I’m not scared to admit the fact that I loved Torchlight simply because of how amazing and great the original Diablo was.
Torchlight is a dungeon crawling heaven, the nirvana of loot grinding and hoard slaying. When it came to negatives, Torchlight featured no co-op or multiplayer of any sort, and I can happily say that the addition of cooperative gameplay and multiplayer support makes Torchlight II one of the best and most exciting titles I’ve played.
During my hands on time with the game I got to play with one of the new Beserker classes, a frenzied warrior who channels the spirits of animals to do devestating damage. He’s almost the tank of the game. One of the moves is an orange wolf that radiates from your body outwards and dashes you forward and through enemies.
The Berserker is one of the four classes available, and whilst there’s only three announced right now, Runic Games intends on announcing the newest and final class for the sequel in the next couple of months.
We started our gameplay off in the “Overworld”, a one hundred percent randomly generated level that’s unique to you, and you only. All the quests within the Overworld are random, the enemies respawn, making for a literally unlimited gameplay experience. If you go into multiplayer, your Overworld is bound to you, so no two player owned levels will ever be the same. It’s a huge statement to make, but Runic has an excellent system and it works perfectly.
We approached a skeleton by a gate, who gave us a quest to explore the dungeon locked behind closed doors. Moving down the level a bit we came across a sarcophagus which we promptly opened… and which then proceeded to pour out skeletons. Random terrain pieces like this will react different and produce different results. Some might contain gold, others enemies. It’s a risk and reward system that always leaves you wanting more.
A ghost came from the stone and then proceeded to open the gate, allowing us access to one of the random dungeons. Now when I say random I don’t just mean “Hey, pick a number!”, I mean everything within the level is one hundred percent unique. You will never play the same level twice in Torchlight II, and that’s great because the level cap is aiming to be around 100.
As we proceeded through the dungeon and killed our fair share of enemies we got to talking about the art design and how they’ve gone and completely redesigned the user interface. Everything is a lot smoother and performance gains of hundreds of frames are expected for most computers, including Mac.
Runic Games has also added a cannon to the fray, and whilst it’s slow, the reward is devastating damage that works great when fighting large groups of enemies.
As a fan of the original game and the giant bosses I kept asking if they’d increased the size of them and made them more difficult. Well my question was answered when we came into a courtyard area of sorts to face a giant troll and dozens of skeletons that it was able to summon.
Even with my health buffed substantially for the preview, the troll was still dealing massive damage and was quite a challenge. It was a great way to end the dungeon, and what was even great is the fact that the boss and how it fights is random, too.
Runic Games is aiming to release Torchlight II on PC and Mac via Steam (and other platforms) before the end of 2011 for a price between twenty and thirty dollars.