Torchlight II review: kiss your life goodbye

I could easily just come out and say: “Forget all the other isometric RPG games, just go download Torchlight 2 from Steam and enjoy.” and be done with this review. The game is THAT good, and I’m not even an isometric RPG expert. Hell, I’m not even a fan! But after playing Torchlight 2 for about 8 hours over the week-end I can attest to the greatness of the game.

The last time a non sports game had captivated and involved me so deeply was when Warcraft II was launched in the 1990s.

Graphics

The graphics can be fantastic if your system specs are good enough, or they can be very good if you have an older graphics card or a laptop (or standalone PC) with Intel integrated graphics. I’ve run it on my dedicated gaming PC on an Eyevision 3 monitor setup on my ATI 6970 and it looks like heaven came down and left a bunch of angels behind.

Core2Duo@3.6Ghz with ATI 6970 in 3 screen Eyefinity mode showing Torchlight 2

I’ve also run it on Cookie’s Gateway ZX 6800 all in one PC which is built for office and Internet applications even though it has a Core2Quad processor in it. Torchlight 2 looks great and is very playable despite the lower resolution and integrated Intel graphics adapter. Essentially there is no reason why most recent PC or laptop shouldn’t be able to run this game at least playably. Of course your mileage may vary and it’s better to observe the recommended specs from the game developers.

That was from a technical point of view, from an artistic point of view the game is brightly colored, almost cheerful at times, or dark and gloomy depending on the area you’re in. The backgrounds vary greatly and are different enough from one another that they’re hard to confuse. The animations are smooth and beautiful, in fact the whole game is gorgeous. It does have a cartoony feel to it which isn’t bad, it’s just cartoony.

Gameplay

In a word sensational. The gaming system is prefectly balanced, I’ve died at almost every level I’ve been at, sometimes repeatedly until I eventually decided to go back to the open country and kill a few lesser minions and ‘up’ my level, then returning to the blockade point and getting passed it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not in any way an easy game, even at the normal level. It’s just challenging enough to keep you playing.

The animal companions are so much fun that they are almost worth the entire 20$ entry price just by themselves, you are offered eight animal choices to pick from. They range from dogs (three types) to a tiny dragon, a ferret, two felines and a hawk. The most fun is had by fishing (!) and feeding the fish to your animal companion, which in turn will transform into a raging beast for 5 minutes, assisting you in more effective ways than the normal bulldog could.

YouTube Preview Image

The items are mostly the standard items found in most RPG games, except that Torchlight 2 has some firearms, pistols, cannons and shotgunnes are in the game as well as several impact weapons like axes, hammers and fist claws. The rest is pretty much standard with the usual suspects including enchanted items, socketable items, stones for the aforementioned socketable items, matching sets of items and naturally consumables like potions, scrolls and fish!

 

The controls are almost perfect except that the default layout is strange, switching among weapon sets for instance is set to the W key instead of being mapped to the more immediately obvious center mouse button (scroll button) and the scroll button zooms the view in and out which is often quite useless. I’ve found that once you find your perfect zoom, it’s usually pretty permanent.

The health/mana systems are almost identical to the ones in Torchlight with some tweaks depending on the character class you decide to pick.

Character classes

There are four character classes to pick from, Outlander, Wielder, Embermage and Engineer. All four come in interchangeable sexes and all four look and feel great. The Outlander has become my favorite for now, but who knows? Maybe when I replay it, I’ll switch to an engineer.

Final thoughts

Torchlight 2 is as close as possible to a perfect isometric RPG without going over into the overcomplicated realm of AD&D. There are lots of things to look at, plenty of loot to choose from, I’ve spent 15 minutes at times, trying to decide if I was better off with a pair of pants that allowed 10% better attack from my pet, or another pair of pants that automatically regenarated my health at a set speed, only to then decide on a third pair of pants, based on the sole premise that “they look awesome on my character.”  Essentially once you try Torchlight 2, you’ll find yourself forgetting time and space, and food, and friends, and Facebook, your mom, that squirrel that got into your kitchen, everything else.

You’ll be consumed by this game as it slowly takes up 100% of your life.

Boston Terrier

-Enthralling gameplay

-Excellent graphics even on lesser systems

-Pets and fishing

-Priced to sell (20$ on Steam)

-Large maps

-Lots of action, no real ‘dead’ time except when tweaking your character\

-Pets and fishing

-Great main and side quests

-Music and sound effects are excellent

-Did I mention the pets and fishing? Hell there’s no fishing even in the Sims but there is in Torchlight 2!

Poodle

-Sometimes confusing keyboard shortcuts

-Hard to find if you don’t have Steam (haven’t seen any retail copies in any stores.)

9/10

 

About the author: Luca Colonnese

 

Limited production techno music, fiction and comedy. Actually, very limited. To follow on Twitter: Child of Gla55

Website: http://www.childofglass.ca

 

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