Review: Torchlight II delivers a fantastic experience from beginning to end
Fun. Addictive. Consistent. Action-packed. These are all words that describe Torchlight II and it’s not hard to see why one would think so considering what the game attempts to do, it does well. Although the dungeon-based loot genre saw a massive increase in interest due to Diablo III’s release earlier this year, Torchlight II is a remedy for those that found problems with the former game. Packing in all of the bang that the genre is known for and streamlining many features while maintaining complexities for a measly 20 dollars might be a steal, even for those wary of the genre, so should you dive in?
From the get-go, you have the option to choose one of four distinct classes. Whether you play as a magic user or a ranged damage dealer, it’s hard to go wrong as no class feels boring or useless. It’s all about what type of character you want to play. If you feel melee is up your alley then choose an Engineer or a Berserker and if that’s not your cup of tea then you have two other classes to choose from!
Even within your designated class, you have an abundance of skills to choose from to specialize your character. This allows for you to play with the same character over and over again and not get bored since you only have so many skill points you can use for your character. While Torchlight II doesn’t penalize you for unlocking random skills - there are few skill trees for each class - you’ll get the most damage and utility if you find an efficient build and stick to it. This doesn’t mean that one should focus on a cookie cutter build that he or she finds online but promotes experimentation and messing around. After all, one didn’t find excellent builds without trying things out.
The various skills that you find are one way to customize your character but another deep and intricate part of the system are the stats that you allot when you level up. You get five skill points every single time you do and dedicating these points are just as important as you dedicating skill points for your skill tree. Just like the aforementioned system, the stat points are there for your experimentation. If you’re an Embermage, it’s highly encouraged that you focus on Focus considering this is the primary damage stat for this class. On the other hand, if you really want to, you can also build a tankier character with Vitality - though it’s not advised.
Of course, a loot-based game wouldn’t be anything without loot and in Torchlight II, the amount of loot you get is awesome. Searching for loot in games sometimes feels like a chore as 90% your drops are often standard items with the remaining percentage being the more rare items. This means that the rarest of items are hard to come by. This isn’t the case with Torchlight II. While you will be working and “farming” for good loot, the rates are good enough that you’ll feel the urge to keep on looking for more loot. It’s balanced out so that the players won’t feel too depressed about getting useless items and getting that “OH MY GOSH IT’S SO AMAZING” item. It also helps that the items you get are often times more useful than not.
The usefulness of the item is great due to the sheer variety of items that your characters can use. Although there are level or stat requirements - which works phenomenally due to it being either/or- every class has a variety of weapons to use or armor equipment that’s always useful. The only items that are truly useless are the ones you don’t care about and in that sense, the game rewards you every single time an item drops.
In order to acquire loot you must be prepared for battle, but more importantly you must fight effectively. The combat in the game is a simple point-and-click system, as true for any game in the genre, utilizing mouse clicks for standard attacks and button keys for skills. You can map any of your skills to any of the number keys, or delegate them for items. It’s fairly standard and Torchlight II doesn’t mix it up in that regard.