It doesn’t take much to see that the original Torchlight was clearly inspired by Diablo. From the character types, combat, looting, and even how items pop out of treasure chests with the same wobble sound effect, the Torchlight series was clearly aiming to put their own spin on what made Diablo great. With Torchlight II, it feels exactly like the original only bigger, making it seem like the original was patched with a large amount of DLC. Not that this should be viewed negatively as this is some of the finest loot based action RPG goodness available today.
Watch me play some of Torchlight II with my embedded stream below:
The gameplay loop of Torchlight II is simple but addictive. Selecting between a few different character classes, the player is tasked with venturing across vast lands, positioned to kill throngs of enemies by using both standard and special attacks, find loot, level up, unlock a ton of abilities, and repeat until the credits roll. What makes this loop engaging is the nonstop leveling and loot scrounging. Almost constantly, new weapons, armor, and even attachments for your pet companion are dropped. In fact, this almost becomes Torchlight II’s biggest downfall as at times there is too much loot. Most of it is garbage that is used to sell for gold but the player still needs to filter through this stuff every few minutes. It also seems like leveling up happens every few minutes as well, forcing the player to navigate the inventory and stat screen regularly. By the time I was halfway done with the quest, I waited until I couldn’t hold any more items before I started the tedium that can be inventory management. The player is almost in the menu as much as the actual gameplay.
Luckily, even when playing solo, the player is never alone thanks to the thoughtful pet ally. Acting as man’s best friend, the pet is very smart as they actually attack and kill enemies, don’t get awkwardly stuck on the environment, and can be loaded with unwanted loot and sent back to town to sell everything. Without this helper pet, the inventory management would be much too tedious to be forced to travel back to town every 10 minutes just to unload unwanted loot. Also, the player now has the option to play co-op online with up to three other buddies. However, it is often difficult to enter a game with a random who is the same level as you, often causing the player to miss parts of the story, get bored with enemies that are too easy, or get frustrated with baddies that are over leveled. Online play also has occasional frame rate issues too.
It is also worth mentioning that each world is massively huge. Without the mini map to guide the player, there would be no way to navigate spaces this large. The player also walks at a brisk speed, making traversal easy and quick even when needing to backtrack. The game also makes it as easy as possible for the player by providing portals back to town exactly when the player needs them.
Like the original, Torchlight II is a good old fashion action RPG that is fun solo or if playing with a couple dedicated friends. With so much loot, it nears Borderland’s ridiculousness and actually becomes annoying to constantly vet through all the junk in the menu system to find the rare good item. It is also recommended to start the game on the highest difficulty setting as I was able to stream roll pretty much everything on the medium setting when playing solo and actually started to get boring just button mashing everything. But even with obviously flaws, Torchlight II provided more entertainment value than Blizzard’s Diablo III.
Also Try: the Champions of Norrath games on PS2
Remember: Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes on the original Xbox
Wait For It: a Diablo compilation on console that combines the first two games