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Torchlight 2 Review
publisher: Perfect World
developer: Runic Games
|ESRB rating: RP
release date: Sep 20, 12
|» All About Torchlight 2 on ActionTrip|
Let's be completely honest, Torchlight was a Diablo clone. Nothing odd about that either, seeing as both Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer worked on the game - both once members of Blizzard North, the team behind Diablo and Diablo 2. So, basically, Runic Games returned to the same formula, polished it up a bit, incorporated a few cool features and voila - a new RPG was born. As Torchlight 2 boldly steps onto the contemporary gaming scene, ready to tackle heavy competition (well, mostly Diablo 3) we are immediately drawn into its simple and yet incredibly compelling gameplay mechanics.
Rare items. Damn, I love those.
Talk about being Torched...
Torchlight 2 commences several years after the conclusion of the original game. The Ember Blight has corrupted the Alchemist. The Ember Blight originates from an ancient evil entity known as the Heart of Ordrak, which is the very source corruption beneath the small town of Torchlight. Your task is to put a stop to this evil, which threatens to disrupt the balance between the six elements of the world.
Simplicity is the key, as you'd imagine. Torchlight 2 takes a similar approach to storytelling as Diablo 3. There isn't much of a plot or any exceptionally interesting characters to draw you away from the gameplay. To be honest though, Diablo 3 does have a better story than Torchlight 2, but I guess that's beside the point. Slashing your way through countless foes is the main drive here, so essentially, you'll be on familiar ground if you've been playing Diablo 3 in recent months. There's nothing wrong with borrowing Diablo's mechanics, particularly in T2's case, because Runic has really polished this one to perfection. Everything works smoothly. There are no hiccups during combat or exploration that would warrant any major concern.
There are four character classes to choose from. The Engineer (Railman in Torchlight), who represents a heavy fighter suitable for melee combat, the Outlander who employs magic and ranged weapons, The Berserker who's quick and agile and often uses animal-based powers and, last but not least, the Embermage, who mainly resorts to powerful spells. The combat differs according to the class you choose. For the single-player playthrough, I selected the Engineer and it was fun all the way. The fact that this is a character focused on close combat doesn't mean that you can't make use of certain magical abilities and scrolls that can be picked up along the way. This goes for other classes too. So, apart from your default class-based skills, you also get a chance to use a range of useful spells that can help you heal or improve your character's abilities like movement, marksmanship etc. Players have one basic attack, a secondary attack and an additional powerful attack that deals extra damage - providing the charge meter is filled up. The more it fills up, the more damage you can cause with this attack. Usually, the best way to handle groups of enemies is striking when the charge meter is maxed out, giving you the edge in combat (even when you're massively outnumbered).
The game is likely to hook players straight away, largely thanks to its appealing loot system. There's an impressive variety of items on display and ready for players to make use of. Exploring as much of the map as possible is the key to this game. Locating hidden areas and defeating stronger enemies is often enormously rewarding. Taking your time to sort your gear to suit your play style is what the whole thing is about. For instance, items like swords, axes and staffs may come in socketed variants, so you have to decide which chips, shards and gems to attach (depending on which enemies you're facing). In addition, the same item can then be enhanced by visiting the Enchanter in the local town. Certain armor and weaponry may hold class-specific traits, so you need to keep your eyes peeled for those.
The game is enjoyable both in solo and multiplayer modes. There's nothing more satisfying than taking on hordes of baddies with friends and things can really heat up in Torchlight 2. Several cool boss encounters await players and the really cool bit ensues when friends join together, mixing different abilities to take these large opponents down. There are certain impracticalities in multiplayer such as having difficulties finding sessions created by friends. This may prove annoying if you want to jump smoothly and quickly into a co-op game. However, as soon as things kick off, Torchlight 2 becomes a barrel of fun in multiplayer.
Bzzzt! Take that!
Thank God for portals.
The graphics have been significantly improved since the release of the original. The cartoonish-style art looks great, while every area in the game was meticulously designed and, of course, enriched with Matt Uelmen's eerie Diablo-inspired tracks. Matt is the renowned video game composer, best known for his brilliant darkish Diablo and Diablo 2 melodies. Subtle touches, like beautifully animated background details, create an eye-catching atmosphere. Also, we salute the animation team that brought all those cute little monsters to life and were responsible for a variety of cool-looking spells to boot.
Torchlight 2 is an experience you can't easily walk away from. The combat is the beating heart of the game. It's simple and incredibly fun. Commendably, Runic improved everything they possibly could in this one. As we've already said, we witnessed sharper and more colorful visuals, in addition to a delicious multiplayer mode that allows up to six players (a highly compelling feature not present in the first title).
This is quite simply an action RPG that has everything for both fans and newcomers to the genre. Don't miss out on it.
As far as ARPGs go, you can't go wrong here, every element in Torchlight 2 feels right, from gameplay to visuals and solid audio design;
A few minor problems in multiplayer, albeit not something to be worried about.
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