backlog review torchlight 2

Backlog review: Torchlight 2

The Diablo Killer? Writer’s note: I have never played an action RPG before. Therefore I can’t compare this game to Diablo 3 or the first Torchlight. This is a newcomers view on the ARPG-genre. So with that said let’s go:Torchlight 2 is a game that doesn’t really try to innovate in the genre as much as it tries to perfect it.

When Diablo 3 first came out, fans were disappointed with the changes made from its predecessor. But when Torchlight 2 came out, people claimed it to be the true successor to Diablo 2. Not very surprising considering the team, Runic Games, consisted from devs who made Fate (Ex-Diablo devs) and Mythos, two well-respected games in the genre. But is Torchlight 2 really what it’s made out to be?

2015-05-22_00003Can Torchlight 2 deliver what Diablo 3 couldn’t?

New heroes will rise.

The story of Torchlight 2 picks up several years after the first game. One of the playable classes from the previous game, the Alchemist becomes corrupted by a disease known as the Ember Blight, which comes from the heart of the previous game’s villain. The Alchemist sets of to cure himself of the disease by any means necessary. His former companions try to stop the corrupted former hero but ultimately fall by the Alchemist’s hands. This puts you, the player, as the only one to stop him and bring peace to the world once more. Story is not the focus of the game with only four cut-scenes, almost everything concerning plot is said through a few lines of dialogue and is nothing more than an excuse to do what Torchlight 2 is all about.

      2015-05-24_00003There are only four cut scenes and they provide no explanation.

The quest for the perfect character.

Kill things, gain experience, get loot and try to make your character as strong as you can, that is the core of the game. Fighting mobs of enemies is fun and collecting the loot from fallen foes, pots or chests is engaging and feels rewarding. Exploration is rewarded with quests, dungeons, unique mini-boss monsters and of course loot. The game really wants you to experience every dungeon there is, because going on a linear path and doing only the story dungeons will leave you extremely under-leveled and unprepared for the dangers ahead. It seems that going trough every optional dungeon will give the player enough gear and skills to tackle the main dungeon. This is also reflected by the size of the overworld, which starts relatively small and linear to huge and sprawling. And while there are only around 3 different environmental themes Runic Games made all the dungeons look varied and unique. Exploring every dungeon not only rewards you with loot but also a fun and colorfully designed dungeon.The game is not beginner friendly as newcomers will get drowned in the huge amount of mechanics and nothing is explained. The Heads Up Display can get cluttered with information of everything up to it tiniest detail. Everything in Torchlight 2 feels like what can best be described as a touch and go style of play with its weapons and armor. You don’t have a lot of room in your inventory and assigning skill points and extra attribute points feel like something that needs to be done right on the spot. However to help you out in battle and with your inventory is your pet. At the beginning of the game, when choosing your sex, class and appearance and also have to select which animal you would like as a pet. Your pet helps you in combat, can cast spells on its own and go to town to buy and sell potions and gear. Another mechanic for the pets is fishing. On several spots the player can throw out a line and catch fish which you can then give to transform your pet into a monster that can leech life or set out traps to slower the enemy for instance. When the game is beaten you can either start doing randomized dungeons with mutators for better loot at the Map Works or start a New Game Plus. New game plus will adjust the level of the monsters to your current level so as not to make the game to easy or a drag. Games like Torchlight 2 are best experienced with one or multiple friends. Co-op is incredibly fun and fairly easy to set up. However, in order for anyone to join a friends game, they must search in a list of servers since joining trough invites is not possible. And in order to trade, you can’t just drop gear for other players to pick up. Instead the players have initiate a trade which is an unnecessary nuisance, but not enough to make it unbearable. In its core, the genre is all about loot and leveling and Torchlight 2 is king in that department.

2015-05-16_00003The menu’s can be a bit daunting for newcomers.

A masterpiece in the genre?

A visually colorful experience.

Graphically Torchlight 2 looks great, but visually it takes a step above and beyond. The game is very colorful and the designs of the monsters, the gear and the environment are top-notch with the Netherim and Alchemist being the highlight. The art style looks like Battlefield Heroes or to a lesser extent Team Fortress 2. It’s pretty impressive that Runic Games manages to find a good balance between a colorful and cartoonish art style in a dark and ominous setting. And nothing convenes the feeling of dread more than it’s soundtrack. The music is dark and intimidating and while it works in the game most of it is rather unmemorable. But that’s not what the soundtrack is about, the music is all about setting the mood and that it does great.

      2015-05-21_00007one of the many beautiful places Torchlight 2 has in store.

Closing note:

Torchlight 2 doesn’t really reinvent the ARPG-wheel, but what it does is polish and perfect what the genre does best. And at it’s core it’s all about killing monster, leveling up and grabbing loot. And while the narrative won’t give any motivation to continue playing the game getting better gear and making the best character you can will. Torchlight 2 is an absolute blast to play.

9/10

This game was reviewed on PC. If you are interested in this game you can get it from the following places:

Steam:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/200710

I'm a fun loving guy who like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and long walks on the beach. I work hard, I play hard. Must like cats. Ugos need not apply. If you want to ask me anything you can contact me at yordi.verhoene@gmail.com