Torchlight 2 Review with Synergies (2014)

Sections: HomeContent, Economy, Mechanics, Gameplay, Community & Support, Technical, Conclusion, Resources


Character Creation, Classes, Story & Lore, World & QuestsNPCs, Enemies, Treasure and Maps

Torchlight 2 features a wide variety of content revolving around its four acts including ice-capped mountains, forests, swamps, deserts, mechanical realms, underground caves and dungeons. While character creation is very simplistic, there are a wide variety of classes to choose from and they play very differently. Players can customize the look of their characters with weapons and armor sets, engage in battle with a variety of enemies, loot an amazing amount of treasure, collect and customize their items, and continue playing after they reach the maximum level of 100 through the “New Game” (NG+) and MapWorks systems.

Character Creation is fairly basic, allowing the face, hair style, and hair color to be selected. There is no race selection (all characters are human), only sex, the choice of a class, and the choice of a pet (which is covered below). Note the choice of pet doesn’t impact its abilities in any capacity, only the way it looks.

Fear Tickles and her savage companion, Snuggles!
Fear Tickles and her savage companion, Snuggles!

There are four core classes in TL2 (not including Synergies). First is the Engineer; a heavy melee fighter that usually uses two-handed weapons and has a taste for steampunk technology. The second is the Outlander, which is the ranged class that focuses on the use of bows and guns. Third is the Embermage, which is the traditional magic-using elementalist. And forth is the Berserker, which is a hybrid warrior class that uses animal-based skills to destroy its opponents. While the four core classes may seem rather limited, don’t let this fool you; there is a complex set of skill points which can be distributed and allows for character customization. On top of that, Synergies adds 4 new classes: Necromancer, Warlock, Paladin and Tenebris. Each class has a custom set of skills, which are covered under the Mechanics section.

The Story and Lore of Torchlight is probably its weakest point, and players don’t really even pay attention because there is very little emphasis on the main quest itself. The game is all about exploring, fighting, leveling up and reward; and it is very well done. There are four acts. The first takes place in Forest & Snowy Hills, the second in a Desert, the third in a Marsh, and the fourth in an underground mechanical area.

One can encounter Monster Shrines as they adventure throughout the world. Careful, as these shrines can summon multiple waves of monsters, a final mini-boss, and sometimes even the legendary golden crab!

As mentioned in the introduction, the World of TL2 is like being immersed in a fantasy comic book, full of fun content to explore and enjoy. It includes numerous forms of terrain and is full of interactive things like treasure chests which can attack you or be trapped, secret rooms with hidden riches and dangerous attackers, phase portals which are opened by killing Phase Beasts, nests of creatures that spawn, and minor puzzles that open new areas. The main Quests are fairly linear in TL2 and walk the player through the four acts, however there are numerous side quests and other “hidden” unique events a player can discover and try out. The recommended mods also have an “Endless Dungeon” which generates a new area each time you move from one level to another, allowing for seamless continuous play outside of the main storyline. The quests are simple overall. Act 1 has 9 quests, Act 2 has 8, Act 3 has 5 and Act 4 has 4. Both main quests and side quests offer items for reward, but most of the time the items are of little use. The Synergies mod also provides a number of new end-game areas to specifically designed for level 100 characters.

The maps in TL2 will automatically begin to repopulate over time in single-player mode, but if you want to force a reset, simply start a LAN game and check the “reroll world” option, start the server, exit, and return to single-player mode. Note the Endless Dungeon mod automatically repopulates the map when you go to town and return.

Each act hub has numerous Merchant NPCs which offer a wide variety of services including the buying and selling of items (weapons, armor, potions, scrolls, maps), item enchanting, item socketing, removal/recovery of gems, and alchemy (which is crafting in TL2, covered in the Economy section). The player will also encounter friendly NPCs throughout the world. Some will give quests while others will just chat with you.

Welcome to the starter area for Torchlight 2!
Welcome to the starter area for Torchlight 2!

One of the rarest items in the game is the Vendor Boon Scroll. When you use this scroll a custom vendor with some of the best items in the game appears. Note that the vendor carries items based on the current level of your “environment” so it’s best to use it in a level 105 mapworks map or a higher mod map. Make sure you have a LOT of gold as the items he carries will be very expensive!

This game is all about Enemies, and it doesn’t disappoint. While the core list may appear limited (36 base types compared to Diablo 3’s 65 and PoE’s 89), don’t worry; there are numerous variations of each base type and the world is chocked full of baddies trying to kill you with a number of different dangerous and entertaining attacks. It’s also fun to come across groups of enemies that are just sitting around minding their own business, or come running out of a burning building wondering who just set their home ablaze. There are five flavors of enemies: White (common), Green (magical), Purple (mini-boss), Yellow with Icon (major boss) and Yellow without Icon (non-boss named custom creatures which can randomly appear throughout the world). Act 1 has 5 bosses, Act 2 has 6, Act 3 has 5 and Act IV has 2. You can learn more from the TL2 Boss Guide.

TL2 is all about Treasure. Chests, monsters and other objects are constantly exploding in a wild orgy of loot piñata bliss. I’ll dive into how in-depth the treasure-based aspect of the game is in the Economy section.

Maps are custom items you can purchase from the Mapworks vendor which play a critical part in this game’s replayability, and kudos to TL2 for being the first ARPG to have a map system (PoE is the second, and D3 is planning a map-like system in their expansion). It’s a great design, allows players to experience custom content with “tweaks” and keeps things interesting. I dive into the Mapworks system under the Gameplay section.

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