Torchlight II: Light ’em up, boys

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2012’s Torchlight II. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

While I’m sure that none of you care very much about this, the pattern of retro games that I play for this series matters a lot to my temperament. If I do too many of similar-genre games in a row — adventure or RPG or what have you — it starts to drag me down. I need variety! I need a palette cleanser! I need… an ARPG I’ve never played before!

Thus, Torchlight II.

The well-received follow-up to Torchlight, a colorful Diablo clone that came out in 2009, the sequel improved the formula across the board. It was so well-liked, in fact, that it’s still being ported to various consoles and has more popularity around it than the newly released Torchlight III. So why not give it a whirl?

I’m going with an Outlander for this playthrough, because two guns is cool. Or so movies told me. I also picked a bulldog as a pet and veteran difficulty.

From the get-go, I get the feeling that there’s going to be a very low learning curve to Torchlight II. It’s all quite familiar with Diablo controls and MMO questing. I’m down for that!

There isn’t much ado before getting right into a questing area, which has that stylized World of Warcraft feel to it as I go about killing, looting, and killing some more. I really took a shine to the Outlander’s glaives, and I’m thinking about specializing in them. I like how they rip through targets and bounce around, spreading poison everywhere. Kind of like a bad Twitter thread.

On veteran difficulty, TII doesn’t mess around. I wasn’t paying attention during one pack of mobs and got steamrolled very quickly. I’m a little concerned that I might not have picked the most durable class for this, but I guess I can always pump up her dodge and hope for the best.

Pictured here: My first dungeon dive! I love that my dog is a pretty good fighter (with his own gear). That helps from getting too overwhelmed by mobs.

Oof, seriously, this is not an easy go, even on a first dungeon. Lots of mobs, very hard-hitting, and to make matters worse, they’re immune to my poison. Dodge, don’t fail me now!

What I’ve always loved about the Torchlight franchise is that it’s so intuitive and contains a lot of quality-of-life features. My favorite is the pet, which not only serves as an attack companion, but can be sent back to town to sell stuff — AND to buy potions. I already had to send Pixel to grab me more health pots, because I was not going to make it in here without them.

Dungeon done, I worked my way through the next area while hitting level 6. It was about here that I started to get better gear and some more interesting skill tree options. I experimented with full auto shot and found it really great — particularly for the pushback, which helped with bosses. The repeated vocal warnings that I was low on mana annoyed me… at least until I found out that you can disable those. Thanks, Torchlight II!

Killing a phase beast sent me into a special stage that featured a semi-apparent maze across a pond. Who doesn’t love a good maze in an RPG? Well, other than me, of course.

While I’m going to either stick with twin pistols or a shotgun, I have to say that lugging around and firing a cannon is hilariously fun.

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