E3 2011: Torchlight II Hands-On Preview

Torchlight 2 will offer bigger worlds, more monsters, and online multiplayer. We take it for a spin at E3.

The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo is the site of many things--giant monitors blaring expensive-to-produce video game trailers, giant raging herds of nerds, and highly anticipated games tucked quietly into meeting rooms. One such game is Runic's Torchlight II, a sequel to the studio's previous cartoonlike hack-and-slash game, with lots more to offer.

While the original Torchlight was generally held in high regard for being accessible, fun, and very affordable (launching at a price of $19.99 with no subscription fees or microtransactions), players were disappointed it didn't have any kind of multiplayer. As it turns out, Torchlight II will attempt to be fun, affordable (with a price point of somewhere between $20 to $30), and offer online cooperative multiplayer. Better still, Runic Games has revealed at E3 that Torchlight II will also offer cooperative play over a local area network, though the studio hasn't yet determined the maximum number of players for either.

Another focus for Runic was unveiling new content in the form of the berserker class, an aggressive melee profession with the ability to call upon wolf spirits for aid. Runic also unveiled a new undead dungeon zone and a new snowy, mountainous zone inhabited by yeti and other abominable critters. The game will apparently have three major hub zones among which your character will travel, and Runic frontman Max Schaefer suggests the world, overall, will be "much bigger" than that of the previous game. It'll also have new weapons like the portable cannon (the kind you normally see on pirate ships) and an entirely new bestiary of monsters.

However, in the interest of keeping the game accessible to those of us who haven't upgraded our computers lately, the sequel will use the same engine and technology that powered the first game. Thus, the old laptop you used to play the first game will run this one just fine.

We played as a berserker in most of our hands-on time with the game and found it to be a class that seems to really need to get up close and personal when fighting monsters. Our character was equipped with what appeared to be a cestus (a short hand axe dating back to the days of Roman gladiator battles), so we found ourselves charging right into the action and doing OK for the most part. We bashed the skeletons and ghouls of the crypt into piles of bones and picked up piles of gold, potions, and other items as loot. (Conveniently enough, Torchlight II will only display items onscreen that only your character can loot. You won't see the evenly distributed loot that fell onto the ground for your buddy, which means you'll never waste time arguing about out who needs that shiny new item more.) It was only when we encountered the dungeon's boss--an enormous, pudgy zombie that clambered out of a pit to greet us--that we even bothered to chug a healing potion. Then again, we were adventuring alongside Schaefer himself, who patiently babysat us through the demo, despite the fact that all of Torchlight II's dungeons are randomly generated, so there was no neatly premade press demo.

Torchlight II already looks like a very worthy successor, and because the game is planned for release this fall, you won't have to wait long for it. After the PC version is done, the team plans to create a Mac version of the game, after which it may then turn its attention toward an Xbox 360 version of the game, but that remains to be seen. "We're a very small company of only 30 people, and we're not gettin' any bigger," Schaefer explained. "So we can only do one thing at a time."

Written By

Want the latest news about Torchlight II?

Torchlight II

Torchlight II

Follow

Discussion

46 comments
Averagamerblog
Averagamerblog

When I read 'much bigger' I almost vomited. Only will I eat that vomit if they end up fixing the original games poor, boring and uninteresting story. Otherwise, it will be nothing but a pointless grindfest.

alphashadezer0
alphashadezer0

"a short hand ax dating back to the days of Roman gladiator battles" no it was a glove. that is sometimes used in Pankration. they were first used by the Greeks, they used them in hand to hand competitions. the Romans modified it and added attachments like spikes or metal plates. nothing like an ax.

chyng85
chyng85

I like the way it is~

baal46
baal46

Yup I'm totally stoked for TL2. I just hope it comes out sooner than later. Q2 2011? Bout time?

Battleseed
Battleseed

@Gohan7424 Yea blame the game cuz your too stupid to grasp simple concepts

flashn00b
flashn00b

I loved modding the crap out of Torchlight. I would be happy if they have mod support for Torchlight 2, though i would assume that mod implementations may prove difficult on multiplayer.

Kratos_Kills
Kratos_Kills

this looks better than the first and imo the first one was charming.

gammis
gammis

really exiting!!! :))

Decrate
Decrate

torchlight 1 was alright... but the graphics, and lack of multiplayer kinda lowered its score in my eyes that said, with added online and hopefully more graphics options.. this will turn out great until Diablo 3 arrives, which is the only true dungeon game

SkylerX
SkylerX

@Gohan7424 they *affected

valcrist09
valcrist09

First one was fun but the quest system was a little vague and a little pricey at 20$ for a single player Fate type game. Now with COOP then we are getting more into D1/d2 style gameplay that might make things more interesting but with a hopeful D3 release date here at next blizzcon , it might make TL2 short lived esp sense the release was pushed from july to sometime fall 2011.

Gohan7424
Gohan7424

Torchlight was terrible imho. Was more like a $9.99 game. My main gripe, the stats were confusing and not clear or easy to understand how they effected abilities. Why get excited about new loot when there is no way to determine exactly how its effecting your character?

valent1n
valent1n

before Diablo 3, this should be enough; DungeonSiege 3 is a FAIL !!!

Shardz7
Shardz7

Runic is an amazing powerhouse of talent and I look forward to whatever they bring us next. Frankly, with all these corporate games failing hard and deep (for 2 years now), I think people will enjoy this game and appreciate it much more than the first one. And I loved Torchlight quite a bit for what it was and for what you could make it do. And for the value factor we are talking about here, you just can't beat it.

SupaTrupa
SupaTrupa

The first game was utterly generic and fairly boring...not sure just adding MP and "bigger dungeons" will change the flawed, been-there-done-that nature of the first...great for kids who haven't been playing these same generic fantasy action-rpg click fests for 10+ years like the rest of us I suppose...

SkylerX
SkylerX

Multiplayer For-The-WIN, it's really the only thing I didn't like about the first. I don't even want the company to pony up their hard earned cash for servers, maybe a matchmaking server, like battlefield, but let the players host on their own servers. Good on them for keeping LAN play alive as well. These people should have made Dungeon Siege 3, and those people should be fired.

Slightly_Emo
Slightly_Emo

I only played the demo of the first but I loved it. Although I assume the lack of online would bring it down a bit so to hear this is good news.

thebanewolf
thebanewolf

The first one didn't do it for me. It was basically the same thing over and over, deeper and deeper into the generic random dungeon creator where not even the monsters provided variety beyond their skin. It suffers from the same illness Borderlands does, "DERP, LOOK AT US, WE HAVE 1 GAZILLION GUNS, HURR DURR." Too much randomness and it becomes bland. Utterly bland and boring. Weapons were the same "slightly better stats than your current item" bull**** where you replace an item every 5 minute. No sense of "Wow this Sword of the Gods is truly an amazing powerful/endgame weapon. The fight against Mephistopheles, the archdemon was truly worth it." No.. standard MMO loot from a lvl 74 giant rat of hardiness. Like a stuffed dog vs a living dog. Has no soul. Zombie game. Story? Non-existent. Interesting characters? Non-existent. Interesting world to explore? Nope. Enthralling quests? Nope. I did enjoy the graphics though, on an artistic level. /rant TL DR I hate it when games that I dislike get popular ):

tiggerlu
tiggerlu

By the time Diablo 3 comes out there might 3 Torchlight games already lol. I enjoyed the first one, it was simple hack and slash, but it was really charming too. I did hope they up the engine a bit, or at least refine it, as it was cartoony but also it'll be 3-4 years since the last game? Gotta stay up with the Joneses.

sirspikey
sirspikey

Superb, I loved TL1 and have high hopes for this one

Gasakon
Gasakon

It's got everything to be a good game, I hope it comes out soon, because I can't see any especific date despite that "Q2 2011"

Agent-M
Agent-M

It would be nice if they hired a dedicated writer to actually implement a story line instead of giving us a game with mindless hacking and no story/character development what so ever. Can't wait for Diablo III to come out.

Oggy1985
Oggy1985

Can't wait for the sequel. Torchlight was a blast and i hope the sequel will be even better. i am really fond of seeing a true PC developed game!

ManiacKawaii
ManiacKawaii

"We played as a berserker in most of our hands-on time with the game and found it to be a class that seems to really need to get up close and personal when fighting monsters." wow gee how you figured it out? I can't even know you're probably genius :D

Thxsen
Thxsen

Hope it has more than 1 mine to play around in, 1 instance was fun for a few days then got booring..

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I liked torchlight but it was very basic.. And that was fine for my lap top and 15 mins here and there. But I am hoping this game is good enough to play on my home pc and keep me engaged.. and the loot drops are more worthy of attention. Filling up my inventory and sending my puppy back to sell my junk was an ok idea. But I have a good feeling about this game and am looking forward to it. Isometric hacknslash rpg's are my favorite games to play. Of course very few have high quality standards.

Ronaldius
Ronaldius

Hope this will come to X-box, no greater fun then local co-op, some beer and late nights. Nice work Runic.

malec_1
malec_1

Out of all the Blizzard North offshoots Runic did things right. Low risk, high reward with a focus on what made hacknslash games fun. The biggest downfall of Torchlight was the lack of any multiplayer which they are remediating with the second game. This will certainly be a day one purchase for me, keep up the great work Runic!

da_nibbler
da_nibbler

would like to see some gameplay. love the original. still playing that actually. so much fun.

hock3y
hock3y

Can't wait for this to come out! Any videos coming up soon??

SexyPorkins
SexyPorkins

Hoping this comes to Xbox 360! Loved the first one...

omnifas
omnifas

100 player LAN/Online a possibility through modding a single value, maybe(not confirmed but its been said in a few interviews).

sonictank
sonictank

i love torchlight and i hope this one eventually comes to the 360 PLEASE make it happen this is the best game ever and i still play it even today

raptures330
raptures330

Stay 30 people. Stay focused. I will be getting this and going loot collecting again but this time, with friends. The addition of the pet to go to market has been one of the best ideas in any dungeon crawler in a long time. The fish is a fun diversion. @hulk2646 About as powerful a story as Diablo 1. Something evil lurks and wants to end all everything. Enter you. Stop this evil. Profit.

burnettaj
burnettaj

Loved the first one and looking forward to this one. Another good game taking up my life :)

eddy96_1
eddy96_1

easily my most anticipated game of the year

starwarsjunky
starwarsjunky

disappointed that they arent gonna be improving the graphics, but still looks like it'll be an awesome game. i'll be buying it day 1 =)

darkdragon155
darkdragon155

Pls give us more videos more info i really need something to see that's new so i could sleep easy at night :P

hulk2646
hulk2646

Torchlight II need powerful story

CL114C0777498D
CL114C0777498D

"However, in the interest of keeping the game accessible to those of us who haven't upgraded our computers lately, the sequel will use the same engine and technology that powered the first game" yeah... that's why they used the same tech. glad they're looking out for us... :/

leeveeu
leeveeu

"giant raging herds of nerds" - priceless :)