Make no mistake, Torchlight 2 is nothing revolutionary. It favors a remix of genre conventions over any true evolution of the action RPG formula, but it is a pitch-perfect execution of those traditions that remains satisfying from start to finish and beyond.
There are reasons why Torchlight 2 should and shouldn’t be compared to Blizzard’s Diablo franchise, but there is one area where Torchlight has blown away its bigger cousin: accessibility. When the first Torchlight came out, it was $10 and would run on a potato chip with a keyboard. Now, Torchlight 2 is longer, meatier, has multiplayer support, and doubled its price tag to $20. That probably makes a lot of people who are disappointed with the $60 they spent on Diablo 3 a little steamed. Luckily, there are hordes of monsters in Torchlight 2 to vent your frustration on with your friends.
Torchlight 2 is an experience you can't easily walk away from. The combat is the beating heart of the game. It's simple and incredibly fun. Commendably, Runic improved everything they possibly could in this one. As we've already said, we witnessed sharper and more colorful visuals, in addition to a delicious multiplayer mode that allows up to six players (a highly compelling feature not present in the first title).
This is quite simply an action RPG that has everything for both fans and newcomers to the genre. Don't miss out on it.
I would have loved persistent server-stored characters and a more robust social/trading system than the server browser that Torchlight II offers, but the minimal online implementation works just fine for hooking up with buddies for a little friendly co-op. The difficulty spikes and general balancing weirdness is unfortunate, but solvable with a little persistence (and maybe a cheated-up respec potion or three). Torchlight II is an excellent game no matter how you slice it. As big of a Diablo III fan as I am, the margin between the two is razor-thin – and I have to give the nod to Torchlight II.
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.