Real Talk By: The Wizard
I first purchased Torchlight 1 on Steam a few months back after noticing it had a pretty good following. At that time there was a deal where you purchased Torchlight II for pre-order and received Torchlight 1 for free. So I said “why the ef not” and made an impulse purchase, and it was by far the best impulse purchase on Steam I ever made! When I first loaded up Torchlight 1 it struck me as a cartoony Diablo. In fact it was so much like Diablo it could have easily been considered a Diablo clone. I decided to keep playing the game even though iam not a fan of cartoony looking games. After a few hours I realized what a gem this game was, and in my opinion how it was better than Diablo 3. On a side note I now find it weird how similar Diablo 3 is to Torchlight 1. Seems like Blzzard may have done a little “investigation work” since torchlight 1 became so popular. An eye for an eye I suppose! Enough of the pointless ramblings for now, on to the review!
Players of Torchlight 1 on PC or XBLA will feel right at home. Torchlight II is near identical to Torchlight 1 except bigger and better in every way. You basically run around a dungeon or open area spamming spells and melee attacks all while collecting hard-earned loot and the occasional legendary item to make your character bigger and stronger. The cartoony graphics that turn me off are still present but I can’t really complain as the game looks pretty polished and I have never had any lag. The music is also near identical to Torchlight 1, but I would say that’s a good thing. The tunes are not amazing but they’re not hard on the ears either. The game has a pretty good story and I’m not going to get into the details, but there is never a point in the game where you’re asking yourself “what in the flip is going on here”?, and with the help of a quest log and little stars on the map you’re never going to get lost. One thing I hate in games is running around trying to figure out what the hell I’m suppose to be doing, so those little stars are blessing from god. There are also plenty of little side quests to discover along the way. One quest I found was a pirate cove in the first area with all these undead skeleton pirates. I stumbled upon and killed Chester Copperpot and received One Eye’d Willie’s Other Eye as a reward. I laughed as I recognized that the dev’s at Runic games are obvious Goonies fans. There are rumors of other Easter Eggs in regard to Minecraft, Skyrim, and Scarface. I can’t wait to find those!
The starting classes consist of the Embermage which is your spell caster, A berserker who uses swiftness and beast magic. The Outlander who is a gun wielder and also uses magic. And my favorite the Engineer who uses heavy Ember imbued weapons like hammers and cannons to lay down the law! All the classes seem pretty fun and all have abilities to cast spells and use pets. There are quite a few pets to choose from, including different types of dogs, cats, panthers, wolves, hawks and more. And on top of that you can customize your characters and pets. There are not a ton of options, but enough to find something decent.
The controls are pretty solid and everything can be brought up or taken away by simply pressing “C” and “S” for character panel and skill panel, and “I” and “P” for character and pet items, then removed with the space bar. All spells and potions can be set to the respective 1-0 keys on the keyboard. Left mouse is main attack, and mouse 2 can also be set to anything you like and you can set a second mouse 2 attack/item by pressing Tab. This is nice if you’re like me and really like to switch between attacks quickly. You move simply by clicking an area on-screen, or holding left mouse and dragging in the direction you want to walk. Both ways work very well. In fact I don’t really think there would be a better keyboard control scheme and I really don’t think an analog control would work the same.
When you gain levels you get 5 character points to spend in strength, defense, magic, and focus, and 1 or 2 points to spend on new spells and abilities. There are many paths to go with the characters and you’re not confined to one path which is cool cause you can be a heavy melee character like my engineer, and deck out one powerful spell for some extra damage. This makes the game a little more interesting as you can define your character the way you want. You can also pick other stuff like increase magic find, pet damage, and decreased gold cost for items, and higher buy prices for your items.
Another thing I like about the game is that a lot of the bosses are pretty tough and if you run they will chase you all the way through the level. It can get kind of crazy when a boss half the size of the screen is chasing you. I really like that because in a lot of games you can just run away and heal up, or you’re trapped and can’t run. You really have to keep an eye on your resistances as well because if you forget to cover a hole in for example your poison or ice reduction, you will be killed before you know you are even hit. So if you’re like me and play every game or hard you better pay attention or you will be dealt with! Another cool thing to note is that your pet can buy and sell items while you are in dungeons so you don’t have to leave. This was super annoying in Diablo III. And a final change in the game I like is that you don’t need to find every item. I play most dungeons and get maybe 2 at the most items to identify. This makes the game less annoying as you don’t spend game time identifying crap so you can sell it.
The final thing I want to talk about is the online play. The only gripe I had with Torchlight 1 was that there was no online play. apparently Runic games caught a shit storm from the fans of Torchlight 1 and actually included online multiplayer. Now before you get too excited though the lobby is kind of annoying. There are tons of games up but it takes forever to get into a game. You will either fail to connect, or connect and need a password for probably 5-10 minutes before actually joining a game. And normally people in these games will be all scattered around and never play together. I found this annoying, but if you have friends, or make friends it’s a lot of fun! I suggest looking up the Torchlight II group on steam and get in the headset lobby and talk to players through steam to find some friends. Or you can always just add me on Steam Jfoe1980.
torchlight II is a solid dungeon raiding, spell spamming, loot plundering piece of magic.. I highly recommend it to people who are fans of the genre. Solid graphics, lots of character spells/abilities to choose from. The pets are useful are can buy or sell items for you while you’re in dungeons. Online Multiplayer, and solid controls make this in my opinion the best game in the genre of the year. The only real issue here is that online matches are hard to connect to. If you like this sort of game do yourself a favor and get both Torchlight games. I don’t think you will regret it.
Torchlight II Gets
Out of five
+Character branches you are not confined to
+Less Identifying items
+Pets can buy potions, and sell items so you can keep playing uninterrupted
-Online connection issues
-Character’s and pets should have more customization options
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