Dungeon Crawlers are a fascinating type of game to play. They have the chance to show truly rich environments as well as creating worlds that span continents and you can create tons of quests to flesh out the stakes and the enemies. “Torchlight II” doesn’t do that all that well. Oh it is still lots of fun but unlike “Diablo II” where the stakes felt large and real this game doesn’t really have that. I’ll get into what I mean in the assessment.
“Torchlight II” is the sequel “Torchlight,” (another game I plan on reviewing) and is an Action Role-Playing Game (ARPG) created by Runic Games. The creator was Travis Baldree.
The premise of the story is similar to “Diablo II” with the corrupted hero (The Alchemist) from the last game traveling the lands and corrupting the Guardians so that he can bring destruction to the world. It is up to you the hero (an Engineer in my case) to stop him. From here the story unfolds.
Here is the assessment of the game:
The Pros: Gameplay – One thing I will say for this game is even if it starts out easy it dose have a challenge curve and it is possible to get overwhelmed by Elite Monsters, especially later in the game where they tend of have special attacks that can reek havoc on your health. This challenge was fun and it motivated my getting better armor to finish up quests and take on bosses. The linear progression serves it well similar to “Diablo II” and “Diablo” and the fact that you don’t have to go all the way back to turn in quests is a major bonus in it’s favor. Gameplay was fun and it was something that I could easily play casually.
Ideas – There are some great ideas in this world. From a village overrun by werewolves were you learn about how everyone died and need to kill the Alpha to being part of a civil war between two immortal races of metal men in the middle of a desert. The use of genies and dragons as generals over hordes is quite interesting too. There are some great concepts in this game.
Enchanting – Being able to get extra bonuses to your armor and weapons was something I enjoyed doing. It was a good use for the tons of gold you pick up during questing and gave you more reason to keep the armor you had given you are pouring so much money into make it better than before.
Okay: Bosses – Bosses went from disappointing (the Alchemist fight at the end was underwhelming…we never got this guy’s motivation and after we fought a Netherlord which made no sense since we’d gotten no information on the Nether prior) but some fights like the Artificer (a giant metal Naga like creature), Vyrax the Dragon (who sends swarms of enemies at you and attacks from the air in the first few phases) and Ezra Khan (a corrupted genie). For this reason I’d put it as okay. Most bosses weren’t all that creative or much of a threat beyond the Artificer, Vyrax and Ezra…which was a shame since ARPG’s are all about the enemies if they aren’t about characters who become a part of your party.
Cons: The Tone – The Tone goes from dark to cartoony, especially in how some bosses look which takes away from the threat of the Alchemist…the fact that you free all the Guardians shows this as well. Nothing was at stake in the end and only bad guys and unnamed civilians died. It wasn’t like “Diablo” or “Diablo II” which were all about consequences and kept a consistently dark tone because of it.
The Story – The story tries to be “Diablo II” but misses what made the story of “Diablo II” so rich. We got to learn about Hell and what was stake in “Diablo II” as Diablo worked to free his brothers while the Dark Wanderer (the hero from “Diablo”) tried to contain him. This lead to everyone from the last game getting corrupted or captured and we saw governments fall just from Diablo and the Prime Evils’ Influence. This story has none of that…what motivates the factions is never explained and why the Alchemist is corrupted and wants to bring the Nether to are world (or if he even does want to do that) is never explained either. This really brings down the story and gives a lot to be desired. This is a story without consequences, where in the end there are no stakes. Nothing the Alchemist does mattered which in turn makes your own quest kind of pointless…it’s almost like you are just a visitor cleaning things up, not a hero even as the game gives you fame for quests completed. I am big into stories in games and this one failed to deliver in a big way.
This is a game that is worth checking out if you are a casual gamer. It isn’t too difficult but can still promote strategy in certain areas and some of the level designs are really cool if you can take the clashing tones in certain instances. Also if you aren’t looking for story and just gameplay, chances are you will really like this game. Because I am looking for story though I have to give this game an okay but not great. There was enough here that I was motivated to finish the game…but the fact that nothing really happened means I’m less likely to play it again. I want to be enriched in whatever medium is sharing a story with me and for a world to have consequences and feel real. This game sadly does not have that.
Final Score: 7 / 10. Okay and enjoyable but in no way great.