Torchlight II: First Impressions

Oct 01, 2012 No Comments by

At every turn, Torchlight II makes you feel like something spectacular just happened. As you’re hammering your way through an ancient crypt, you find a mace that has a chance to rain down a flurry of acid on your target. That’s cool. Using your new bludgeoning buddy, you slam your way to a level up and unlock a skill that lets you rupture the ground below you, fire rising through the fissures. That’s awesome. Finally, you carve a path through the swathes of angry loot pinatas until you fight something huge that generally involves a combination of horns, bones, and a pretty fair amount of dying. After all that, you feel awesome. Now, go back, sell the chaff, and get ready for the next one.

It works better that it reasonably should. Taking a step back, there’s only just enough variation in the dungeons to make it feel like something different. The enemies are now swarms of roaches instead of skeletons. It’s in a frosted mine instead of a mountain steppe. You’re using a skeletal crossbow instead of your old dual-revolver combination. It may sound like I’m knocking the game for being repetitive, but they’ve nailed down the pacing to a T. Things change around you (and within you) just fast enough so that it feels familiar, but it’s able to freshen everything up to keep it from being monotonous. It’s more than just a fresh coat of paint over the same dungeons; small changes in the skills you learn and the gear you wield feel like game changers. Letting my glaive bounce off enemies one more time doesn’t just increase how much I feel like Xena; things burst into clouds of blood and plunder with refreshed vivacity, due in part to the game’s fantastic sound design. Everything in the game is about feedback, and it’s done all too well.

The story’s negligible, only worth your attention when face-to-face with a sphynx that somehow manages to slickly rhyme something with “Zeryphesh.” Speaking of Zeryphesh, roughly half of the dialogue consists of references to people/places/things with forgettably fictitious names. For the most part, location names are descriptive; it’s not hard to guess what you’ll be fighting in the Bone Gallery. However, if you can intelligently use the names Sturmbeon, Varkolyn, and Ezrohir in conversation, I’ll be impressed. Thankfully, it’s largely inconsequential; they all explode into delightful giblets all the same. It’s a fantastic game; pick it up with a couple friends and have a blast.

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Amateur games journalist looking to expand his portfolio. When I'm not writing for Super Combo, I'm editing articles for others or goofing around in Dota 2. If you enjoyed the article, let me know! I always appreciate feedback. You can learn more about me at WillUhl.com.
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