Torchlight 2 is the expansive action role play game developed by Runic Games for Microsoft Windows and released in 2012. It received widely positive reviews as it expanded on its predecessor in several key ways.
Most notably, a multiplayer option was added to the game which was an enormous omission from Torchlight. Interestingly, for all its benefits over its predecessor, is something of a stop-gap solution to an MMORPG Torchlight.
That's okay though. The plot is engaging, and the gameplay, despite being developed in 2012, still feels fun. Torchlight ports are coming to Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4 in 2019. So, is a seven year old franchise worth your time in 2019? Let's take a look.
What is Torchlight 2?
It is an action-oriented RPG that adopts it's plot directly from the original Torchlight game.
The alchemist that you were able to play in the first game has now become corrupted by the Ember Blight, a creation of the Heart of Odrak... You'll remember him as the destroyer of Torchlight.
The players will weave their way through three main acts. Each act set in a different geographical area which brings much-needed diversity to what can otherwise be a repetitive gameplay model.
So, the plot is a bit wonky, but that's to be expected in the action RPG and the dungeon crawler genres. The story of Torchlight doesn't hold a candle to the Diablo series, but they stepped up their storytelling game to bring an engaging main story arc to life.
How to Play Torchlight 2
The game is really an innovative take on the dungeon crawler model. It takes some risks and asks the player to do the same. There are game modes, difficulty levels, and upgrade complexity that really makes this game a must play.
Once you're ready to start exploring some dungeons, we've got you covered.
1. Choose a Game Mode
Like most games that are coming out these days, gives players the ability to choose between playing single player, and multiplayer. Since there isn't really anything different about the game modes, we think you should play in multiplayer from the very start.
You can play by yourself in the multiplayer mode, but then you're also leaving open the possibility of playing with friends.
2. Choose a Character Class
We'll cover the character classes in more depth later in the guide, but the easiest character to get started with, especially if you're planning to play the game by yourself, is the Engineer. The Engineer is the most well-rounded character class since they're focused on defense and can use just about any weapon.
If you're planning on playing with others, then certainly explore the other character classes, but we'd recommend having a discussion ahead of time to balance out your team.
When you choose your character, you'll also have the option to assign it a "hardcore" or "softcore" definition. A softcore character will respawn as expected. A hardcore character has but one life to live. When it dies, it's gone for good. So, choose wisely.
3. Learn the Controls
Like with all dungeon crawlers, the mouse and keyboard rein supreme as your input methods. Clicking the left mouse button will move your character to the desired point. A left click will attack an enemy, and a right click will activate one of the assigned skills.
The keyboard number row can also be assigned skills as hotkeys, elemental attacks, combos, potions, etc.
Your various panels can either be opened by clicking their icon on your control panel or, alternatively, they can be opened by pressing the letter key that corresponds with that panel. P opens the pet panel, J opens your journal and the like.
One quick note about the control system. The keys can be remapped from their default positions to make battles easier.
4. Level Appropriately
Learn how to distribute your different points to level up your character. (Talk about the 4 attributes here as well as passive and active skills)
As with any RPG, leveling is one of, if not the, most important aspects to master. The game is broken up into three acts, so, if you rush through the main story arc it's easy to find yourself at the beginning of a new chapter of the game at too low a level to compete.
Instead, try and do every side quest the game offers. They don't usually advance the story of the game much, but they do provide extra dungeons to gain much-needed XP.
But remember, never go into a dungeon without some cash. If you die in a dungeon without cash you will respawn in town... Ugh. Having gold with you can allow you to buy yourself a respawn point where you died.
Even when you're playing by yourself you're never really alone. Your pets will be your trusty companion, and with them, come some useful traits. For starters, your pets will fight alongside you in battle.
When it comes to battle, your pet can be set to one of three behavioral settings,
- aggressive - A fire at will mode that will allow them to attack anything nearby.
- defensive - They will attack when you attack or when you are damaged.
- passive - Your pet won't attack or cast any spells.
Pets can also carry loot back to down for you and do some of your shopping. We like to send our dogs out for a bit of mana potion every now and then... huge time saver.
6. Gear and Loot
If there's a facet of the RPG universe that challenges the importance of XP and leveling appropriately, it's loot. The free stuff that falls off bosses, hides in chests, allows you to beat quests, and generally mystifies with magic rarity.
Torchlight 2 is no different. There are six categories for loot, each color-coded as follows:
- White items are normal items without enhancement.
- Green items are enchanted and are fairly common.
- Rare items are blue.
- Unique items are Orange. They will generate random attributes.
- Red items are ultra rare and have the best abilities.
- Purple items are gained for quests. These are the only guaranteed items you will receive for beating a quest.
The easiest way to start finding loot is murdering everything that moves in each dungeon you come across. Beyond that loot can be traded in the multiplayer modes and gambled. In this way, loot provides an entire fun economy above and beyond the main and side quests.
7. Enchantments and Item Upgrades
Now that you've got all that loot. What are you supposed to do with it? Upgrade! Torchlight 2's upgrading system is known as enchanting. This is a feature that sets the game on its own pedestal in the dungeon crawling world.
In each town, you'll find the same set of enchanters, poised to take your hard earned gold and upgrade your outdated items. Each enchanter will be able to upgrade your items a various number of times based on their position in the enchanting guild... or union... or whatever.
There are also 10 wandering enchanters in the Torchlight realm for you to interact with. Eight of whom you'll meet randomly and they will be able to upgrade your items up to three times. Garbahd and Vaneez have static locations, the Elemental Oasis, and the Salt Barrens respectively.
Upgrading your gear is an absolute must.
8: Use our Torchlight 2 walkthrough
Our walkthrough will breakdown the different character classes in more detail and how to maximize their abilities to get you the maximum return on your investment. The character classes and build trees really set this game apart, so it's worth knowing through and through.
Pro tip 1. Know the Torchlight 2 Class Character
The class character system is expanded quite a bit from the first game. There are now four character classes, each with thee skill trees to work through. Your player only gets one skill point when they level up and you can spend your points however you see fit.
This means that you can concentrate on one or two particular trees (which is what we recommend) or you can spread your points out evenly. Since you won't want to change horses midstream, maxing out a particular tree or two means that you'll want to play the game through multiple times with the same character class. It's a nice touch.
The various character classes with their trees are as follows:
- The Engineer is a well-rounded character who can be built to fill just about any roll in a team.
- Outlander is a long-range attacker who uses guns to shoot their opponent while evading any incoming damage.
- Embermage is a classic magic user with elemental attacks.
- Berserker is a hybrid melee attacker who uses their ability to enhance their brute strength.
Which direction you choose to take your character within its class is entirely up to you and adds greater depth to the game.
Pro tip 2. Know the Torchlight 2 Class Builds
Class builds refer to the way you distribute the points and create a specific permutation of a character class. For instance, if you choose to max out the Engineer's construction and aegis abilities over their blitz ability, this would be a particular engineer class build.
Getting into full build scenarios for each character class is beyond the scope of this page, but we're going to get there with future articles since the combinations and permutations of class builds is one arena where the game really stretches the dungeon crawler genre.
Our full Torchlight 2 walkthrough will go into more in-depth build scenarios for each character class.
More Awesome Game Options
Torchlight 2 asks a lot of its players. It's a complex game that requires quite a bit of time commitment. That's not for everyone. But we've taken a look at several other games that might strike your fancy.
- Plague Inc into pissing off that epidemiologist in your friend circle? Then this is the game for you.
- Fallout 4 Okay, this one won't save you any time. This sprawling shooter/rpg set in a post-apocalypse New England is as enthralling as it is haunting.
- Supremacy 1914 is an interesting RISK style game set during the first world war...
Torchlight 2 is an enjoyable stop on what promises to be a great franchise. The gameplay is both familiar and innovative. The major omissions from the first Torchlight have been remedied and is ready for the new system ports.
Get out there and start crawling a few dungeons, won't you? That loot isn't going to find itself.