"Torchlight II Does What Diablo III Don't"
There was a reason Diablo II became such an addictive, long lasting, favorite among fans. It wasn't about 400-hour long stories with FMVs, huge advancements in gameplay or graphics, but solid character building around loot hoarding and an overall bare-bones ideal and philosophy. This story ends sadly however, because it was technology which finally caught up with the Diablo series. Diablo III was lost in a muddled mess of DRM and dictated by the "advances" of online gaming and thus failed to achieve the grandness of Diablo II. Enter Torchlight II, Runic Games' ARPG (action RPG) which finds the hole Diablo III created and tears it open wide making itself known.
Torchlight II, at its heart, is a basic, almost retro (without seeming old) ARPG. Torchlight II is all about killing monsters, getting loot, killing more monsters, getting more loot, and building your character up so that you can kill even more monsters and get even more loot. And you ask why… Why is this so addicting? Random loot drops, heavy and lightning quick character building, fast-paced RPG action… overall, I don't know, it just somehow works. It may be partly that your character progression in Torchlight II is like a rocket launch: it just keeps going and going, soaring higher and higher and never stopping until it hits the atmosphere (instead of the long grind of an MMORPG). And loot, baby, loot! It's all about that loot! Bigger, badder swords, stronger armor, better items, gold, and that one rare item you may or may not get.
Torchlight II sheds everything that makes a game complicated: online passes or company accounts, DRM, Auction House madness, and well, even the story is almost absolutely missing (which, for a game like this is a good thing). On top of this, the great character design and overall aesthetics stand out in the best way possible. The design is cartoony, yet beautiful, and it still finds a way to work in a world of such ramped killing and violence. Torchlight II looks great, and it's due to artistic talent more than powerful graphics. This, of course, is great for anyone whose PC isn't up to par with the latest equipment.
With plenty of character rolling choices, a pet which you can use to send off your extra items, and gear that can be upgraded with ability slots by finding certain items, Torchlight II may be simple, but it doesn't hold back on the things that make an ARPG great.
Single-player may be addicting enough, but when it comes to multiplayer, there's no end to the addiction. Online play is as easy to get into and use as any game I've ever seen. There is no long drawn-out setup here, just as with the single-player game, you are thrown into the online madness as quick as a finger snap. Every player will be able to grab a fair share of their own unique loot and nothing ever becomes frustrating or annoying. Runic has taken previous experiences from these types of games and perfected it. They realized that just because you can do something (I'll say it again: auction house), doesn't mean you should. This is why Torchlight II, even online, remains a basic, addictive, and in a way, nearly perfect game.
So with all this praise, is there anything bad about Torchlight II? As I've been saying, Torchlight II is a game stripped down to the most basics, yet leaving the best parts behind. So really, this is a personal opinion. If you absolutely have to have the best graphics, insane amounts of online interfaces and options, long stories and dozens of FMVs, then Torchlight II won't be for you. However, if you like raw, perfected ARPG gameplay, then there is no better place to be. Also, if you still can't make up your mind, Torchlight II has a hell of a demo you can download!
GameDynamo's Score for Torchlight II (PC)
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