Under The Radar, Into Our Hearts : Torchlight II

Torchlight II
Released : Sept 20, 2012
Platforms : Steam $19.99
Developers : Runic Games

I’m terrible at recommending games. I feel like I have to overload people with information and I end up turning them off of every game that I love so much. Due to this I’ve been keeping an amazing game to myself for far too long, and I’m ashamed of myself for it.

Torchlight II is a hack and slash RPG from the people at Runic Games. Developing only Torchlight previously, nobody expected Torchlight II to do anything revolutionary, which  of course it didn’t just in case you were wondering. In fact, there was no singular outstanding feature about it. Instead Runic Games opted to provide a complete and polished gaming experience from beginning to end. What you don’t realize until you start playing Torchlight II, is that everything feels perfectly tuned and tweaked just right. I found myself even forgetting I was playing a game, everything felt so natural that I fell into a perfect groove. Knowing when to cast my spells, what loot was good, or even when to send my pet into town, I did it all with a few button presses, and was completely immersed. For many hack and slash RPG veterans, Diablo III was supposed to be the boisterous victory call of Blizzard, ushering their tried and true formula to the modern generation of PC technology. Diablo III was supposed to break ground in areas we didn’t even know existed and because of this I was in awe of Diablo III before I even starting building my PC.

Sure, you could look at the sales numbers or the game reviews and think I’m crazy for saying that Diablo III was a bad game, but ask any Diablo fan what they thought of the third game, and more likely than not, they will tell you a tale of frustration and confusion.  Diablo III is a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people, myself included, so when the hype and excitement from Diablo III didn’t deliver, I had to look elsewhere for some hack and slash entertainment. Problem was, where was I going to find it in a market ruled by the Blizzard juggernaut?

Torchlight II released four months after Diablo III, but I wouldn’t even know about it until January of 2013. A Steam holiday sale was just wrapping up, and a friend of mine was telling me about a game that was like Diablo III, only better. I was highly skeptical and brushed his fan boyish praising aside, although secretly the game did interest me. Honestly, I just didn’t want to get excited for another game only to feel hollow inside after being crushed by yet another title that fails to deliver. My skepticism was swayed by the $4.99 tag, I just couldn’t say no.

The first night I played Torchlight II, it was magical. It was the elusive joy of dungeon crawling I had waited on for so long. I completed the campaign over the weekend, and I couldn’t believe it. The entire time I had spent going from dungeon to dungeon and it felt so smooth and mystical, I didn’t realize how far I had gotten. That’s the magic of Torchlight II, it draws you in, gives you enough room to breathe, but always shakes that carrot just outside your reach. That’s what Diablo III had missing, that hook to draw you in and keep you coming back for more. It left me floating in space while Torchlight II was happy to hook my ass in and bring me port side. I never felt like I was at the mercy of Torchlight II and it didn’t give me any gimmicky story that drew me out of the immersion. It let me become my character, and having a llama as a pet was unbelievably bad ass. It’s the little things about Torchlight II that make the experience memorable, pulling me back in for more.

Everything that Steam adds on is just a bonus and Steam Workshop is amazing. The community has been thriving for over a year now and have added countless hours into the game. It’s seemingly full of love and doesn’t feel like another yearly title here to take our $60 and just to entertain us for a few hours. I can feel how much time and effort has been put into Torchlight II and their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Bottom line Runic Games’ Torchlight II delivers.


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