Preview: Torchlight 2
Developed by Runic Games, former founders of Blizzard North, Torchlight 2, like its recent prequel Torchlight 1, is rather predictably an isometric RPG. As equally predictable however, and as you’d imagine from the former members of Blizzard North, Torchlight is a gem of an RPG experience and easily rivals the greats like Diablo. In fact, Torchlight can very much be likened to a new and improved Diablo for the modern age. Its only shortcoming was the absence of a multiplayer component, though the game was awesome without it. Despite this however, Torchlight 2 is on its way and this time its packing multiplayer.
Name: Torchlight 2
Genre: Isometric RPG
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Developers: Runic Games
Publishers: Perfect World
Release Date: Early 2012 (Pending Confirmation)
Except for a few gameplay videos and slide presentations, there’s not much to go by with Torchlight 2. In fact, much of Torchlight 2’s pre-release marketing campaign has been focused on selling the idea that Torchlight 2, in comparison to Torchlight 1, is an improvement in every conceivable facet as well as the all important addition of multiplayer. Just in case you’re not familiar with Torchlight 1, and seeing as explaining it is the best way of making you aware of what Torchlight 2 has to offer, here is a brief account. Torchlight was by all accounts a clone to Diablo 1 and massive improvement of a similar RPG called Fate. What made Torchlight different was in the details and it was more a modern interpretation and thorough improvement than a unique game in itself.
As such, there were three classes, skill trees and a single town on top of the mine (not church) you had to descend. On top of these things there was a pet system. The pet system granted you a permanent companion, either cat or dog, that was capable of carrying additional loot for the player. What’s more was the pet’s ability to independently travel to town with said loot, sell it and return back to the player with your profits in paw. Of course your pet was able to fight by your side and made an effective team mate in tough situations. There was also a fishing mechanic which unsurprisingly allowed you to catch all manner of fish types that, and when fed to your pet, would transform said pet into a number of creatures with useful support, defensive or offensive abilities. The other great mechanic was the addition of portals that transported the player to limited level dungeons that would end in experience and well, more loot. It was a clever way of increasing play time and giving more ways of raiding for loot without having to do the same levels of the mine over and over again. There were a few other things but suffice it to say, Torchlight was an awesome little RPG.
Torchlight 2 is offering the same kinds of mechanics, but expands on classes, the size of the world, multiplayer and making it all-in-all more like Diablo 2 than Diablo 1. I like to think of Torchlight 2 as continuing the fine trend of recreating a Diablo experience with modern gaming technology and will be a brilliant addition to this year’s Diablo 3 release.
Speaking of new additions, the classes will include the Engineer, a steampunk inspired technological character sporting a heavy melee; the Outlander, a light magic wielder and overall ranged wanderer; the Beserker, a fast striking warrior using animal-themed powers to overwhelm and batter enemies; and finally, the Embermage, a highly powerful elemental mage. The other addition is much larger and better randomly generated areas which promise more variety; so from deserts to forests, Torchlight 2 is going far beyond traversing a dingy mine. What we’re not too sure about right now is the exact details of the multiplayer component of Torchlight 2; though, and like everything else, Runic Games is keeping it hush. What we do know is its co-op based and will include, thank god, LAN support. And while there’s no confirmation of what the player limit is, Runic Games seems to think round about 4 players is best per game.
The other aspect about Torchlight was its modability. This meant there were all kinds of downloadable graphical mods as well as new classes, spells and monsters to combat. All of this will be returning to Torchlight 2 and should make for an even better experience.
For some the news that Torchlight is more a Diablo clone creates a bit of a sore spot and so they refuse to play it. I don’t quite get it myself because Torchlight had enough variation and polish to make it a better game than Diablo, clone or not. I know huge fans of the isometric RPG, like Diablo and Titan Quest, and believe me when I say they might be more excited for Torchlight 2 than Diablo 3. Take that with a pinch or perhaps a mountain of salt but let that seep in. At the end of the day there really isn’t any reason not to get both, I know I am.