|Dev: Runic Games|
|Pub: Runic Games|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Torchlight more than exceeded its expectations. It was an indie game, yet it had a very experienced development team at its helm, ensuring a ridiculously high level of quality. It was seen by some as a Diablo clone, yet it had enough charm and character to step out of the shadow of Blizzard's behemoth dungeon crawler. Torchlight was eventually ported to the 360 via Live Arcade, and between the PC version and the XBL port, it has sold over a million copies. It comes as no surprise, then, that a sequel is on its way.
The original game had a robust campaign, sending players deeper and deeper into an enormous dungeon based around a series of mines. However, besides the mining town of Torchlight and the dungeon itself, there were only some bite-sized dungeons to explore. This was no major shortcoming, since the main dungeon was so enormous. And the addition of these randomly generated side dungeons—as well as a dungeon creation tool—boosted the replay value almost infinitely.
However, more is often better, and Torchlight II will allow players to leave the humble town of Torchlight and explore more of the world around it. In fact, players won't even start in Torchlight this time around, though the mining town will most likely be featured at some point during the adventure. There will be the addition of Overworld areas and Passes, as well as more quest hubs and multiple dungeons. The landscape of the game is comprised of three entire areas that together make up about a fifth of a continent called Vilderan. Torchlight II will simply be a larger experience.
Additionally, instead of the nighttime-only setting, Torchlight II will include night and day and various types of weather. Prepare to dispose of randomly generated mobs day or night, rain or shine, and even in the snow.
And the environment isn't the only thing to be expanded in this sequel. In the original game, you could only select between three classes: Alchemist, Destroyer, and Vanquisher. Each class had a pre-built character representing it, and you were only allowed to change three things: character name, type of pet, and pet's name. Torchlight II gives you a much deeper customization system, allowing players to make their characters unique.
Interestingly enough, the three classes from the original game won't be playable in Torchlight II. Instead, there are four new ones to select from. Three of these classes have been announced so far: Berserker, Railman, and Outlander. The Berserker has a fast-paced, dual-wielding fighting style and has the ability to summon the spirits of various types of animals. The Railman wears a steampunk-inspired bodysuit infused with Ember, the precious ore players will remember from the first game, and wields giant two-handed weapons. The Outlander is a ranged class, and comparisons have been made to the Fremen of the Dune series. The fourth class has yet to be announced.
However, the original classes won't be entirely absent. The characters that represented these classes in Torchlight will show up as NPCs in the sequel. It will be quite interesting to interact with characters you had played as in the first game, and this should help the two games feel more interconnected.
And it's not just old characters that you'll get to hang out with. Torchlight II will include multiplayer co-op. You'll now be able to bring your friends into the game and fight alongside them. The strength and health of enemies will scale depending on how many people you bring into your world, ensuring challenges that aren't too hard for solo players or too easy for larger groups. And since the TorchEd dungeon editor is returning, you'll get to build your own dungeons to explore with your friends. There hasn't been official word on how many players the game will support at a time, but any sort of multiplayer is a welcome addition to the series. The one-player-only format of the original game was one of its only drawbacks.
A very popular feature of the original Torchlight was the ability to send your pet back to town to sell your loot. This allowed for much lengthier sessions inside the dungeon, giving players an alternative to running back to town whenever their bags were full. This feature is returning, and there will be a larger variety of pets to choose from; players will no longer be limited to just dogs and cats.
Torchlight was such a great game that it never felt like it lacked features or was incomplete. However, Torchlight II expands the series by bulking up the feature list in some very welcome ways; the addition of multiplayer alone makes this a worthy upgrade. The original had the potential to steal dozens of hours of lives from its players, and we expect the sequel to steal even more. No official release date has been confirmed, but the developers seem confident we'll see this by the end of the year. Let's just cross our fingers and hope its sooner rather than later.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer