Gaming Week 33: Torchlight 2 (PC)

Gaming Week 33: Torchlight 2 (PC)
This is the screen you’re greeted with every time you start up Torchlight 2. You have to log into Runic’s servers in the bottom right corner to play online with others.

I have fond memories of Torchlight on the 360, but after playing it for 14+ hours and 100% the game, I couldn’t help but feel a little deflated that there wasn’t more. Torchlight 2 came out 6 months after my first review, but due to other games and other things happening in my life, I gave it a pass as I knew I wouldn’t be able to give it the time and attention it deserved. Finally, I got Torchlight 2 for £4.99 when it was on sale in March, but even then I put playing it off until I had someone else to play with. I can safely say, that as of this week, I have played Torchlight 2 from start to finish.

Battles can get quite intense, making it difficult to see your own player amongst all the fireworks and gibs.

You start Torchlight 2 as you did the first game: selecting a class and a pet to go on your adventure with. From here, you get introduced to the main narrative that’ll keep you adventuring throughout the campaign, which consists of a very strong, evil Alchemist (the same one you could play as in the first Torchlight) being overwhelmed by the same evil that corrupted the caves under the original town of Torchlight. You start your epic quest just after Torchlight is destroyed, and you must embark on a adventure trying to put a stop to the alchemist as he makes his way across the world disturbing the peace. Not a bad set up by any means, I just wish the cut scenes were better narrated and higher fidelity to properly portray the story, as it stands, the cut scenes feel disconnected to the main campaign.

One of the biggest differences you’ll find with Torchlight 1 and 2 is the new addition of multiplayer. You can’t miss it, a runic account being the first thing Torchlight 2 asks you to create when you first get into the game, it ensures that all players are able to connect to multiplayer if they so wish. I’d hugely recommend it if you have a internet connection, as without other people, torchlight 2 feels a bit empty and joyless. Levels are huge and vast, with plenty of enemies to take on and kill for all that sweet XP, but without someone to share this XP and experience with, Torchlight 2 feels like a empty shell of a game that could of been so much more. Multiplayer works by wondering the whole world with each other, players are able to go into separate areas, and play the game as if they were alone, with the addition of trading and XP sharing to add (XP sharing only happens if you’re both in the same area, kill enemies in separate areas, and the other player doesn’t get anything.)

The fantastic method of storing items with your pet has returned, even allowing you to send them back to town with the junk you want to sell, it was innovative back in Torchlight 1, and it continues to be a fantastic idea in Torchlight 2.

Item management is still a pleasure in Torchlight 2; It’s very fast and easy to sort through all the junk you get on an adventure, and certainly helps you turn items into gold as and when you’d like. Most items can be worn by all classes, which means its very rare to get items that you can’t use. This feature was great for trading, as I was a berserker, and my brother was a mage, so we traded back and forth with staff’s and melee weapons. I can imagine playing this alone may make item drops a bit more boring, but as a whole, the item system works fantastic for a loot game like Torchlight 2.

Combat has changed slightly from the old Torchlight 1, with the control system becoming more akin to Diablo than a third person game. This may be in part, due to the fact Torchlight 2 is PC only, requiring a mouse to move your character around, and for every action in the whole game. If needed, you don’t even need to use your keyboard to perform actions; a single click on the bar at the bottom will cast a spell or skill. It’s a small change, and one I’m still not sure I like yet, but is a move in the right direction to becoming less of a action/adventure game and more of a RPG. Combat entails using the mouse to click on anything you want doing: be it clicking on an enemy to continue attacking them, to clicking on loot to pick it all up, its simple, and brings the RPG game back to it’s roots. My berserker character was certainly equipped and ready for what the campaign had in store for him, meaning I only died a handful of times throughout the campaign. Skills were powerful, but not too powerful to break the gameplay, inviting for some creative ways to take on bosses towards the end game. (My favourite ability was to freeze a enemy which would increase my attack on them by 34% for 4 seconds.)

Quests are narrated, giving a nice feel to Torchlight 2. Most of the story and quests are boring, but for most people, that’s not the reason they’re playing Torchlight 2.

In conclusion, Torchlight 2 is more of the same, but with elements that have transformed the feel to appeal to a wider audience. Is it worth the £14.99 asking price? My 20 hours of gametime is certainly a testament to how engaging it can truly be, albeit make sure to experience this with friends, playing alone I could only muster an hour or two before getting quite bored.


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