Video Game Reviews

Torchlight II (PC) review

After the town of Torchlight is destroyed by The Alchemist, you must track him down to stop him and his nefarious plans.

In the vein of Diablo and Diablo II comes Torchlight II.  It is an action RPG with an emphasis on loot collecting.  It is also a wonderful game that will keep you busy for many, many hours.  Developed by the same studio that developed Torchlight, Runic GamesTorchlight II ups the stakes of the first game in every way.

Much like the original DiabloTorchlight took place completely in the caverns below the town of Torchlight.  After 35 levels of looting and destroying, you completed the main story.  Torchlight II takes a page from the Diablo II book and throws you into the wilderness.  Instead of venturing solely through the dank caves below town, you spend a majority of your time in the wilds of the world hunting The Alchemist and completing side quests, all in the hopes of finding better loot with which to equip your character and make them a more powerful tool in the destruction of the enemies.

One area where the Torchlight series differs from Diablo is that you have a pet.  You choose your pet when you create your character at the start of the game.  You have the option to choose a ferret, a bulldog, a cat, a chakawary (a raptor-type creature), a hawk, a panther, a small dog, and a wolf.  Other than their appearance and animations, there is no bonus to picking one pet over another.  The pets purpose is to help you in combat and to take your items to town to sell so you can keep adventuring.  When your character gets overburdened with loot, you can transfer the items you don’t want to your pet and send them to town to sell your excess gear.  They can also purchase simple items like potions and scrolls to keep you in the game instead of teleporting or trekking to town constantly.  You pets can also learn the same spells your character can learn.  In my first game, I chose the ferret.  Near the end of the game, he was casting a 2 summon spells (an imp and a skeleton) to aid in the battles and casting a frost spell to damage enemies.

Other than choosing your pet, you have to choose your character class.  You can choose The Engineer, a heavy melee fighter, The Outlander who specializes in long ranged firepower, The Berserker who is a fast, close combat monk type, and The Embermage, a magic-user.  While I haven’t played the game through with each class, I have tried out each class and they have their own strengths and weaknesses.  The type of class you choose should be determined by you play style.  Do you want to run in and bash the hell out of everything with excessive force?  The Engineer is for you.  Do you like to shoot things from a distance?  Try The Outlander.  If you crave magic spells over melee, The Embermage has you covered.  Do you prefer a more feral experience?  Then call on The Berserker.  My first game through was with The Outlander, and I found him to be a difficult character to play as.  You had to keep your distance otherwise the enemies would tear you apart.  His armor choices left something to be desired.

In each town you will receive one side quest and one story quest.  As you wander the wilds you will also come across people who need side quests done for them, which grants more loot and gold and experience.  You can completely skip these side quests, though I would recommend doing them.  The possibilities for greater experience and loot require that you do everything that you can in this game, including the too few side quests peppered throughout the story.  There is one downside.  The lack of side quests.  There just didn’t seem to be that many of them spaced throughout the game.  You would have one or two in each map, plus the one from town.  There just isn’t a big time sink in this game for the side quests . . .until you beat the main story.

Then, you open up the ancient map room.  After you complete the main story line, you have a couple options.  You can start a new game plus, in which you restart the game at you current level and the enemies are leveled accordingly; you can continue your adventure.  You can also visit the map room.  There, you purchase maps and can play through the maps.  The maps have a general level attached to them, such as 45-55, and the possibility of increases or decreases.  For example, you may have a map with a level of 45-55, and character bonuses of plus 10 % to attack.  You may then also have enemy bonuses of plus 10% health regeneration.  This makes the maps more difficult.  I’m  not sure if the experience is upgraded for the maps with the bonuses, though.  This is a nice way to continue your game after you have completed the main story, especially if you don’t want to play the whole story again right away.

While the story is somewhat bland and uninspiring, the game play holds this game together.  It is classic point and click with the mouse.  It has no control scheme for a controller, which was somewhat disappointing.  You assign spells and potions to the number keys, and left-click attacks and right-click uses whichever special skill you have assigned to that button.  It is a simple control scheme that works amazingly well for this type of game.

I have to say that this game impressed me.  I played the original Torchlight for numerous hours on Xbox 360.  I am not a PC gamer by any stretch of the imagination (Diablo II being the last PC game I played), so it was a surprise to me that I enjoyed this as much as I did.  I personally find PC games uncomfortable to play; I am strictly a console player.  I couldn’t recommend this title more.  It is available now on Steam for download.  It is only $20, which is incredibly reasonable for a game with this much content.  This game is highly recommended.

*NOTE* I did have some sound problems in the cinematics.  The sound skipped and I really had difficulty grasping the story.  Here’s hoping a patch will present itself in the near future.

9/10

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Torchlight II (PC) review

  1. I was 3/4 done with Torchlight before Diablo 3 was released. Been chucked aside. Actually I kinda enjoyed it, it’s refreshing to see different kind of art – more cartoonish. Will be picking up Torchlight again soon then move on to Torchlight II – one of the latest RPG games I will be picking up. Happy New Year!

    • I haven’t played Diablo III and probably won’t due to the constant internet connection thing.

      I fell in love with Torchlight on 360, and had to have it when the sequel released. I really, really enjoyed it. If you like Diablo and the forst Torchlight, you will certainly dig Torchlight II.

  2. Pingback: Diablo III (PS3) review | BIZZAM!!

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