Thank you so much to Perfect World Entertainment for providing a review code
Disclaimer: Some people have reported game breaking issues with Torchlight II. This review is based off my experiences alone. Please be aware and check other sources as well.
Torchlight II has been around long enough to be a staple of the Action RPG franchise. Much like Diablo, the series is all about taking on hordes of monsters and gathering tons of loot. While Torchlight II may not have the same image that Diablo has crafted for itself, it still manages to be an incredibly entertaining experience and now that it’s available for portable play it’s only gotten better.
Torchlight II’s story revolves around a character from the original Torchlight, the Alchemist. The alchemist was one of the main characters from the original game and has unfortunately, fallen prey to the dark side. The Alchemist now consumed with evil wants to take over the world and it’s up to your character to stop him, by seeking out the 6 elemental guardians. Time is of the essence, so your quest begins now!
If you played the original Torchlight and enjoyed the story, then you’ll probably find some enjoyment with Torchlight II’s. I found the story never really captivated me and most of the time I didn’t feel compelled to know what was going on.
Torchlight II is a 3D top down Action RPG. The game begins with your choice of what you want your character to look like and what class they should be. There are 4 available classes to choose from, each one being very different from the others. For example the Engineer is a heavy hitter that can summon robots to help him in combat, while the Ember Mage is adept in multiple types of magic.
The entire game is divided into different sections and areas. They can all be explored freely and without limit. You can find quests, treasure, and dungeons no matter where you’re exploring.
Torchlight II’s combat is centered around basic melee attacks and skills. You can bind every skill, attack, or item to a button on your controller. Every ability requires Mana to be used and often has a cooldown associated with it. As much as you might want to just mash every button to massacre enemies, Torchlight II requires a certain degree of strategy to be successful.
There are main quests to follow that advance the narrative of the game, but there are also tons of sidequests. This is not a game that wants you continuously moving on with the story. You’re encouraged to explore and take on sidequests to gain experience and better your equipment. If you try to only complete the storyline quests you will end up being a much lower level than the game recommends.
Many of the quests revolve around going down into dungeons and defeating a powerful enemy or retrieving key items. Once a quest is finished, you can return to the quest NPC and receive one of 3 possible rewards that the NPC has available.
Enemies in Torchlight II are deeply varied and it’s one of the best aspects of the game. You can find an abundance of different foes whose skills range from close combat to long range attacks. Enemies are broken up into a few different categories. The normal enemies you can find anywhere you go and will suddenly appear out of every nook and cranny you find. The next level of enemy is a Champion which is a normal enemy that’s stronger and may have its own unique ability. You can also tell them apart by their purple name. Finally, there are the bosses which are completely unique and absolutely vile creatures. Bosses are scripted into the main story, so you’ll have no choice, but to take them on.
As you gain experience your character will level up. When you level up you’re given one skill point and 5 stat points. The skill point can be added to unlock or upgrade an existing ability. Reaching higher levels unlocks new ability options that you can choose to learn. After a skill receives 5 upgrades, it will reach a new tier, which will provide extra bonuses to that skill. Your stat points can be used to upgrade one of your 4 stats: Strength, Dexterity, Focus, and Vitality. Each one corresponds to certain bonuses such as more health, better critical hit chances and more. It’s important to focus on what stats you feel best suit your character, because that may dictate what you can equipped as well.
A great way to describe Torchlight II is by calling it a “loot em up”. Every enemy you slay, or chest you open will drop some type of item. There’s multiple different types of weapons and armor you can find from headgear, to leg gear and even rings. Every piece of equipment has its own stats and abilities that come with it. Weapons are unique as they have different damage outputs and also different attack speeds. Luckily, these two factors get combined together and give every weapon one overall value. Weapons can also come with unique traits such as elemental damage, chance to hit multiple enemies or a chance to stun enemies.
If you want to add new traits to your weapons you can find gemstones that can enchant your weapons. It acts as a way to increase the strength of weapons you already own and that work well with your playstyle.
Torchlight II gives you a companion for the entirety of the game in the form of a pet. You get to choose a pet at the very beginning and there’s lots of them to choose from including a dog, cat, or even a panda. The Nintendo Switch version even has an exclusive pet, but I’ll let you figure out what it is.
Your pet can help you in combat and even learn spells that give useful buffs in combat. Should you want to part take in some recreational activities you can go fishing and use the fish you collect to temporarily transform your pet into different types of monsters. Your pet can also be sent back to the hub town to purchase, or sell items for you, which is extremely helpful.
If you’re looking to enjoy this game with some friends, then you’re in luck. Torchlight II offers up to 4 player online multiplayer. It’s great to have the opportunity to explore dungeons with a few friends. It can definitely provide quite a few additional hours of entertainment.
One of the areas Torchlight II excels the most in its replayability. There are so many ways to build a character and the classes differentiate a lot from one another. The world is full of exploration opportunities and there’s so many reasons to do multiple runs. I can guarantee that every playthrough will yield different results and that’s what makes Torchlight II such an interesting adventure.
Even after 7 years Torchlight II manages to hold up quite well in its presentation. The 3D enemy and character models are well made and blend nicely with the environment designs. I wish there would have been more creativite dungeon designs as I felt like while they differed in presentation, they didn’t have enough of their own unique elements to feel truly unique.
Although Torchlight II ran perfectly in both handheld and docked mode I did experience a few bugs, during my playthrough. Items disappearing off-screen and getting stuck inside of walls and other objects were the main issues I encountered. These bugs weren’t constant and they didn’t really hurt the overall experience to a significant degree. I have heard some people talk about, more frequent technical issues closer to the end of the game, but I did not experience this.
I should also note that people did talk about a bug that caused the stat descriptions for your principal stats to not line up. I once again did not encounter this issue during my playthrough
Torchlight II still continues to be one of the best the dungeon crawling, Action RPG genre has to offer. The gameplay is solid and full of different quests to always keep you busy. With the 4 classes being so different from one another and NG+ there’s so much replay value here. Online multiplayer is a great addition, if you have some friends to play with and want to team up for some dungeon crawling action. Some of the dungeon designs could have used a bit more creativity and the story feels unimportant, but those are small blemishes on an otherwise great package.