Stats (Elements & Resistances), Level (Experience & Fame), Skills, Status Effects, Charge Bar, Spells (Scrolls), Pet (Shopping), Minions, Fishing, Regeneration & Potions, Travel, Achievements and Death (Hardcore) | No Item Repair
TL2 has achieved a very solid balance between combat, difficulty, fun, reward and complexity. It doesn’t overwhelm the player with tons of stats and abilities, but grows at a good pace as the player progresses throughout the game. Your pet (and the ability to send it shopping) provides a fun method of managing damage and making gold, and the spells you can use both for yourself and on your pet can make a big difference. The Death system is very forgiving and presents options a player can pursue depending on how much gold they have.
TL2 takes a very simplistic approach to the core of its gameplay. The game embraces the traditional 4 stats of Strength (Weapon Damage), Dexterity (Crit and Dodge), Focus (Magic Damage & MP) and Vitality (Armor and HP), and 4 core elements in addition to physical damage. They are: Ice, Fire, Electricity and Poison. All combat revolves around these core values, and depending on the class being played, a character must focus on specific stats and elements to enhance. For example, an ice mage wants gear that has additional ice damage, but a melee berserker may want to focus on cold. These elements also represent the resistances available for a player to focus on enhancing.
TL2 is a level-based game where the player gains experience by killing monsters and completing quests. The maximum level is 100 and takes on average ~70 gameplay hours to reach, however once you’ve reached max level you still have to work on your Fame, which is a secondary progression system that awards a skill point per raise. There are 33 fame levels one can attain ranging from Barely Known to Local Hero and finally Demigod.
Each class has a custom set of skills, generally categorized into three different areas of focus. For example, an Embermage has Fire, Cold, and Electrical categories. Active skills can be used as actions, and passive skills are always enabled. Each active skill has three tiers, and each tier takes 5 points to access. Passive skills have no tiers. Each skill type can take a total of 15 points. For active skills, the tiers can completely change the way a skill behaves. A character can mix and match any skills they wish, but will never have more than 133 points in total to spend. The core classes have 7 active skills per category and 3 passive skills per category, so 10 skills per category in total where 15 points can be distributed. This means a single category (of three) can take 150 points in total and a character must focus on the core skills they wish to maximize.
There are numerous Status Effects in the game which are caused by the use of skills. For example, fire damage can cause a Burning effect which results in Damage over Time (DoT). Poison causes targets to deal less damage and take more damage. Ice can freeze a target and/or slow movement, casting and attack speed (and can result in a shatter), and Lightning can cause a Shock effect which causes shock bolts to be emitted when the target is hit, damaging those around it. There are also custom DoT effects from skills, weapons and socket items (e.g. a skull that causes 200 physical damage over 5 seconds). Additional effects include Bleed, Blindness, Draw, Flee, Immobilize, Knockback, Stun and Slow.
Each class has a Charge Bar which acts as a specialized augmenter specifically for the class you are playing. For example, when the Embermage reaches full charge, their spells cost no mana and they do 25% more damage. But an Engineer’s charge bar operates completely differently and has 5 “pips”, each level augmenting their skills for each pip that is achieved. This enhances the custom play style for each class.
Spells are custom actions and passive skills a player can equip as they progress through the world. Up to 4 spells can be equipped at a time and they come in two flavors: Active or Passive. Active spells act just like any other skill (e.g. Frost Bolt) and Passive skills act as passive skills, enhancing things like defense and resistances. There are also Boss Spells; custom attacks the many bosses of the world use to try and kill you. With the mods defined herein, you can toss those spells right back at the bosses who try to use them on you! Spells generally come in one of six levels (I – VI). There are currently 21 active spells and 13 passive spells in the game and are acquired by equipping scrolls you will find throughout your adventures. A character can equip up to 4 spells at a time and the only way to remove an equipped spell is to destroy it.
One of the key features of TL2 is that every character has a unique pet to fight at their side. Granted the visual choice of the pet doesn’t impact its stats and abilities (which are defined by level, items, and spells), with the mods used in this review, the player has a wide variety of extremely fun and entertaining companions to choose from ranging from a cud-chewing Llama (which is enjoyable to watch mauling enemies) to Claptrap from Borderlands 2. Pets play a huge role in the game as they distract monsters, deliver solid damage and can cast spells (which are defined below). Players can equip six items on a pet: a Collar, two tags, a necklace and two rings. This allows a player to enhance their pets resistances, damage and any other modifiers that are important. A player can also equip up to 4 spells on their pet as well, and the pet will auto-cast these spells during combat. This is a very useful feature as most players will throw summon spells (such as Summon Zombie) on their pet and keep the damage spells on themselves. A pet can also be used to store items and act as a “backpack”. Another key (and unique) feature of the Pet is the ability to send it to town shopping. This will sell all items currently in the pet’s inventory and also pick up any items you instruct the pet to get while in town (such as potions and scrolls). This is very useful for making money in the game; pick up every non-white item you see, throw the items you won’t use on your pet, and when the pet is full send it to town to sell its inventory! A pet’s behavior can be set to either be Aggressive, Defensive, or Passive. A pet can also be augmented by feeding it fish, which is covered below under Fishing.
Many classes can summon minions which will fight. One of the biggest summon classes is that of the necromancer, which is capable of raising a small army to terminate their foes. Minions cannot be augmented or commanded, but they can kill, engage enemies, and die.
Fishing is a fun supportive aspect of TL2 and produces consumable fish you can feed only to your pet. These fish will augment and shape-change your pet for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Some fish will turn your pet into a tank while others will turn it into a high damage shredder. There are currently 26 types of fish in TL2 and each one has a different set of enhancements to empower your pet with. Later on in the game when boss fights are very difficult, pet fish comes in extremely handy as a player can buff their pet to act in a very specific capacity. You can also fish up items and even throw in dynamite for a quick result!
Regeneration of Hit Points and Mana is very important in the game and can be enhanced through item properties, charges, effects and gems. Potions play a key part in surviving throughout the game and come in eight different variations ranging from Big to Ultimate. There are also Rejuvenation potions which provide the quickest boost in both Hit Points and Mana, but are also the most rare and expensive. There are also resistance potions and a special respec potion a character can buy from a vendor.
Travel is very easy and follows the traditional ARPG standard of waypoints and portals. To travel between acts, a player must use a Railmaster. The nice part is once open, the portals stay open until you either leave a multi-player game or open another portal in single player mode.
There are 123 TL2 Steam Achievements available in TL2, but there are no rewards or in-game (non-steam) achievements.
I think TL2 handles Death the best of any ARPGs. When you die, you can either resurrect in town for free at no cost, resurrect at the “entrance” to the area where you died (e.g. if you died on the 2nd level of a mine, it will raise you at the entrance of the 2nd level), or resurrect at the spot you died. The latter two cost a substantial amount of gold, giving the player the choice of taking the financial hit or running back from town (or using a portal). In multi-player mode, a player can teleport to another without any cost, so going back to town isn’t a big deal. There is a hardcore mode in TL2, and once you die, your character cannot be played any more but will show as a ghost in your character select list to remind you of its existence until you delete it.
There is no Item Repair in TL2.