I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s feeling the ARPG itch right now with Diablo IV on the horizon. I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I’ll get it — $70 is a big asking price for my entertainment wallet right now — so I went looking for cheaper alternatives to scratch what will probably be more of a temporary itch.
Diablo III was a possibility, although my current account doesn’t have it. I’m genuinely surprised Blizzard hasn’t discounted it in the lead-up to the sequel, but I guess I could get it or Diablo II for $20 each. Cheaper than that, however, was looking at free options that I have access to. Grim Dawn is always there, as is Path of Exile, but I thought I’d give Torchlight II another try. The last time I jacked up the difficulty too high, so this time I’m going on normal, please-don’t-hurt-me-too-much mode.
And it’s been pretty great! As an older title, it runs silky smooth and has pretty much all I want out of an ARPG: loot, WoW-style graphics, helpful pets, simple quests, good feedback. The lighter tone is more up my alley, too. I’m rocking an Engineer with a cannon and bot pets (of course).
It’s become a perfect lunchtime diversion. Nothing too taxing on my mind, nor on my hand — I pretty much just play with a mouse, which feels so weird after always having a hand on the keyboard for MMOs. I can jump in, clear out an area or dungeon, get some loot, and exit out. I’m not putting any pressure on myself to complete it, but I do think that’d be pretty cool. Eventually.
It really does feel like the counter-agent to Diablo IV’s grimdark universe. Torchlight’s always had a bit of whimsy and cheek about it, and here I fight One-Eyed Willy (a pirate, of course) or a big frankenstein mob who “loves his stuffy.” Man, it’s too bad we never got a proper Torchlight MMO or a good Torchlight III. The franchise really came off the wheels there, didn’t it.
How cool would it be to go on an ARPG kick this summer? I could make it a thing, even, if this proves to be a groove. There’s D3, D4, Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, that Last Epoch game everyone won’t stop pushing on me, Wolcen, that Warhammer 40K one, maybe I could finally beat Dungeon Siege, Titan Quest, Lost Ark, Undecember… there are certainly a lot out there. But maybe that’s putting the cart before the horse, as it were. Let’s see how T2: Looting Day turns out.
2 thoughts on “Torchlight II is the Diablo IV antidote”
Yeah, TII was so good, and for all the reasons you mentioned there. Everything gels in a beautiful, alchemical way that TIII could not recapture. I suspect that TII did so well that everyone got over-excited about franchise potential and ruined things with squabbling and converging ideas. I certainly do like TIII myself, but nothing is as good as II, not even I, which is totally excellent by itself.
And again, gotta bang the drum for Grim Dawn. I know you bounced off it before, but if you open yourself up to it, read all the journal entries that you find and really soak up the atmosphere, you’ll be losing hours and hours to it in no time at all. 🙂
I’m an on-again off-again Path of Exile player, but I definitely get that it’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. You might try Torchlight: Infinite for a more modern ARPG experience that is much less complex/obscure than Path of Exile is. It’s not perfect, but there’s a number of PoE streamers who play it as their “I’m finished with the PoE league” game. Palsteron did a good 30 minute review on it 6 months ago, and he did a followup after their first season (here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmulL5cuFuE&list=PLfYmOV0dNtlME8K61Choj5ZFJ_bLRlwwv&index=7&pp=iAQB ) that would be pretty informative.