Torchlight II has been creeping closer for a long time now. Before Diablo III, gamers were debating and comparing screenshots and features of both. Now that we’ve gorged ourselves on Diablo III some players have put it on the back burner. Sights are being set on the next dungeon crawling loot fest Torchlight II. Set for release on the 20th of September 2012, Torchlight II will be available on PC and Mac with no console ports in the works just yet.
After slipping from a 2011 release date to dodge a Globo Gym and Average Joe’s showdown with ‘that game’ from Blizzard, a short beta period back in May has given us a glimpse of just how the sequel to Torchlight is shaping up. Now, with a release date confirmed and pre-orders begining, we should take a look on what’s on offer in this new iteration from the team at Runic Games.
The original Torchlight was a fun game that game players a great Diablo-like experience. Being a new intellectual property from a smaller studio it did have a few things holding it back. Descending into the deep and dark caverns below Torchlight on your own was fine, yet players soon wanted to share the experience with friends in some kind of multiplayer. The art style of characters and environments and were vibrant and full of colour, yet the quests felt bland and a bit repetitive after a while.
The sequel is aims to escape from its predecesor’s confines. New classes and effects, taking a new band of adventurers from the town of Torchlight to the wild snow-capped regions and dank ruins.
There’s still a familiar back-and-forth cycle between dungeons and town hubs, but now a single, far-reaching map takes the place of layer upon layer of underground. There are less obvious paths to explore, more variety among the side-quests and a general sense that you’re part of a world now and not some mass-produced, isolated theme park for adventurers.
There’s the satisfying crunch to attacks. A visual splendour to magic and abilities. Who needs a companion when you have your very own Beast to pick up potions for you or sell unwanted items.
Torchlight II Mods
Torchlight II is likely to maintain an active community with modding support. Runic Games President, Travis Baldree has mentioned that Torchlight II will have Steam Workshop support at launch: “There was no reason not to,” he said.
Also confirmed are mod tools on the way, probably a few weeks after launch. Runic may even put some mod content of its own up there to get things started.
The original Torchlight received marked improvements from but a few fan creation additions – even mundane fixes, such as increasing the stack limit on potions and providing more stash space, removed so many niggling frustrations.
The Steam Workshop modding community has been a huge success with games like Skyrim and Dungeon Defenders. We could be seeing some great player created content once the modding tools are available.
The Promise of Loot
We’ve seen quite a few games using the Skinner Box method of rewards to keep you playing. The game will drip feed you interesting loot with just enough random rusty daggers that you’ll be holding out for that next chest or boss.
It’s the exact sort of constant feedback loop you know you’re being somewhat manipulated into enjoying, but you – just – can’t – help – it – and OK then, just one more dungeon.
With the adition of multiplayer many friendships could be ruined. You’ll build characters to help each other and sharing loot that is unique to your mate’s class. Once something drops that both of you can use, it becomes a free-for-all yelling match on who deserves it more – and I always need it more.
A Touch of Class
Classes have left the strict RPG staples behind to offer slightly altered roles. The foundation of warrior, mage, and thief are clearly still present, but have been cast in a different light to reveal new approaches. The skill trees are still a work in progress and may change before release.
The Engineer, has taken inspiration from Steampunk fashion to create a sense of uniqueness which might be lost if he were just another guy in plate with a sword and board. So if you are looking to tank, bring your wrench to put up a forcefield for yourself and allies. If you’re looking for some mechanical help, you could construct spider mines or a turret.
The Beserker gets in with melee attacks or clawed weapons. As a beserker can imbue their weapons with elemental buffs via the Tundra tree. If summoning wolves is more your style for some bestial assistance, the shadow tree has what you need.
The Embermage, is your basic spellcaster with all the glowing explosions and pew pew lasers you could want. The skill trees for an embermage include inferno, frost and storm. Create a spear from magma or a wave of frost to magic your enemies to destruction.
The Outlander uses ranged weapons and ‘low magic’. Runic aims to make the ranged character a little different from the typical archer. The badass gunslinger has a glaive that can be thrown along with some rapid fire shots from pistols or a rifle.
Compared to What?
There will be no escaping any comparisons Torchlight II will be receiving in relation to Diablo III. There will now doubt be many an internet debate on which game is more authentic or long lasting. You don’t have to listen to all that while playing Torchlight II, becuase you can play single player offline.
Torchlight II, from Runic Games, will be released on September 20th for PC and Mac. You can pre-order now for a digital copy through Steam and GameFanShop.