Sep 182012
 
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RPG players rejoice, today we’re covering the massive dungeon crawler by Runic Games Torchlight II.  So many games in the RPG category struggle to reinvent the wheel in hopes of setting the trend but fail miserably.  Rather than join the pack, Runic Games has gone back to the roots of what make the genre so enjoyable in the first place.  This does not mean that you will get more of the same when playing Torchlight II ‒ far from it!  Take a moment now and give our video review a watch or continue reading the written review below.

Playing TL2 is Like Playing a Pinball Machine

RPGs have often gotten the reputation of being lumbering time sucks that maintain a watching-the-paint-dry pace.  The only correct part of that statement when referring to Torchlight II are the words “time suck.”  While you will be pouring hours into playing this game, none of it will feel lethargic and your character will fly from quest to quest.  The break neck speed does not cut down on the amount of content or story to experience, in fact, it enhances it by keeping it fresh for you all the time.  It amazes me how Runic Games has managed to expertly blend methodical exploration with on the fly adventuring all at the same time.

Combat is Not Just Point and Click

Combat in Torchlight II is not just limited to just clicking an enemy and hacking him up.  You can choose to take things a step farther by capitalizing on the skills unique to the class of fighter you choose.  Tank and support fighters will appreciate the unyielding power of the Engineer class.  Engineers not only take damage well but can dish it out and heal their party members with the cute little healer bots.  Berserkers, a class that relies on hand to hand combat, can break up the monotony of melee and activate a sort of spirit magic that transforms them into a beastly wolf.  The fact that no class suffers significant speed, strength, or magical disadvantages makes combat the most enjoyable part of the game.

Pets are Not Just for Show

Who’s a good panther, who’s a good panther?

Runic Games sent all your pets to a top notch obedience school in Torchlight II, which has made the little critters indispensible allies.  Whether you prefer paling around with a wolf, a panther, a Papillon, a hawk, or what-have-you ‒ they all will fight by your side, hold onto your heavy loot, and run errands for you.  I never understand why so many RPGs make you take the boring trip back to town to restock right when you are in the thick of the action.  Your faithful pet will dutifully do this for you as long as you put a few items on it’s shopping list to go purchase.  He or she will run to town, sell off your excess loot, and use the profits to spend on buying your dearly needed supplies.

A Dungeon Crawler That’s Not Wall to Wall Brown

Torchlight II has some very lovely outdoor areas and catacombs.  You will not be stuck in the dungeons 24/7 and will have a mix of places to explore.  When you do finally get to your spelunking, what you will encounter will not merely be wall-to-wall brown.  Dazzling bits and bobs of glowing objects and location specific scenery will make your underground adventuring a visual treat.  Such elegant touches help imbue copious amounts of life in otherwise morbid environments.

Online Play that Does Not Nag You

Ladies, check out his cannon…

The online feature is not a mandatory one in Torchlight II.  You can in fact shut off your internet connection and still get your fill of the fun with nary a nag message in sight.  Eventually you will probably want to log on to play with your friends and game buddies.  Picking or setting up a server with your specific preferences is an exercise that you will finish in seconds.  Loot hoarders will definitely have their place amongst the team because all drops on the online servers are instanced to each particular player.  So you will never have to go through the embarrassing ordeal of arguing with your buddy that just snagged his 12th set of rare platelegs.  The only thing to be wary of when entering this mode are the tons of Leeroy Jenkins moments you will encounter due to the ramped up difficulty.

A Few Gripes Worth Mentioning

There are a few kinks in the works that mar what essentially is a perfect RPG experience in Torchlight II.  You do not have access to a grand overworld map and are limited to just the area you currently are in.  I often like to see a view of all the continents I will travel amongst as it lets me frame the locations of quest better as well as find teammates easier.  The game camera is not necessarily finicky but I am slightly perplexed why it is locked in place and cannot be rotated.  Rotation often helps you get a better view of the battlefield and lets you prepare for oncoming attackers from all angles.  Finally, pets in the game, while incredibly useful, just cannot cut the mustard with higher level mobs.  It gets old fast when you hear the, “your pet is wounded,” message play constantly in the background.

Despite the quirks, Torchlight II is a game that RPG fans have long waited for.  It gives you double the content for half the price and double the joy for much less hassle.  I hope to see the RPG community truly embrace this game that executes the fundamentals of a classic RPG so well.  With the promise of unrestricted modability, hours of exploration, and just plain funness Torchlight II is easily a contender for best RPG of the year.  See you online everyone.

 


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Mitra Faridian

Mitra Faridian

Editor and Co-Administrator
Mitra Faridian first joined the site in 2011 under the handle “Persian Poetess.” Since then she has become one of Dragonblogger’s most active videographers. She is a regular on the Dragonblogger YouTube channel and has produced several high quality video game and product reviews. Her gaming and entertainment taste is very eclectic and she’s always open to a fun new virtual experience. Email her at the following address: mitra [at] dragonblogger.com
Mitra Faridian
Mitra Faridian
  • Fr0styNinja

    @persianpoetess ermahgerd!

  • cfisher2833

    Ah, damn it–you broke Torchlight 2′s perfect record! Every other place was giving it perfect scores! lol

    • persianpoetess

       @cfisher2833 Ultimately, I feel it is superb and certainly an excellent effort.  I just feel the above issues I mentioned slightly take away from what is otherwise a top notch RPG experience.

      • cfisher2833

         @persianpoetess I am just kidding with you, and most of your complaints seem to just stem from not being particularly enthralled with ARPG norms (I don’t think I’ve ever played an ARPG that allows you to rotate the isometric cam).  Still a very good review though :)

        • http://www.dragonblogger.com/ Dragon Blogger

           @cfisher2833  @persianpoetess I only played Torchlight on the Xbox 360 but the local mulitplayer was fun and one thing I like about Xbox vs PC, for ARPG games playing together in person as a group where you can talk, joke and just have a good time was always appealing since Gauntlet days.

  • http://www.dragonblogger.com/ Dragon Blogger

    If only I could pull myself away from Guild Wars 2 to test the game, but Guild Wars 2 has it’s hold on me for now.

    • persianpoetess

       @Dragon Blogger There are too many good games to sink our teeth into this year!

  • Student

    You should set your pet to defensive or even passive otherwise it will just agro everything and get wounded, that’s really common sense in the harder difficulties and endgame. The games camera is locked (well you can still zoom in) as it means you can cut down on the geometry, run on lower hardware (e.g. netbooks), enables more realistic procedural content (which is a big feature of re-playability), speed up development (faster level building – this game was made in 2 years not 10 years!) and it allows for better hiding for secrets etc (of which the beta had many!) Such a disappointment for 4.5* instead of 5*. Finally *bump* $20!!!

    • persianpoetess

      My pet was set to defensive.  Poor fella was just trying to run away but enemies were taking chunks out of his flesh anyway.

      • Student

         @persianpoetess Do some more fishing then to get a giant ice angel equivalent or teach them some heal spells etc; anyway if pets are one of the points to reduce a review by half a star, would you prefer no pet!? You yourself said “while incredibly useful” – I think runic did an excellent job with them… shopping lists, selling loot, enhancements, gear….  Also, offtopic: should a “pet” be cutting the mustard with higher level mobs anyway? I thought they were just meant to be pets, not mercs or your multilayer lan buddies o.O

        • persianpoetess

          Oh yeah, I’m totally suiting up my lovely panther, spells and all.  Poor Tiger Lilly, that’s her name, she’s a trooper but yeah I rely on her like a second fighter.  Ah well, I really did quite love the game.  These are really just my preferences.  No reviewer can avoid stating their preferences in a critique.  As I stated in the review, it’s totally worth the purchase price, and people should not pass on this game.

  • http://www.youtube.com/Jon0fAllTrades JonOfAllTrades

    Never played the first Torchlight but excited to play this one!