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    dkirschner's Torchlight II (PC)

    [September 28, 2013 03:18:44 PM]
    Burned through Torchlight II in a few days. Complete and total grind to the end with nothing pushing me along except compulsively killing things and leveling up and getting better gear. I'd definitely talked this up in my head like it was going to be a much enhanced version of the original Torchlight and more similar in quality to Diablo 2/3. Didn't realize it was still such an indie game. Not saying that derogatorily. Visuals didn't make me look twice, sound design was bare, I don't recall any music except an odd electric guitar that surfaced here and there. I kept wanting to hear Diablo 3's barbarian roars and feel the weight of those badass characters, but the "oomph" was missing here.

    While I'm on sort of depressing downsides, I'll keep going. The story was utterly absent. They set up a skeleton narrative. You follow a bad guy named The Alchemist who is going after some artifact to rip open the portal between the real world and the Netherworld or something. Everywhere you go, The Alchemist has already been. He kills/takes over/enrages a few big elemental guardians along the way to sap their power and take it. In the end, you kill him and take the artifact. I just told you the entire story in 4 sentences. Nothing happens, absolutely nothing. The main quest has weak voice acting to tell it. The side quests almost all involve "going into this cave right here and killing a baddie" and "running around the map and clicking 4 things or picking up 4 objects." The only point of the side quests, the narratives of which are lame, is to go into a dungeon or cave or whatever and kill stuff, gain some XP and hopefully some items, and sometimes kill a miniboss that nets an achievement.

    When I reached the end of the game, I didn't know I had reached the end of the game. This made me very sad because it felt rushed. All of a sudden...and I mean ALL OF A're fighting the "Dark Alchemist," which I guess was The Alchemist. No one tells you that. You just approach some stairs that say "The Alchemist," then you enter and have a fight. He doesn't say anything, nothing happens. You just fight and kill him. Then I was like, what? Are the credits going to roll? No, they don't. You keep going. I was asking myself at that point, okay, what is next? I didn't even know that was The Alchemist. Or was it? So go another level or 2 down the dungeon and all of a sudden there are some stairs for "Netherlord" or something. Go in there, hey it's another boss, fight and kill whoever the Netherlord is. It dies, a bunch of achievements pop up for beating the game. No story, no boss speech, no nothing whatsoever! I didn't even know who that was, and wasn't even sure if I'd faced the actual Alchemist! So disappointing! Part of the reason I kept playing through to the end was just to see what the last boss would be like, and I was just confused as to who I was fighting and what I was doing at the end. I would have quit earlier had I known nothing happened!

    If, on the chance you loved playing through the game, there is a ton of replay value. 4 difficulties (I played on Normal, which was 2/4), a hardcore mode, online, a new game + that starts from the beginning with all your equipment and everything at level 51, and a bunch of maps. These maps are cool and reminded me sort of of Bastion. Basically they are areas you can purchase your way to that have level recommendations and various penalties and enhancements for you/allies and enemies. In my game, I had a map that was recommended for level 105 as the highest! I was 53 at the end, by the way. There were probably 50 maps all the way from level 45 or so, to that 105. They'll say things like Allies gain 10% chance to find magic items, have 20% increased cast time and attack speed. Enemies gain 100% damage, 20% chance to freeze for 4 seconds. Stuff like that, handicaps and ways to weigh risk and reward. I think it's neat for those who want to continue improving their character or face serious challenges.

    Despite my general disappointment, there was some neat stuff going on. There were secret rooms to find and champion enemies and special bosses to discover, kill and get achievements for. Usually about one per big map area, you find a locked golden chest. If you explore thoroughly, you'll also find a fairy who, if you kill, drops the key to the chest. There are also, with about the same frequency, phase beasts, which if you kill open a portal to unique challenges. These were my favorite parts of the game. Sometimes you fight arena battles with waves of increasingly difficult enemies in the phase portals. Sometimes you run a gauntlet or something. The best one, which was really memorable, and which I wish there was more of, said "Stay in the light" when I entered. Then a big spotlight shone on the ground and began moving forward. I had to fight my way through this linear dungeon, and try to grab as much treasure as I could, while staying in the light! It allowed for some cool set pieces where the light would stop and you had a little sumo match with some hulking enemy, and these frantic parts where the light moved quickly and tons of enemies were coming out of the walls, and when you saw a good item, you're like gogogogo get it get it! If you stepped out of the light, you started taking a lot of damage. I can't remember if it culminated in a boss fight. But the boss fights in the game were quite fun. There was always a lot happening on screen. Usually they were very easy, but still hectic and fun.

    And of course, there was tons of random loot, sets, unique items, gems, enchantments and on and on and on as you would expect. Sometimes you'd find in dungeons special enchanters who could do a certain type of enchant, like one that just enchants random poison enchants or one who does only stat attributes. Enchantments were probably the main way I burned through gold. Also, purchasing items from vendors, because they often had purple set items, and later you find a vendor with spells, which I didn't know I could learn until like level 20. As an Outlander, I ended up learning some passive spells that increased my pet's attributes, my dual wield damage and so on. Pets are still fun. You still feed them fish to transform them into spiders with a web ability or warbeasts with high attack or crabs with high armor or whatever else. I utilized mine as a tank a lot.

    All in all, Torchlight II was a fun game, but felt lackluster compared to Diablo 3, even with all that game's flaws. I was expecting more.
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    dkirschner's Torchlight II (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 25 September, 2013

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 28 September, 2013

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Hopefully better than D3! --------------- Nope! My expectations were too high. Oh well.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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