You Should Buy Torchlight 2
Torchligh 2 is better than Diablo 3. There, I’ve said it. And yes, I know it’s not professional to compared games to each like that but considering I’m just a hobbyist blogger, I figured I can get away with it. So I’ll say this: Torchlight 2 is everything I hoped Diablo 3 was going to be.
This isn’t to say that D3 was a bad game ’cause it wasn’t. It was good, very good in fact, but ultimately, for me at least, it lacked something that Torchlight 2 has in spades – soul. It was like Diablo 3 was so polished, so perfectly inspected, considered, trimmed and balanced that in the process Blizzard forgot to give it any sort of personality or identity. They were so busy trying to force people down their singular vision of gameplay that the game ended up being slightly hollow as an ironic side effect. From its ridiculously easy nature and lack of character customisation to permanent online restriction and game-breaking Auction House, D3 was over-thought and over-worked. Torchlight 2, in comparison, is rough and ready, a by-product of a smaller team and a lower budget and, as a result, it’s a better game for it.
From the minute you load up T2, you’re absorbed and (purposefully) knowing very little about the game, I spent a good 30 minutes on the character creation screen just fiddling around with different customisation options and trying to decide on a class to play. The feral Berserker, the cool and calculating Embermage, the maverick Gunslinger or the steampunk inspired Engineer? I went with the latter and rolled Miles Mayhem (5 geek points to anyone who gets the reference), a Victorian-esque Engineer (I just couldn’t resit that hammer) accompanied by his faithful bulldog, Thompson. Two minutes later I was smashing stuff with a giddy sense of glee that I never got in that other game of a similar nature, a feeling of excitement that built up into a full-blown yell of delight when I realised that I could also wield double-barrel shotguns and massive, devastating hand cannons as well.
And that’s one of the many reasons why T2 is so great. Instead of trying to craft the perfect Skills and Runes system, it sticks to a traditional skill tree approach and gives you novel, fun and unusual combinations instead. The Engineer class is everything from a two-handed melee machine to a sword and board tank to a group support specialist to a huge gun totting Victorian nut job. Likewise, the game doesn’t patronise you and let you endlessly respec on the fly – instead, you can only go back and undo the last three skills chosen so you’d better make those selections count. It’s almost seems brutal in this day-and-age but it creates so many more considered decisions because of it. I miss those in games.
I could also go on about how T2 is actually challenging to play, superbly paced, and beautifully stylised and designed but I won’t. I imagine you can already tell that I think it’s a great game. Of course, it doesn’t redefine the genre or bring anything particularly original to the table but then not many games do these days. Instead, it takes the hack-and-slash action RPG concept that we all know and love and produces one of the finest games the genre has ever seen, a true successor to the Diablo franchise in every sense. Indeed, if there’s anything that makes me feel slightly sad, it’s wondering what the guys at Runic Games could’ve done if they’ve had their hands on that nostalgic IP instead of being forced to invent a new one.
Finally, did I mention that it’s only £14.99/$19.99? Well, it’s only £14.99/$19.99! That’s an entire third of the price I paid for of Diablo 3. A third. But it’s not like I’m the bitter type who would make a big deal about that. That money also buys you LAN support and DRM free offline play. What will they think of next?
So, to summarise, Torchlight 2 is great. Go buy it.