Oct 102012

As you all know, I really like Torchlight II. I had a blast during the open beta test, and when Runic Games hooked us up with the real deal, I knew I was going to have even more of a blast. This review was written before I even needed to start thinking about it. Torchlight II is an awesome game. It is of course, perfect by no means, but Torchlight has taken me for a ride that I never expected from a series of click-happy dungeon crawlers. I’m no PC gaming enthusiast, but Runic Games is a developer that I will be following for years to come.

I fumbled through the open beta using the Berserker, a self-explanatory class that I tend to gravitate towards in games like these because I find magic wholly uninteresting for one reason or another. Nothing beats charging a group of mobs head-on and tearing them to giblets with my bare hands or a slight extension thereof. But this time around I wanted to start the game fresh (but still avoid magic as much as possible), so I picked the ostensible wild card: Engineer. Now, when one thinks ‘engineer,’ in the context of PC gaming, Team Fortress 2 comes to mind, and that isn’t really far-off. In Torchlight II, Engineer is a really great class with a ton of very different options and paths for your character to take. Starting the game with a badass giant wrench, your focus can be on two-handed weapon skills, which is surprisingly inclusive and allows you to play around with hammers, axes, swords, and more without losing your skills and bonuses. If minions are more your style, Engineer comes with several fun gadgets you can sink your points into, up to and including the expected turrets and healing bots. Robot spider-mines, grenades, and hammer robots can be unleashed all at once, turning your screen into a cacophony of technology and explosions. If that isn’t enough, Engineer also has an entire page of abilities tailored to tanking. I ended up putting most of my points in one attack, a few robots, and a ton of passives (man, I love passives), turning my engineer into a jack-of-a-few-trades that while probably poorly optimized, filled the screen with enough fire-y carnage to keep me satisfied. What I’m trying to say here is that while the game only has four classes, you get so many skill options it would take several playthroughs to cover them all.

Torchlight II is also a satisfyingly expansive game, with a ton of stuff to do and quite a few very different types of environments to explore along with a healthy plethora of enemy types to feverishly click your way through. It’s long – three acts plus with several dungeons within, and even on occasion a few dungeons inside of said dungeons, as well as more secret areas and wacky bonuses than you can shake a giant wrench at. Dungeon crawlers tend to be pretty aesthetically uninteresting, especially after several hours,  but Torchlight II is so endearingly droll that oftentimes I was having fun just looking around at things. Even the weapons and armor can get pretty creative. One time I found an axe that was crafted from the upper jaw of an enormous monster.

There isn’t much else to cover that I didn’t already go over during the beta. It’s the same awesome game, just with a lot more stuff to do. Offline single player is great (as sad as it is that I have to even bring that up as a plus), and being able to hop into multiplayer at any time with any character adds a great deal of longevity to an already robust experience. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have yet to finish the game and have just taught my ferret to summon skeleton archers. I just have to see how that works out.

Torchlight II

ProsA refreshing take on a classic genre; this game just oozes cool
ConsMy computer isn't strong enough to run it at full strength, which make me feel inadequate
VerdictDungeon crawlers aren't for everyone, but Torchlight II is a must-have for everyone that likes dungeon crawlers



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