Choose My Adventure: Torchlight, too

    
15

March is but a memory. April is here. And while a new month certainly brings new things to Choose My Adventure, we’ve got just a bit of cleaning up to do before we head full-bore into the next big game. March’s sampler platter edition of CMA challenged us with four different titles — Diablo III, Path of Exile, Marvel Heroes, and Torchlight II — and to date we’ve discussed only three.

Thus, we’ll begin April with thoughts on Torchlight II, the final game in our sampler platter series. Developed by Runic Games, Torchlight II is an OARPG with some interesting twists, a beautiful color palette, and one of my favorite video game worlds.

Engineering success

Torchlight II is the only game from this month’s OARPG buffet that I had played before. My original play through was from the point of view of an Embermage, Torchlight’s ranged magic damage dealer. Last week’s voters sent me down a different path by placing a wrench in my hand and assigning me the Engineer class. It was a starkly different playstyle from what I was used to, and while I think I still prefer Embermage, I definitely had a good time experimenting with the Engineer toolkit.

Torchlight

In Torchlight, ability unlocks aren’t necessarily linear. You gain two different types of points as you level; one type goes into boosting your stats and the other into improving your spells or unlocking new ones. With the Engineer, for example, you can invest points into strengthening your primary hammer attack or use points to unlock new abilities like a roaming healbot. Engineers can choose to enhance their attacks above all else, but cool gadgets abound in the construction skill tree. Spider mines, gun bots, grenades, and even a damage-dealing robot are all on the table for the building-inclined (which to me seems like the point of being an engineer class in any game).

Engineers also have a charge mechanic that feeds into their gameplay. As you attack enemies, your charge bar builds. Different attacks either add charge or use charge. For instance, the primary flame hammer ability will consume a charge (if available) to spread the flames out beyond the initial radius of the attack. Another ability receives bonus damage based on your current charge level. Building and expending charges is a core component of the Engineer playstyle. It makes the game more than a mana bar and a little more challenging.

The dim, dark world

One of the worst things, to me, about OARPGs, is that they’re all grimy and gross and depressing. Torchlight II, however, has a bright, colorful world design that gives you breaks from the dungeon crawl. Sure, there’s haunted ruins and grey stonework in abundance, but there are also verdant forests, snow-capped trees, and a sprawling desert. When I originally purchased Torchlight II, it was largely the art style that snagged me. Revisiting the game a few years later was a nice reminder of the great work the Runic team has done.

Torchlight Engineer

Torchlight II’s dungeons can feel a little endless. I also had trouble finding loot that I wanted or could use, a problem I experienced on my Embermage the first time around. Those minor complaints aside, Torchlight’s universe is one I love to explore. I’m especially fond of the locked treasure chests scattered about the world; find one and you’ll have to track down the monster holding the key before you can open it. And then, of course, remember where the dang thing was, which often turns out to be the hard part. There’s lots to do and lots to see.

Torchlight doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel. The addition of a pet makes it easier to manage your inventory or buy/sell items while out on the grind but isn’t revolutionary. Loot is found in abundance. Side missions pop up everywhere. It’s the basic formula, with little tweaks here and there. Of all the games I played this month, Torchlight II is the one I enjoyed most (although props to Marvel Heroes for an incredibly strong showing). And with the box price landing under $20, it’s definitely the more value-centric of the two pay-to-play games featured in March.

Torchlight Dungeon

And that’s pretty much a wrap on CMA for March! With our OARPG series closed, it’s time to revert back to the old format of one game per month. Tune in next time for a new game, new choices, and probably a few new other things as well. Hugs and kisses!

Mike Foster puts you in the driving seat of Choose My Adventure, the MassivelyOP column where anything can happen and your votes absolutely matter. You make the rules, you call the shots, and you take the blame when things go horribly awry. Stop by every Wednesday to help Mike as he explores the ins and outs of games big and small, never alone but always a noob.
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Cyroselle
Guest
Cyroselle

Dope_Danny AdeptusEnginus IIRC there’s a console command that’ll simply move you up a level or force respawn. Not always a great option though, considering hardcore characters.

Cyroselle
Guest
Cyroselle

Dope_Danny That and anything marked as ‘Steam Play’ will be usable on Windows, Mac and Linux. :)

Oleg Chebeneev
Guest
Oleg Chebeneev

Dont forget to install Synergies mod. It makes game much more interesting and challenging

dorn2
Guest
dorn2

I felt so let down by TL2.  I played the heck out of the first one but I just didn’t like the classes in 2.  None of them played the way I wanted.  Maybe I’ll give it another go someday if I actually get time.

Esoteric Coyote
Guest
Esoteric Coyote

Greaterdivinity omedon666 20 gigs and 6 hours later you’ll play your werewolf with your bone dragon pet while pooping rainbows at armies of claptraps.

AdeptusEnginus
Guest
AdeptusEnginus

Dope_Danny AdeptusEnginus My personal issue is that my old GPU ran it too fast. No, really. If you buy a card that comes preclocked from the manufacturer above a certain extent, it will cause TL2 to bluescreen randomly within the first some 10 minutes of play. I had to turn my card’s clock back by exactly 1% to make it stable enough to play. This is a known problem that has been reported on the forums multiple times for three years and remains unfixed to this day.
On top of that, the processor optimization is all kinds of nonsense. In the desert region I would reach a point I could not progress any further in the game because of a cave full of golems that would spawn pillars to block your path. It would spawn so many particle effects that a single one of them would cut my framerate in half, despite the fact that a more intense situation would only cause a minor drop if any. According to the forums it was because the game doesn’t utilize processor cores very well and will stutter if your processor isn’t fast enough.

I admit my rig is dated now and needs to be replaced, but when the game first came out my rig was still considered mid-to-high range. My processor is a gen2 i7, there’s no reason it should be chugging along in a bloody’ ARPG. that came out the year after I built it.
And God help me when there were more than one of those golems at any given time. I think I finally rage quit when I ran into 4 at once and the game quite literally turned into a slide show of about 2 frames per second. It is the only game I’ve ever played on this rig where performance issues have rendered it completely unplayable.

I’ve not tried to play it again since I replaced my old card with a gtx 770, so maybe I wouldn’t have those problems anymore. Still though, the memory stings.

Dystopiq
Guest
Dystopiq

I wonder what runic games is working on now? Say PWE owns them.

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

Damonvile I’ll let President Martin Sheen speak for me, here.
http://cdn.teen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/youre-Wrong1.gif

Damonvile
Guest
Damonvile

of all the oarpg they tried I thought this one was the worst. I was pretty surprised mike liked it the most….so both of you are what i like to call….WRONG :)

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

omedon666 Do it. Get mods, too. Tons of cool stuff in the Steam Workshop.