Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Torchlight II (Completed)

I finished Torchlight II last week, and it was a pleasure from start to finish.

After playing so many games in the last few years that are shoddy and poorly formed, Torchlight II gleams in comparison. The gameplay is so coherent, so polished--it's tight.

If you haven't played yet (you should), here are a few elements that are particularly noteworthy:
1. The pacing is flawless. I was never bored or hoping the game would end, and as a cranky old bastard, that's rare for me.
2. The level generation is spectacular. Intricate, beautiful, interesting--these levels have it all. They look hand-crafted.
3. The gameworld is absolutely bursting with personality. It's both dynamic and vibrant.
4. It's just fun. That's hard to define, but there is so much fun in this game.

1. The outdoor levels are so beautiful that I wish there were more of them.
2. A few bosses late in the game need to be defeated more than once. I've seen that in so many games in recent years, and there are better and more creative ways to make encounters last longer.
3. The story is well-written, but I never felt like I was influencing it in any way, really. It was pre-cut, which is no different than almost every game in this genre, but I would much rather have much less text and a greater feeling that my actions actually influence the story. Even if I can't influence the plot, having something about my play style or how I played the level modifying the text in some way would be so much more immersive.

Besides being a terrific game, the unlimited mod support means Torchlight II should be a viable and interesting game for years. So you're not just buying a game, you're buying a gaming ecosystem, and the quality of this engine means that mods have unlimited potential.

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