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Game Info:

Torchlight II
Developed by: Runic Games
Release Date: September 20, 2012
Available on: PC
Genre: RPG
Modes: Single-player, 6 online
ESRB Rating: Not rated (original was Teen)
price: $19.99

Years after Torchlight was saved by the previous hero, an evil arch mage destroys the town and is on a rampage laying waste to other nearby villages. Of course, he must be stopped, but not many people are strong enough to take him on without dying. This is where your engineer, berserker, embermage, or outlander comes in to save the day.

Each class has different strengths, weaknesses, and unique abilities available to them.  No matter what class you pick, there’s a handy pet by your side.  There are various canines, ranging from a Papillion, a Bulldog, or a wolf.  Felines, from cats to pumas, are available as well.  There are a couple of others including the ferret who accompanied me.  Besides fighting and carrying your loot, pets can sell your unwanted inventory or buy needed items by using the shopping list feature.    

The fishing mini-game is carried over from the original game.  In town and in some of the dungeons, you’ll come across fishing pools.  Just click on the water and your character will start to fish; when your hook starts shaking, you have a bite.  If you click on it in time, you’ll catch a fish or an item. The fish can transform your pet or offer them a unique ability if you feed it to them.

Highlights:

Strong Points: A top notch dungeon crawler that now lets you play alongside your friends.
Weak Points: You have to join your friend’s games using Runic’s system and not Steam.
Moral Warnings: Violence, but blood can be disabled.  There are pentagrams when enemy mages cast spells.

 

The fish mutations can come in handy, but I’m usually focused on my character’s attacks.  The attacks can be physical or elemental depending on what kind of weapon you are wielding.  Many weapons and armor items can be enhanced further by installing gem(s) into them.  To reclaim the gem, you’ll have to pay to have the weapon destroyed.  If you want to reconfigure the weapon, the gem will be shattered upon removal.  Each weapon has a speed rating ranging from very fast to very slow.  If you’re having a hard time choosing which weapon is the best, look at the damage per second on the item property page.     

No matter what class you choose, mana plays a big part in activating abilities or attacking in general.  Each class has a technology tree where you can assign points to add new or strengthen existing abilities.  You must choose carefully since you can only rollback a few points, as you can’t reset your character completely.  

While the single-player campaign is satisfying, the multiplayer is a welcome addition to the Torchlight series.  To join in on the multiplayer action, you must first create a Runic account and then link your Steam profile.  I wish the game was better integrated with Steam so I could join my friend’s game through my buddy list without having to use the in-game client.   

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 72%
Violence - 4.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 8/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Each player has a color assigned to them making it easy to locate them on the mini-map.  If you get separated from the party, you can teleport back to a friend by selecting their name.  The host determines the game's starting spot and difficulty level.  I must say that multiplayer support is a great addition to the game and is much more fun than playing alone.

As great as multiplayer is, I won’t be playing this game much after seeing pentagrams when ice mages cast their spells.  I don’t mind magic, but I draw the line with that kind of imagery in games.  While this bothers me, others may not mind.  I was happy to see an option to disable blood in the game options.  Even with blood disabled there are grotesque undead monsters and spiritual beings.

I noticed one of the loading screens had a well endowed (though not anatomically correct) female statue.  While my character was modestly dressed, other females in the game aren't.  I like how each equipped item changes your character's appearance.  

The graphics in general are cartoonish in style, and very similar to the original game.  The worlds are very colorful and have lots of detail and complex puzzles to solve.  There’s a wide variety of enemies, and their animations and sound effects are well matched.  The music is composed by Matt Uelmen who did the music for the original game and Diablo 1 & 2 as well.  Veteran gamers will recognize and appreciate his style.

If you like Diablo-style dungeon crawlers or the original Torchlight, chances are that you’ll enjoy this sequel.  The game is easy to pick up and enjoy.  The controls are simple and completely customizable (those with carpal tunnel will appreciate this!).  There are hot keys for spells and potions, but most of the game is mouse driven.  

The battles are intense, as you’ll encounter various bosses and mini bosses who will drop some good loot upon their demise.  It’s just a matter of clicking and pressing number keys to use spells and powers while keeping a steady eye on your health.  It seems so simple, but these games are incredibly addicting as you always strive to get better weapons and armor.  

My short time with Torchlight II was fun, but sadly there’s just some content in here that I’d rather not see.  The gameplay is solid and the multiplayer is perfect for LAN games.  While the game retails for $20, I’ve seen it for $15.  Just make sure you’re okay with the moral content before buying it.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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