Torchlight II (Runic Games)
System: PC Release Date: Summer 2012
Suggested ESRB: T for Teen
Welcome to part one of my special Preview coverage of the upcoming sequel to one of my favorite Dungeon crawlers of 2009, Torchlight. In the next couple of posts I’ll cover the different classes in Torchlight II as well as the changes that make this title stand out in a market that has just released ‘Diablo 3” so stay tuned for more!
Preview Class: Outlander
one of the best things about the new torchlight game is new classes! It took a little while for me to decide which hero I’d choose but after some thinking I decided my first character was going to be the Outlander as they appeared the closest to my favorite class “the vanquisher” from the original torchlight Kupo!
I can say I wasn’t disappointed as the ‘Outlander’ class is very much the dedicated ranged class out of the four adventurers at your disposal. The Outlander is specialized in using everything from one handed pistols to massive two handed cannon’s that would look at home in the depths of any pirate ship. Their main roll in combat is crowd control and suppression. Often I’ll find myself back flipping out of danger blinding my enemies and crippling them with poison daggers before I take a stance and unload on the blind, crippled, and poisoned monsters who have no hope of taking me down.
Like the other three classes in the game the outlander has three skill tree’s it can spec into each providing a decent amount of customization as you progress through the game. The first and my selected tree is “Warfare” this tree allows you to jump around your enemies and take them down with vicious poisons and various techniques that allow you to better control a group. The next tree is named “Lore” which focuses on using a special weapon known as a glave that bounces amidst your foes and causes all kinds of effects as you level these effects are also tied to a special mechanic called “Charge” that I will cover in a moment. The last tree is known as “Sigil” and it allows you to command the elements adding stat boosting elemental damage and buffs that help you and your party face the larger groups of enemies. No matter what tree you choose you’ll be an important part of any party as well as a formidable stand alone adventurer.
Ok so you know how I mentioned “Charge” each class in torchlight II now has a new bar that sits above their main skills. Each class uses the power stored in this section differently but it is all gained the same way through combat. In the Outlander’s case as they continue to fight enemies their gauge will grow, giving them stat boosting effects that allow them to survive even the longest gunfight. In the “Lore” skill tree you build charge a lot faster meaning you gain the amazing bonuses a lot sooner than other tree’s. What buff’s are these you might ask? Well as your charge bar grows you gain higher percentages in stuff like casting speed, attack power, dodge chance and critical hit. The nice thing about the charge gauge is that as long as your fighting something the bar won’t deplete meaning you can go from battle to the next as strong as ever, not bad if you ask me Kupo!
I hope this was a good look into the Outlander as I have had a lot of fun with them so far and plan to play one for the remainder of my main game, that is unless one of the other three classes manages to tempt me away and who knows with how solid this class as been I have no doubt the others are no joke either.
Special Feature: Maps
as well as covering the classes I want to spend time in each article to discuss the other features in Torchlight II that are exciting and will provide a clear picture as to how much game you’ll be getting when Torchlight II releases this Summer. The first of these features is the environments and how they change/ what you’ll find within one of the games many massive open area’s that separate the ‘hub’ town from your quests and dungeons.
After a brief introduction and quick ‘tutorial’ area you are taken to your first major town. It isn’t much to look at, at first. There are a few basic vendors and a few npc’s but for the most part its the branching roads to new places that will interest you the most. The first place you are sent is known as The Temple Steppes. To say this area is huge is an understatement. This one area is easily four times bigger than any one map in the original torchlight. You’ll spend a lot of time exploring this place in your early levels, luckily the developers planned for this and littered the map with tons of neat little touches such as Golden chests (with hidden keys), minor puzzles involving ghosts and tombs, and even the occasional optional quest (like the Plunder Cove quest)
The attention to detail in the environment’s in torchlight II is impressive, all around there are things you can interact with. Stones can be over turned, lanterns can be destroyed and lets not forget lanterns on some buildings that cause the whole thing to light up; which in turn causes men to rush out of the flames coughing and stumbling for air. Night and day as well as weather effects all add to the immersion in the vast amount of places you can visit. In only a few hours I have been through a asian inspired marsh, a deadly half sunken pirate cove, and deep into a snowy mountain pass.
As if this wouldn’t be enough the game also includes, wait for it…randomized areas! Every-time you enter a zone you are given a unique map that is yours until you leave into another one of the zones that branch off the hub town. This means you don’t have to worry about losing your progress on one of the huge maps unless you absolutely want to watch it all change. It isn’t only the combination of props and such that change when you enter or re-enter an area in torchlight II, it also changes Loot drops and even Quests! On my second adventure in the temple steppes I came across a lantern that wasn’t in my first map that contained a ghost who lead me to a secret dungeon where a vile ghost pirate waited. This type of replayablity is startling and makes going back to older area’s seem fresh and new every time you do it. Listen Up developers! I want more of this kupo!
Well I hope this has provided you with a decent first look at this fantastic game, expect another article soon which I cover the engineer and pets! For fans who want to join in on the beta you can sign up on the Runic Games website and wait patiently for an invite kupo! Until then keep adventuring heroes!