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Torchlight II review for PC

Platform: PC
Publisher: Runic Games
Developer: Runic Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-6
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

If you’ve been looking for a video game that’ll absolutely devour every waking moment you have, then you need look no further than Runic Games Torchlight II. The long-awaited follow up to their wildly successful action RPG from 2009, Torchlight II delivers more of the same loot hoarding, fantasy style, action RPG gameplay found in the first game, but with a handful of refinements and one big addition of online and local co-op. The co-op angle is certainly one of the most noteworthy additions, and something fans have been clamoring for since the original game, and I’m happy to say that outside of a few kinks, co-op works pretty well.

And the rest of the game is an absolute joy to play. Even if you opt to play through the game solo, which I tend to do in these types of games, you’ll get a ton of enjoyment out of Torchlight II, which is impressive considering its low asking price. For $20 you’re getting an experience that easily rivals, if not trumps in some areas, another particularly high profile, $60 game within the same genre. Torchlight II delivers in spades when it comes to world content, exploration, and loot. SO. MUCH. LOOT.

The plot for Torchlight II isn’t exactly its selling point, but it does the job of getting your character, selected across four classes, out into the world and exploring the randomly generated maps and dungeons. The four classes, Berzerker, Engineer, Embermage, and Outlander, provide some pretty distinct play styles, with hefty skill trees to explore throughout the 100 level cap. That’s right, 100 levels, meaning that you can devote a whole  lot of time to each character if you’re willing to do so, and the end result will net you a whole lot of skill points to distribute, allowing a lot of freedom to explore the three skill trees for each class.

The skill trees make a lot of room for that number of skill points as well, with each ability typically allowing around 15 points to be dumped into it, with most abilities incorporating multiple tiers. So after hitting tier 2 or 3 you’ll gain some type of boost to that ability that’ll make it generally better than before. There’s still a level cap in place for abilities, so you can’t necessarily min/max, but you’ll have no trouble finding something worthwhile to do with that recently earned point.

Leveling also comes fast and furious. The benefit to having such a large leveling cap right out of the gate is that the game isn’t afraid to let you ding on up to a new level on a pretty frequent basis. This just adds to that carrot on a stick feeling that’s already present by the ridiculous amount of worthwhile loot that drops nearly every time you kill any kind of named mob, and helps to keep you interested in the game for that much longer. It’s no joke when I say that you’ll have a hell of a time pulling yourself away from the game, and you’ll easily let hours of time slip by throughout each session.

The only arena that Torchlight II doesn’t shine as strongly in as its competitors is that the combat can feel a little flat and under-produced. Without some more face time with other classes, I’ve been using a Berzerker as my main here, I’m not sure if this applies strictly to the melee in the game, but there’s an oomph lacking to fights in Torchlight II that does cause my interest to wander a bit. This is less from the abilities, which there are plenty to check out, and more from the audio/visual side of the game. Knocking my axe, sword, or claw fists against any sort of monster never seems to carry any kind of weight to it, and feels like something akin to plastic toys smacking against each other. There’s just a lack of production value in the combat system that surprisingly hinders the overall feel of the game, and is something that sorely needs to be enhanced.

But again, that’s my experience based solely on being a melee focused player. It’s a bit of letdown considering that the rest of the game is so damn good, but considering that Runic Games managed to knock it out of the park in every other aspect, it’s a weird thing to notice and stands out in comparison to the rest of the quality found in the game.

Outside of that, I’m pretty much in love with Torchlight II. It provides me with more loot whoring action than I can shake a stick at, and doles out a much bigger, more refined experience than the original managed to do. The inclusion of online co-op and offline co-op via LAN is certainly fantastic, but the game is still a blast even if you opt to play through it solo. It’ll continue to provide me with hours upon hours of fun, and I look forward to exploring the game more fully in coming months. Definitely pick this one up if you haven’t already, it really shouldn’t be missed.

Grade: A