Torchlight II Hands-On Impressions

We stumble out of the dungeon and into the sun with our first look at the sequel to last year's hit indie RPG.

When Torchlight was released last year as a digital download at a bargain-basement price, fans of the dungeon crawling and hack-and-slash genres showered it with praise. While the game wasn’t built to the same scale as the Diablo series it emulates so lovingly, the experience was both accessible and entertaining, sending you back into the depths of the earth for one more quest, or another chance on the enchanter lucky-dip.

The fact that a sequel is on the way is of little surprise, but the speed with which developer Runic Games is bringing it to market is. Torchlight II feeds directly on the community feedback from the first game and overhauls combat and the user interface and adds a much requested feature in multiplayer. The team believes the latter is best with two to four players for an online game of this nature. While presently there are no plans for the inclusion of player-versus-player combat, they are actively looking at the option to include duels against friends. Bringing the Torchlight franchise to the massively multiplayer online stage also hasn’t been ruled out, and while they're currently focusing their energy on bringing this product to players, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the studio turn on persistency and up-sell players to a free-to-play business model in the future.

A total rework of the character system means that the classes from the first game will not be making a return appearance, meaning there will not be an option to import previous characters from the original game. In their place, four new archetypes are being introduced, two of which were playable at Gamescom 2010. The first, the Railman, is an explorer gentleman with a penchant for big, heavy weapons and melee combat. The second is the Outlander, a hybrid ranged-attack and dark-magic user with both a rifle and a magic glaive used like a boomerang and excellent against groups of enemies.

Fans who got tired of the spiral staircase feel of the level design in Torchlight will be pleased to hear that the game will now expand out of the catacombs, offering a central quest hub, a starting zone, and four new areas in a mixture of indoor and outdoor settings. Outdoors players can expect a day and night cycle as well as dynamic weather effects, which we experienced as rain while playing, Instances will be available in all the zones.

Itemisation has also received some work, and while you will still face the potential of receiving loot outside of your class type when killing a boss, the team hopes that some tightening of which loot drops and when--combined with the ability to trade items with friends--will help alleviate the issue of building up giant cash reserves when selling off all the epic and legendary gear that doesn’t fit your class. Loot should never be a scramble online, though, with all of the items appearing onscreen being solely for you. You will be able to view only your own lootable items, so there shouldn't be any issues with thievery or complex loot rules to cause squabbles.

While it wasn’t on show during our demonstration, we were also told that Torchlight II will ship with some extra community features in its virtual box. Modding tools similar to the ones used by the development team will allow players to design their own Torchlight levels for others to play. Details remain sketchy, but we're eager to see what kinds of levels can be made and how the publisher approaches rating and promoting content.

Runic identified pricing as one of the key factors to its success, saying it is aiming for the lowest price point possible for the sequel. Though the build we saw was only in a pre-alpha state, it was already looking sharp and running smoothly. Expect this game to hit the PC and Mac in the spring of 2011.

Written By

Want the latest news about Torchlight II?

Torchlight II

Torchlight II

Discussion

58 comments
lorly1
lorly1

have they announced the fourth class yet

-DaNuTz-
-DaNuTz-

can't wait to try the multiplayer with my friends

xSlider257
xSlider257

I assume Dan meant Spring of 2012 for a release? Bummer I was really hoping to see this before Diablo III arrives.

Mirrebex
Mirrebex

awesome game.. waiting anxiously.

OdinssonThor
OdinssonThor

I hope to god games like this NEVER come to xbox!

AzatiS
AzatiS

@guitarist1980 Lets see... Was no D2 , combat weak , combat fake , effects were a joke, no physics ( like D2 had much )... Well guess what. Torchlight had so much success for the same reasons you claiming it failed!! Fast and chaotic combat , intense fights at time , great and many skills to choose from ( trees or spells ) and a very well done storyline/dungeon system for a 15euros GAME!!! PERIOD...

Rixtake
Rixtake

I have played Fate: The Traitor Soul for over 383 hours. I've seen Diablo II and was unimpressed. Fate is Harry and Hermione do Diablo. I believe it's multiplayer on Wildtangent. It's marketed for kids which is probably why it's been overlooked. I'm 62. Can be found for $20 or less.

Dunbon
Dunbon

I hope to god this comes to xbox.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I thought Torchlight was decent.. it was no Diablo 2. The combat seemed weak.. when you attacked something it felt fake.. the effects were a joke.. and there were no physics what so ever. The game had some charm though and it was very simple to pick it up for a few mins at a time. I liked the art style, it was "cute". With some experience and some work done already I think there next installment will be a much much better game.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I thought Torchlight was decent.. it was no Diablo 2. The combat seemed weak.. when you attacked something it felt fake.. the effects were a joke.. and there were no physics what so ever. The game had some charm though and it was very simple to pick it up for a few mins at a time. I liked the art style, it was "cute". With some experience and some work done already I think there next installment will be a much much better game.

Raiden_II
Raiden_II

I loved the graphic style of Torchlight, it was warmer then in many other titles of that genre. And not feeling so empty. I'm definitely looking forward to Torchlight 2. :-)

kuinkz
kuinkz

@Nuggetol Runic Games were founded by the game designers of the Diablo and Fate series. Game designers are the master mind behind everything of a game, so yes, they have indeed worked directly on those games. Wiki it if you are not sure.

elancion
elancion

i recently reinstalled diablo 2 to give it the grand ole replay. it was cool going back down memory lane,but i have to admit i enjoyed playing torchlight a lot more. of course d2 had a better story than torchlight,but in my opinion the game play and questing (not to mention the insane loot system) in torchlight are way more fun and hardly felt tedious unlike D2. i think some of the bias may come from the fact that the character design in torchlight is a little more exaggerated when compared to D2. game play wise torchlight takes all the things that made d2 a great game and improves as well as expands upon them. in my opinion if there was ever a D2 ultimate edition, torchlight would be it (minus the story and difference in character design of course).

twistyanddark
twistyanddark

Necromancer, Demonologist, Airbender, Spiritdancer, Paladin, Lady Knight, those who know what I am talking about must expect TL2 and its editor. The others just installed it, played a bit and quit.

Nuggetol
Nuggetol

@Exorte Runic games never directly worked with either of those games, i believe that a few members of Runic Games worked on them though.

Exorte
Exorte

Runic game have developer from both fate and diablo. that is why.

Chirisa
Chirisa

imo torchlight bears a lot more resemblance to Fate though that games probs inspired by diablo as well, but the pet the fishing and hack'n'slash gameplay all there. those games are a lot a like.

hecktickXx
hecktickXx

torchlight 1 is poop =/ hope the 2nd is better

Madbane
Madbane

to be honest I didn't like Torchlight, it was a medicore Diablo 2 like game with some World of Warcraft like content, and it didn't had a good story, anyway I hope Torchlight 2 will not be a cheap game like first one...

Asakura83
Asakura83

finally multiplayer in Torchlight2..looking foword for it

WorldWar3434
WorldWar3434

@Darkruin7 I had no idea about Crate Entertainment or Grim Dawn. Thanks for the heads up!

Darkruin7
Darkruin7

(dannyatkinson) Yes Titan Quest was my all time favorite game and I also wanted TQ2 more than ever but then I stumbled upon Grim Dawn! Some key Iron Lore members formed Crate Entertainment and are working on the spiritual successor to Titan Quest. Check out their website: www.grimdawn.com!

Monohydrate
Monohydrate

The only thing missing from the first was LAN play. This will definitely be getting a run at my mate's drunken LAN parties once it is released.

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

I would assume that 2 will take off shortly after the events of TL 1 or maybe the same situation in another world entirely. But if I were them, I'd seriously consider doing it the first way I suggested. Starting it in a new world just doesn't have the same ring to it. It also probably wouldn't have the same connection to the dire situation in the world that this one did.

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

Yes, LAN was what the first one NEEDED badly. It was so difficult in spots that no matter how tough you made your character, you still got slaughtered. Hopefully when 2 comes out, they might consider adding multiplayer LAN capabilities to it via a patch or something along those lines. Let's also hope that they include some videos like Diablo II did to tell the story a little better. Listening to that insane mage just got annoying after a while.

alert0
alert0

Four people, each his/her own unique class with unique, unlootable weapons. Brilliant!

j0nny_d4ng3r
j0nny_d4ng3r

Awesome news! The prospect of modding is a real bonus.

maki1300
maki1300

Diablo series is still the best hack-n-slash / A-rpg of all time. STILL give Torchlight and Runic a lot of credits . they are doing a great job here. i really got hooked with Torch cause of the gameplay ~it just feels right :D :D :D

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

I miss Titan Quest. Shame there will be no TQ2.

Juguard
Juguard

Do people even know who is developing this game? ... Yes, people that co-designed Diablo and Diablo II.

kosh1979
kosh1979

Torchlight was a "little oasis" for all the diablo funs waiting the big release. Comparing Torchlight and Diablo is also impossible. If the T2 will introduce a better story and better graphics maybe it will be able to stand alone on its feet and get out of the Diablo shadow especially from the comparison with it. Otherwise, nobody will remember T2 as a game but as a pit stop for Diablo 3... Runic team must make a better effort...

Binzen
Binzen

*Thumbs-up Blitzkrieg129* =^)

TheGreatmars
TheGreatmars

torchlight is not superior to diablo 2 and probably torchlight 2 will not be superior to diablo 3 and comparing them is a mistake, i liked torchelight but the story was meh and the skill tree was a joke also enchantment system was a game breaking issue but they succeeded in making a fun game also i liked the sharing chest and the pet yet they totaly missed two of the most important aspects of diablo which is boss fights and item looting as boss fights were easy and loot was bad or atleast not charming enough to bother looking for...

Zenstrive
Zenstrive

Love Torchlight. A fresh take on old concept. And it works! Robot Bard!

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

I love it when people believe that their opinions are truly facts...when they're still opinions.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

@Airek49 I am not a fanboy at all.. its just the facts.. Blizzards team is probably 10x the size with unlimited resources. Diablo 3 is going to be one of the most amazing games that has ever been released. Fact.

ecs33
ecs33

Are people really calling this the Diablo III killer? LOL. Don't get me wrong, I will buy this to feed my appetite until Diablo III, but that is what this is to me. This will be a great game, but Blizzard never fails to make an uber addictive awesome game. I am so hooked on SC2 right now it isn't even funny. If you are comparing this game to Diablo II then this is obviously superior. But we all know Blizzard is going to once again innovate and surprise us all in terms of design and overall fun.

blackfray
blackfray

Definitely a must buy for Diablo fans. just hope they make it much bigger and with more details this time.

stevo367
stevo367

The first one was a bit repetitive and dull to me, despite being an old Diablo fan. I think perhaps i've simply gotten bored with this formula.

cfouranger
cfouranger

This game sounds promising. I played the first one and i liked it a lot. I hope they won't make us wait too long for this one.

MIRAGE__basic
MIRAGE__basic

Sounds exciting i can't wait to get to hunt in different areas instead of the same dungeon for a million levels. The addition of multiplayer should make for an awesome second round!

Exorte
Exorte

I hope they fix the spell scaling issue, many spells become totally useless late game. (I haven't played it for a long time, maybe they patch it.) What I like about D3 is the remove of TP and less rely on potion. It makes combat much better. I really hope they do something like that in TL 2. One more problem I have with TL is that many build you only have to spam one button, actully most of the build you spam one button, since there is too less skills useful, therefore all builds focus on one single spell. They try to make combat interesting by making skills that should be passive recastable buff with short timer, but that doesn't really fix the issue.

Tamill
Tamill

i never compared, i only said blizzard will have it hard with the modding community. Because they wont release any kind of tools. Also at our time and age not being able to mod games released on pc that are not simple console ports is far from normal. Sims, Starcraft 2, Dragon age, Torchlight, Half-Life 2, Quake franchise you name it. Other than that most of runic games developers consist of Blizzard North ex Founders that made Diablo and Diablo 2. Also they have made many other ARPG`s since Diablo 2. Which added to their experience. I have high expectations for this game.

Airek49
Airek49

@guitarist1980 I didn't realize you've got your hands on finished version of both games to state that they are NOT similar. Surely that wasn't fanboyism speaking, was it?

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

LOL your kidding me right? Your comparing this game to Diablo 3? Even though this game is pretty much fully inspired by the Diablo franchise and even though I like Torchlight and I will probably like this.. this game is childs play compared to Diablo 3. Dont mention these 2 games like they are on equal ground because there about 50 million dollars apart in development expenses. Diablo 3 looks absolutely phenomenal.

GSgirl
GSgirl

Looking forward for it