DOING IT ALL FOR LOOT AND FAME
Had a bad day at the office? Was your boss all bossy? Are all your clients idiots? Don’t even get me started on colleagues!
Then here’s something for you: How about slaying a bunch of monsters? Just for fun?
Now, seriously: Torchlight II is everything Diablo III wanted to be. No need to stay online in single-player – mode, no annoying battle.net – subscription and the single-player campaign doesn’t end after 12 hours. And it’s fun! I really tried to find something, that I didn’t like and the few things I came up with are hardly worth mentioning. Torchlight II is a pretty straightforward hack’n’slay – RPG. Your character goes out for fame and loot – that’s what the package says and that’s exactly what you get.
Gameplay: You can pick from four different character classes, choose an animal companion (you can have a ferret … with goggles! How cute is that?) and there you go, fighting your way through different regions to stop evil where you find it. To do so, you can equip different weapons, most of them are your typical fantasy weapons like swords, crossbows, staffs and such – but you also can get firearms. I am not a big fan of firearms in that kind of game though, so I didn’t use those very much. And since I played the mage-class, I didn’t have much use for them either, because I could do spells. (And what kind of mage carries a firearm?)
Spells on the other hand are great. There are three different types of element spells (fire, ice, lightning) and each spell-tree has its own assortment of effects. It’s usually wise to pick your spells very carefully, have some AoE-spells as well as buffs and weakening spells and of course the gold ol’ fireball. After the first region I thought about upping the difficulty, but that would have been a bad idea, because the number and the abilities of the enemies increase drastically – not so much, that you couldn’t manage, but enough, that you’re really glad, that you can carry about 100 healing potions. If you’re out of them, you can send your companion to town to purchase more and to sell all the crap you picked up on the way. (How the small ferret can carry like 30 long weapons is beside the point though.)
This sending-the-animal-to-town – thing is one the features I liked the most – it saves a lot of time. While fighting all these nasty and creative monsters you find in the various dungeons, you’ll level up rather quickly – which is nice, because now you get to go to yet more dungeons and beat yet more monsters and thus get a sense of achievement … and satisfaction – and this is why we’re playing this game, right?
As for the story … there is one, I know, because it introduced itself via some cutscenes and all the main NPCs are talking about it, but it really stays in the background – or maybe I didn`t listen or watch the cartoony, anime-like animations carefully enough … nevermind, this is not, why we’re here (the package says so, again.) The actual setting or genre on the other hand seemed not all that clear to me (from just playing the game). It has some typical fantasy elements like magic and the looks of the cities and areas, but there also seemed to be some steampunk-like parts … like the firearms and the whole engineer-class … I found it kind of … strange, but that’s certainly a question of personal taste.
Controls and combat: What’s to say … controls are intuitive and so is combat. Combat is basically clicking faster than your enemy can react, there is no pause or slowmo-function and no combat-rounds, so it’s all very fast – which is nice, we can’t always get tactical depth and we don’t always want to, now do we? You have to choose your abilities or spells according to the respected weakness of your opponent(s), which is conveniently displayed next to the monster’s name on top of the screen … very helpful.
Graphics are nice and run smoothly even on my not so up-to-date – graphics card. The whole game is very colorful, very detailed, especially the design of the dungeons and the monsters. The artists came up with lots and lots of different styles for their dungeons … there are snowy, mystic ones, mechanical-themed ones (with nasty traps) and – my favorite – really icky ones with slimy monsters and stuff. The same can be said for the monsters themselves … really cool-looking, very creative, very detailed – nice!
Did I mention, I liked this game? I did, but I am actually not so sure why – besides that it’s fun to slay monsters of course. It’s fast, it’s colorful, it’s sometimes really crazy (which is all good), it sure has its annoying moments and it basically looks like a modern hack’n’slay – game is supposed to look – so if you’re into that kind of game, you will like Torchlight II better than Diablo III (but who doesn’t?), because they’ve been doing a lot of things right and very, very few things almost right. So go forth – slay!