It is quite a testament to Torchlight II that I have a hard time just thinking of writing the review because it means I will need to move on to something else in my in-tray.
That’s after I managed to play two different and distinct characters from beginning to the end of the game. Not that there is really an end, because after you finish the story arc you can buy new maps from the “map-seller” and continue on your merry way for weeks to come.
Graphically the game is bright and visual rather than dark and grim. It is still full of explosions of gore and death, but everything is just bright and more lively. The game just looks great and runs beautifully. You find yourself wanting to dawdle in certain areas to truly enjoy things and there is enough variety so that it never feels samey.
Unlike the first game in this series, where there was only one town and all the dungeons were instanced, there are four hub areas that have various quests that fan out from each of them.
This game almost makes you feel like Torchlight was merely a “hub” preview of this game. And in fact the town of Torchlight shows up on the map that features in the load screen between areas. If one really wants the complete experience, it might behove you to go play the first game (if you havent already) before you get into this game.
One thing that has come up is the fact that you can’t re-spec your characters if you have taken them down the wrong skill path. This quite annoys some people. I can see their point, a bit.
I found myself enjoying my engineer far more with his large two-handed cannon than I did my dual-wield previous character. I would have liked to be able to make a bit of a do-over with how I skilled myself on the first toon. However, this is a minor gripe on an altogether great game.
TII allows you play offline whenever you wish. You can co-op if you wish too of course, but offline solo play is allowed. Oh yes and compared to other games, it is a bargain. Full-price TII is only $20; no doubt it will drop to some ludicrous low price in the next Steam sale.
I would be a fool not to recommend this game fully. If you liked Diablo I or II and wanted to see what the natural evolution of them would be, then this is your game. I doubt you will find a game that does what it does so well this year.
Torchlight II is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB.