Torchlight 2 preview: Finishing Touches

A hands-on look at Torchlight 2 as it prepares for its fast-approaching launch.

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As September 20 looms close, one might expect to see Torchlight 2 developer Runic Games scrambling in its final days. The recently announced release date is approaching fast. But the game has at least felt complete since my time with it at PAX East, giving a wide berth to Diablo 3 and affording itself plenty of time for finishing touches.

As a result, my time with it at PAX Prime showcased not just the functional mechanics of the sizable follow-up, but some areas that Runic has had time to think through extra features. One of the most important revisions comes to skills, which now include tiered bonuses. Runic found that players weren't feeling much reason to invest in skills beyond the standard stat increases, so now each skill includes three much more powerful tiers that are unlocked as you progress.

This second look also gave a sampling of the one factor that can't be judged from a single demonstration: variety. While the first game felt largely the same throughout, the handful of settings I've been able to explore now couldn't be more different. The grassy meadow, desert wasteland, and musty dungeon were all distinct expressions of this world. Even still, it all carries a unified look, and the environments clearly belong in the same world. Torchlight 2 seems to have gained breadth without sacrificing depth.

I spent my time as a pre-built female Berserker, a far cry from my previous experiences with Embermage. Besides the obvious qualities of being a faster, more aggressive character than many others, I invested into some Wolf abilities. Triggering the transformation to wreak havoc on scads of underlings is a more active exercise than traditional dungeon-crawlers, and felt appropriately vicious.

Despite the increased power, though, I'd occasionally run into creatures too strong for me to handle. A Runic representative would look over my shoulder and tell me, in no uncertain terms, to run away. After the original game offered such clear sequential challenge in descending the dungeon layers, it was reassuring to know that I'll have a reason to revisit areas in the sequel.

This close to release, Torchlight 2 was essentially a finished product. Runic even said that it will watch the community for cues on post-release plans, and mentioned the possibility of additional pets. But it's been finished in a sense for months, and the extra time was well-spent assuring the pieces fit together perfectly.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 11, 2012 9:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Torchlight 2 preview: Finishing Touches.

    A hands-on look at Torchlight 2 as it prepares for its fast-approaching launch.

    • reply
      September 11, 2012 9:36 AM

      Wish this had controller support. :(

      • reply
        September 11, 2012 9:43 AM

        It does now --> http://xpadder.com/

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          September 11, 2012 10:35 AM

          Xpadder is a godsend. Worth every penny.

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            September 11, 2012 12:25 PM

            Cool you use it too :) yeah for sure hey its really good software, make your comp into a obber console on steroids.

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              September 11, 2012 1:00 PM

              I first used it for Secret World. Made the controls a lot smoother.

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          September 11, 2012 10:58 AM

          it wants money, but I want it for free :(

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          September 11, 2012 12:54 PM

          Yeah but every time I try to shoehorn a game into Xpadder it doesn't feel quite right. Like if I have do any mouse aiming with a thumbstick, fugedaboutit.

          I really liked the controls in XBLA Torchlight. I hope they add that to this or make an XBLA version.

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          September 11, 2012 4:56 PM

          Now this.. This is cool.

          I'm presently sitting on my couch playing World of Tanks with my 360 Controller.

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            September 11, 2012 5:02 PM

            Luna does this and he plays just as well if not better than me on KB/M. How do you like it?

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              September 11, 2012 6:18 PM

              It's pretty neat! I just wish I had a better TV as it's only 720p - but it's good enough for the kid and I to chill on the couch and play Tanks.

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      September 11, 2012 9:45 AM

      What is the major draw of Torchlight 2? There's a lot of shack hype for it. If I found TL1 boring, will I like TL2?

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        September 11, 2012 9:48 AM

        It depends how much value you place on co-op. Based on what I saw during their beta weekend the game is 95% the same gameplay/mechanics as TL1, just with co-op included.

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          September 11, 2012 9:59 AM

          I thought people were saying it's much faster-paced in terms of combat, which would interest me. Diablo-esque games that have slow combat or mobs with a fuckload of HP do very little for me.

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          September 11, 2012 10:00 AM

          Pretty much this^ plus hope that they've managed to make the base game more fun.

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        September 11, 2012 10:26 AM

        co-op and $20 I'd imagine... I had fun solo'ing TL1 but I would definitely love to co-op

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        September 11, 2012 10:50 AM

        The major draw of TL2 is that most people likes TL1.

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        September 11, 2012 11:04 AM

        [deleted]

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        September 11, 2012 11:25 AM

        It's like Diablo 3 but not shitty, pretentious and boring. There, said it.

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          September 11, 2012 12:18 PM

          if D3 never came out and in it's place Blizzard released Torchlight 1 or 2, the amount of shit piling that would go on would be out of control. I like Torchlight just fine, but it takes the Diablo recipe and boils it down to the bare bones and you're left with a pretty average game. I think people are just far too eager to jump on the hate bandwagon of big studios.

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            September 11, 2012 12:35 PM

            Everyone has an opinion, and here's mine on this:

            Blizzard depends not on quality games but rather a model of releasing mediocre, at best, games that depend on a model requiring people to play the same games over and over and over again, slightly changing the risk/reward's. It's old, it's annoying and it shows a lack of design aesthetic I find appalling for the industry. Several developers do it, but blizzard has championed it and done a great disservice to everyone as a result. Not a fan.

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            September 11, 2012 6:21 PM

            Torchlight is not a good game. You're right, if Blizzard had released it the hatetrain circlejerk would be huge

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              September 11, 2012 6:38 PM

              You can say the same thing the other way around. Plenty of people liked Torchlight back when it was released but now that it was in competition with Diablo 3, they made it their goal to make everyone know how bad Torchlight was.

              Torchlight was a good game. it was praised by almost everyone when it got released.

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                September 11, 2012 7:53 PM

                It was fun for the first three hours, then repetition set in. I had to stop at dungeon level 30, couldn't make myself finish it.

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                  September 11, 2012 8:28 PM

                  That's really close to the end and where it actually starts to get kind of hard (unless you are playing on normal difficulty). I think the final boss is on level 35.

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          September 11, 2012 1:00 PM

          Thank you, it needed to be said.

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        September 11, 2012 4:51 PM

        Coop is the major draw this time, as is the $20 price tag with no forced DRM.

        The beta was a lot of fun, fast paced and the action felt great. Then you have truly random areas to explore unlike D3's mostly static overworld, mod and steam workshop support, and Matt Uelmen's soundtrack alone will probably be worth the price tag if TL1's score is any indication.

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      September 11, 2012 9:46 AM

      Game is going to be amazing, the beta was rad when I was in it I can only imagine what the final game will be like. The extra time surely has paid of big time, as i the word on the street.

      NEXT WEEK

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      September 11, 2012 11:24 AM

      Looks good, though I still think PoE will be better.
      FYI, I think 'ultimately' should be essentially. Also "caries" is misspelled. (And personally I'd change to active voice in the sentence that starts 'The grassy meadow...')

      As a general site critique, I think you should look into getting a copy editor. There are generally several such mistakes per article, which is understandable -- doubtful that any staff members are English majors, your job is to research stories. But a layer of polish on the write-ups would be generally beneficial.

      • reply
        September 11, 2012 11:29 AM

        I see you are eating chocolate oatmeal grammar cookies.

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          September 11, 2012 11:30 AM

          It is the source of my powers and also my greatest weakness

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        September 11, 2012 11:33 AM

        Ultimately it falls on me, as does everything with the site.

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        September 11, 2012 7:50 PM

        ^^^ Path of Exile

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      September 11, 2012 12:04 PM

      Very much ready for this to come out

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        September 11, 2012 12:09 PM

        Yep. Hope elite difficulty is brutal. Seemed like it at PAX East & Beta

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      September 11, 2012 4:38 PM

      No RMAH? Check~!

      I'm in!

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      September 11, 2012 5:04 PM

      How many people can play co-op?

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        September 11, 2012 5:23 PM

        The current cap is 6.

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          September 11, 2012 6:18 PM

          Haven't they also said something about being able to unlock that cap with mods or something? Or did I misunderstand what they said? It's been a while since I actually followed news on the game.

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            September 11, 2012 6:20 PM

            I think you're right. The map editor/mod tools they will provide apparently allow control of player counts.

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              September 11, 2012 7:51 PM

              Release cap is 6, but the editor/mod tools will allow that to be raised.

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      September 11, 2012 6:31 PM

      they missed their window. they really should have released it in june or july. between guild wars 2 and borderlands approaching, i have plenty to do already.

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        September 11, 2012 7:55 PM

        I think they're running late but they didnt' miss any orders doing it this way. The people that wanted it pre-ordered and the rest will pick it up after us pre-orders start spooging all over it.

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        September 11, 2012 8:24 PM

        It was supposed to launch last year, but it's not going anywhere. Torchlight had a long life thanks to digital sales. I bet the sequel does even better for what they are offering at $20.

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