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Torchlight II Review (Page 2)

Updated Fri, Sep 21, 2012 by gunky

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Multiplayer

87Very Good

Torchlight II is two games in one: the single-player and the multi-player. The two ways-to-play have a strikingly different feel and definitively change the way the game is experienced. Multi-player can take place over LAN or Internet. Players can connect to multi-player games (or create their own) through the lobby. Multi-player games can be created at any difficulty level for up to 6 players, and you can take your game in single-player doses when your friends aren't around. Happily, difficulty is scaled up on the fly, meaning if a friend ports back to town, health points and armor will immediately be adjusted accordingly.

Like any great co-op game, T2 is fun solo, but much more fun with friends.

Multiplayer comes in one flavor only: co-operative PvE. Co-op play is a straightforward matter of rollin' with your crew and beating up bad guys. While the ability to trade is finally in, players will only ever see their own loot and not the stuff belonging to other players. So if player A opens up a chest, and players B and C are standing by watching, the chest will spawn 3 separate instances of loot - one each for players A, B and C. 

T2's multi-player turns your character from a solo artist to one of the MMO's Holy Trinity - Tank, DPS, Heals. Berserkers, with their heavy armor and self-heals, are the obvious choice for tanks. Engineers can drop heal-bots, and are the only class actually capable of healing other players. Embermages and Outlanders are both straight DPS. Really, though, each of these classes is meant to be able to run the entire game solo, so the Holy Trinity roles are easily switched up through the standard three branch skill tree.

Even at level 20, you never have to worry about looking less than unique or badass in front of your friends (disco pants aside).

Pets take on a more important role in co-op play. In multiplayer, the pet is more like mobile storage, trash disposal and automated grocery delivery system. When your bags fill up in the middle of a dungeon and you don't want to abandon the action, just dump your trash on your pet and send him to town with a shopping list. He runs off, vendors your loot, picks up the supplies you ordered and returns a minute or two later with your coin and supplies. The ability to save the mid-dungeon loot-hauls without inertia-killing town trips is priceless.

The multiplayer lobby will be familiar to anyone who has played an online game in the past 10 years, and the Steam integration is simply a matter of tying your Steam account to your Runic account. Having done so, you'll never need to worry about saving your games again (though files are backed up locally if you can't connect to Steam cloud for whatever reason). Filters at the top allow the player to search for games by name, level or difficulty, or for only the games their friends are playing. The lobby comes with a handy friends list on the left side, but actual interaction with that list is rather limited - clicking on the name only gives you the option to unfriend or block that player. It does not tell you where that friend is playing, or show any details about the character he is currently using.

Internet games are hosted on Runic's servers rather than locally. This impacts a couple of things - first, you will need to keep your client patched and current, or no games will show on the list at all; secondly, it means that people running behind wonky firewall/router/proxy setups can host games for their friends without having to reconfigure their labyrinthine security settings to allow other players to see their games.

Torchlight II fishing Torchlight II fishing with dynamite

Fishing grants food to transform your pet into powerful beasts, but if minigames aren't for you, just chuck some dynamite (right), forego the really rare fishing finds, and get rewards in a stack.

Value

100Superb

Torchlight II is a 20-dollar game that plays like a 40-dollar game with another 20-dollar game attached. The single-player game is one you can play through at least 4 times and get a new-feeling game each time. And it's huge - depending on the difficulty setting, some of the early dungeons can take an hour or more to clear, and the world maps are fairly enormous. It's easy to put a lot of hours into T2. Add the multi-player game to that - it really does feel like a different game - and you're getting a lot of bang for your sawbuck.

Lasting Appeal

100Superb

Part of Torchlight II's outstanding value is its lasting appeal. The campaign is easily two to three times of the length of the 20 hour original, and, when you finish that, you can simply randomize the maps, up the difficulty to Elite or Game Plus (Runic's system to intelligently scaling the game for any skill, gear, and level up to the 100 level cap) and randomize all maps for a new experience while keeping your hard-won gear and gems. Beating the game also opens up a random map room where you can your buds can roll through entirely new dungeon areas.

While our policy is to review games as they launch, I should mention that Runic Games plans to roll out GUTS, the Torchlight II map editor, around three weeks after launch, just as they did for the original Torchlight game with the TorchED editor. A major part of the Torchlight series' charm is its extensive modability, and Runic looks to continue this trend with significant enhancements (such as the ability to mod the UI).

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The graphics match the feel and style of the game, and low system requirements means that just about anyone with a PC purchased in the past 5 or so years can enjoy.
  • A Matt Uelmen soundtrack. Enough said.
  • Fighting pets which sell your stuff and even shop for you keep you and your buds rolling through the dungeons and open world areas.
  • Sparkling co-op, moddability, and excellent replay options extend the experience far beyond the already sizeable campaign.
  • Easily the richest, lowest wattage, and most fun dungeon crawler experience launched in recent memory, at a third of the box price (and seemingly without the launch frustrations) of Diablo III. Or just buy the four-pack for the same price of ~$US 60 and introduce or re-introduce someone to this side of PC gaming.

Cons

  • Pets, while far more functional, lack the character depth of Diablo III's companions.
  • The locked-in isometric perspective feels dated.
  • No PvP areas, arenas, or duels made it to multiplayer.
  • Tutorials tips and misclicked panel elements can inadvertently obscure large parts of the screen, which can be disastrous mid-fight (pro tip: use spacebar to quickly close all panels).
  • Easy and Normal difficulty modes should have been combined into a Story mode, with perhaps a little more challenge tossed into the bargain.

Conclusion

Runic has done it again - delivering a lot of what we love about co-op dungeon crawlers and sparing us most of what we hate, and what's left of the latter will likely be modded away soon. If error 37 left you needing a reason to fall in love with hack-and-slash action RPGs again, this may well be it.

gunky Review at Ten Ton Hammer

  • Game Name: Torchlight II
  • Review Date: September 20th, 2012
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Brightness of Torchlight is looking good. You can use D2 for attack on opponents.

Regards,
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You can't combine embers in Torchlight 2.

um..yes you can..

Actually you can but only after act 2.

technically, you don't combine them, you transmute 3 into a random chaos gem.

Great review - or at least, one I was nodding along to! I've only played for about 4.5 hours, but greatly enjoying it, although I rather agree with the point about the difficulty ratings.

So far this is an excellent game. I've only played just the beginning part of Act I with 2 different classes and I like it better for the most part than Diablo III. That being said, those that love PvP can disregard my assessment since I'm not a big fan of PvP. Not that the game wouldn't be better with it than without it, I just can't say that pvpers will like it since I'm not one. Yet, at least.

"While Diablo III deadens your ulnar nerve and mouse with clickety clicking, simply holding the mouse button over a target will continue the attack in Torchlight II."
You didn't play Diablo III, did you?

I co-reviewed this game with Gunky, and this bit of misinfo was actually my fault. I did play a chunk of D3, and upon logging into D3 again, you guys are right, the same mechanic is in the Diablo series. My apologies.

What I meant to say is that there's something about D3 that deadens my hand, and whatever doesn't seem to be present in T2. I can play T2 for hours on end, but can only take about 15 minutes of D3 at a shot. I think it might be that the pace of gameplay is slower at comparable difficulty settings, and holding down the mouse button while standing in one place might be a a recipe for numbness. Or it could be slumpy posture or any of a number of things, I don't know. All I can tell you is that this is my experience, and your mileage may well vary.

Anyway, I'll make an edit in the review, and since this isn't a score-changing issue, I hope we can leave it at that. Thanks for your comments!

i was going to say the same thing lol....that was one of the mechanics in D3 that i was impressed to see...
not bashing Torchlight at all, but the reviewer has obviously not played D3 at all, because thats a basic thing you find out within the first few seconds of the game...

You could do that in D2 as well.... Youngsters.

The player could not attack multiple targets by move the mouse onto another target without releasing the button in D2, though.

If memory serves me, I had to learn this from reading about it, so maybe he's in the same boat as I. Speaking of which, here's a question for the rest of you that will post comments: How does the PvP in D3 stack up against the kind of PvP you want, and would you like to see Runic add it to Torchlight II?

And for those that say yes to add PvP, how might they go about implementing it with the best possible success and least amount of bugginess / glitching / imbalance possible?

Well considering Blizzard are one of the worst companies when it comes to balancing PVP, they couldn't possibly do worse then them.

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