three acts and one final dungeon and should take quite a lot of hours to complete, depending on how susceptible you are to the variety of side quests that you can find in your travels.

The whole plot is pretty good but there aren’t that many twists and, seeing as how most of the story is delivered through blobs of text, you can even skip it altogether and just run around killing all your foes.




Gameplay

As opposed to the three classes from the original, Torchlight 2 has four new playable characters: the Outlander, the Engineer, the Berserker, and the Embermage.

The Outlander is specialized in long-range weapons, like pistols or shotguns, and can even use special magic attacks. The Engineer can wield massive weapons, like axes or mallets, and construct various devices. The Berserker specializes in melee combat by using fist weapons, and can summon various animals. Last but not least, the Embermage wields only magic attacks by using elemental powers.

All classes have advantages and disadvantages and each can be developed in a variety of directions by leveling up and gaining points that can be spent in stats and skills.

Stats include four basic categories: Strength, Dexterity, Focus, and Vitality, while skills vary depending on the class. While you can easily start filling up your skill bar with various abilities, you’ll still rely on standard attacks with your weapons, so it’s sometimes best to invest in passive advantages for your stats.

Of course, like any good dungeon crawler, Torchlight 2 emphasizes the collection of loot, which can range from weapons, to bits of armor and gems that can be socketed into the previous two. Besides socketing items you can enchant them at special NPCs or transmute them by combining a certain number of items and creating a more powerful one.

Loot comes from practically every aspect of Torchlight 2, ranging from enemies, to chests, rocks, and other such things. The gear is categorized by rarity and, unlike Diablo 3, this game is quite generous with players, handing them uncommon, rare, or legendary items quite often.

A key aspect of Torchlight 2, just like with its predecessor, is the impressive pet mechanic, as you can carry with you various animals, ranging from dogs or cats to wolves, hawks, or even a sort of mini-Velociraptor. They can carry loot for you and even wear special gear like tags that grant them specific abilities. No matter your location in the game world, you can send your pet into town to sell extra gear or to buy certain items you need, like Identification scrolls, which you select before sending it out.

Besides the lengthy campaign that allows for a variety of distractions, ranging from side quests to fishing, the game has a variety of other means to keep players hooked on its experience. This includes a New Game+ mode, which allows players to start the story again with their character intact, as well as a special Mapworks feature, which consists of different random dungeons that you buy from an NPC and have certain special attributes, like more rewards or harder enemies.

While the whole game is quite enjoyable, it does tend to feel a bit too old school, especially when navigating its interface. What’s more, the sheer amount of content and things that you can do while exploring its vast areas can also seem intimidating, as you don’t know if you need to continue exploring, do a side quest, or focus on the main adventure.

When compared to Diablo 3, Torchlight 2 is definitely a game that sticks to the tried-and-true method of dungeon crawlers, offering a sprawling experience that doesn’t require a constant online connection, isn’t bogged down by an Auction House, and definitely respects the spirit of cult classics like Diablo 2.
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Meet with new people ...
... and old heroes

Multiplayer

Unlike Torchlight 1, the new game finally supports cooperative play, both online and locally via LAN. This is a great feature as it supports up to six players and loot is instanced, meaning every player gets his own loot, so there won’t be any arguing after defeating bosses.

The mode works fine and we’ve hardly experienced any lag, and even that during a few particularly hectic fights with attacks and enemies everywhere.




Graphics and Sound

In terms of graphics, Torchlight 2 retains the cartoonish visual style of its predecessor while still keeping a more sinister gray look to its world. Some areas, however, have completely different color themes and are a welcomed sight.

Sound-wise, Torchlight 2 can’t brag all that much, as both here and in the visuals department, it’s quite apparent that it’s a rather low-budget title. The tracks are pretty good and the voice acting is quite decent, although you’ll definitely encounter the same voices a few times.
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Defeat big enemies ...
... and powerful bosses

The Good

  • Lengthy campaign with many side quests
  • Four very varied playable classes
  • Online co-op
  • Great price

The Bad

  • Can seem a bit too complex
  • Interface looks a bit dated

Conclusion

Torchlight 2 is a good role-playing dungeon crawler with a lengthy story, lots of side quests, and even more systems designed to keep you hooked on its experience after you complete the campaign. Throw in the online co-op system plus the promise of mods thanks to the tools that will soon be released to the community, and you have quite a great package that, at just $20/€18.99, is a fantastic deal.

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story 8
gameplay 9
concept 9
graphics 8
audio 7
multiplayer 9
final rating 9
Editor's review
excellent
 
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