Torchlight 2 Beta Impressions: More Diablo Than Diablo
Following my stint in Diablo 3 I found a beta-weekend invite for Torchlight 2 in my inbox. Having thoroughly enjoyed the original, it was imperative that I play the promising sequel. I was nowhere near letdown by Runic’s effort; in fact I was thrilled by what I found. I’ve played dungeon crawlers since the original Diablo, and this game brought me back to my roots in a very traditional, yet enhanced, way.
Torchlight 2: Creating a hero to quell the evil
Before you can begin your loot-whoring shenanigans you must construct your hero. Torchlight has increased its class roster, giving you a choice between 4 different archetypes; including the familiar feeling Embermage, Berserker, and Outlander; and introducing the Engineer. Each class introduces a unique fighting style and skill tree. From there you are given the opportunity to customize your hero’s face and hair, followed by Torchlight’s most appreciated feature: the pet. Torchlight 2 has quadrupled its stable of pets, straying from the dog and cat route and trading it in for a menagerie. Torchlight 2’s pets include: three dogs; the Papillion, Bulldog, and a more exotic wolf. If you prefer your companions to be of the feline persuasion; also offered are the Cat and Panther. Rounding out the roster of animals are the “Wildcard” options such as; the Ferret, a Hawk, or the dragon-like Chakawary.
The Torchlight 2 Tale
From this point onward the loot-grinding, monster-slaying, spelunking adventure begins. The opening cinematic introduces you to your purpose; to quell the ensuing evil forces, brought upon you by the insistent antagonist from the previous game, Ordrak. My first thoughts as I entered the world were how great an improvement this new, colorful land was over the endless caverns of the original. The environments are very open, visually striking, and inviting… Unless you count the hordes of enemies that litter the landscape. The enemies I found were very detailed and they contrast well against the picturesque surroundings they are invading. One bothersome issue I had with the enemies was the inability to differentiate between the basic enemies and their elite counterparts, other than their slightly different name plates.
The Torchlight Adventure
As in most games of the genre; the majority of the quest-giving and economic activity is based in villages and towns, scarcely filled with survivors of the onslaught. As I started my initial quest my pack began to quickly fill up. Although, thanks to the subtle convenience of the pets ability to travel, unattended, back to town to sell my unwanted gear, I didn’t find myself returning to a vendor every 20 minutes. It is this feature, coupled with the traditional leveling system that really grabs me.
Unlike their dungeon crawling counterpart Diablo, Runic decided to maintain their original leveling system, consisting of separate Vitality, Strength, Dexterity, and Focus, each improving your character’s stats. Accompanying the stats sheet is the Skills tree, unique to every character; each tree is split into three separate skill sets that cater to different weapons and styles of play.
Chamber Music by Torchlight
In the time I spent in Torchlight I noticed a number of notable things, one of which is the music. After creating the vessel of my heroism I was sent to a very daunting and terrifying Loading Screen. In this terrifying phase of my journey I found myself getting amped by the orchestrated soundtrack that filled my ears. This may not be a game-making feature, but grouped with striking visuals and solid gameplay, Torchlight 2 gives me something to get excited for.
Torchlight 2 Impression
The final verdict on this beta is that it must be played! If you’re a fan of the original; all of the original gameplay elements are still there, the visuals are even more impressive than before, and the music is mood setting. There is now a need to have friends; with the introduction of highly demanded multiplayer support, you can now go cave-dwelling and loot-gathering with your peers. To top off this colorful adventure, the game is only 20 DOLLARS! For anyone who hasn’t tried the original; go to Steam NOW and pre-purchase the sequel and receive the original Torchlight for free. If you’re a fan of dungeon crawlers, specifically Diablo 2; Torchlight 2 is highly recommended and I can’t wait to play it.