Two loot driven games were released a couple of weeks ago in Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2. Both are sequels that improved on every aspect of the originals. You can read my review for Borderlands 2 here in fact. So, what makes Torchlight 2 so much better than the original? Read on to find out.
I find myself in an odd predicament. I usually can only play one loot driven game at a time, otherwise I find myself getting burnt out on them pretty quickly. But, here I am playing the crap out of Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 simultaneously without becoming bored with either game. This just goes to show what a great game Torchlight 2 is.
Torchlight 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor much like how Diablo II was over Diablo. Fans of the first Torchlight will remember that you were limited to one town with many dungeons below said town, much like the original Diablo. Well, in TL2, that is a thing of the past. You now have multiple Acts to complete with new locations to explore. And why are these new locations worth exploring? It's because of the stellar gameplay.
TL2 is, simply put, a fun game to play. Hacking and slashing has never felt so satisfying. All four of the classes: Berserker, Embermage, Engineer and Outlander, have unique abilities which makes each one of them a blast to play. The Berserker is a fast striking melee fighter whose animations are influenced by a spirit wolf. The Embermage is your typical mage class with an array of elemental spells to defeat your foes. The Engineer specializes in dealing massive damage with 2-handed weapons as well as being able to build tiny mechanical companions to help you in your journey. And finally, the Outlander is an expert at ranged weaponry and has the ability to summon minions to fight for him/her. What is great about TL2, is that even though certain classes are geared towards certain weapons, you're not limited to those weapons. For example, say you wanted to do sword and board with your Embermage instead of your typical staff or wands. Well, in TL2 you can do this. There are no restrictions to what weapons/armor classes can use. The only restrictions that are present are for items that specifically say for Outlander only or Engineer, etc. Other than those items, your free to experiment with different weaponry to your hearts content.
Once you find that one class you really enjoy, the game becomes even more incredible. I've played all four classes for a good amount of time and it wasn't until I tried out the Berserker I fell in love with TL2. The quick strikes, survivability and the spirit wolf animations just appealed to me. At first I thought the Engineer was going to be my main. Then it became the Embermage. Then the Outlander jumped into the picture. Finally, I chose the Berserker as my main and haven't looked back. This just goes to show how strong and fun each class is. Killing and looting has never felt so satisfying. Sure, you are repeating the process over and over, but there is enough variety in your skills that it doesn't make it feel like you are doing the same things repeatedly. Also, there is enough variety in the enemies you face. It never gets old when you see an elite boss in the middle of an area and watching the loot fly after defeating them. And you don't have to worry about a lack of enemies to kill. Even if there is a small section on the map that is covered by the fog of war, there is a good chance there is a foe waiting there to try and kill you.
The game levels up your class at a steady pace. You won't feel overwhelmed early on with tons of skills to use. And conversely, you won't feel like you are underpowered early on with too little abilities at your disposal. As you level, you choose where you want to allocate you stats and skill points. It is quite a joy to be able to create your character to your liking. There are three different trees per class and an array of different skills, both active and passive, to choose from. You'll want to plan ahead on how you want to build your class so you can use the multiple skills to their fullest abilities in conjunction with one another. But believe me, there are no cookie cutter builds here and you literally can build your character as you see fit. All skills can be advanced to fifteen points with every five points unlocking a new tier which alters the skill in some way. The game paces itself where you can't focus on one skill and get it to max level right away. At first glance this may sound like a bad thing, but this allows you to look at the other skills and the game encourages you to try them out. The choices you make in your skills are pretty important seeing there is no traditional respeccing trainer. You can respec, but only individual skills that are leveled over three points and it costs a lot of gold. This is kind of a bummer for people like me who like to respec to experiment with different skills. Luckily, there are mods you can use, such as respeccing potions, that will allow you to reallocate all your skill points.
That's another great feature with TL2. Runic Games actually embraces player mods and is evident with the multiple mods already available. While I tend not to play with mods too often, it's nice to know that they are there and in a sense can increase replay ability to the game. Another great feature with TL2 is that it now has a multiplayer feature. You can play with up to six total players and the more players on screen, the tougher the enemies are. And we don't have to worry about people stealing each other's loot, because you only see your loot on the screen. So loot to your heart's content without having to worry about pissing someone else off.
Torchlight 2 is a great loot driven game. You'll want to level up to 100 just for the fact it's fun to play. You are constantly comparing items to see if you got an upgrade and trying out your new skills. The game manages to maintain a freshness to it as you unlock new skills and abilities later in the game. If you are a fan of Torchlight and more specifically, Diablo II, you can't go wrong with TL2. In fact, do I dare say Torchlight 2 is better than Diablo III? Yes, I think it is. And for the $20 price tag, you more than get your money's worth.