Game Impressions Daily: Torchlight II

Welcome to Game Impressions Daily, a look at games and how our opinions of them change over time, even while in the midst of playing them.

A new year, a new game. Every year I try to start things off right by playing something that I haven't gotten the chance to play yet. This year, I have a lot of things to choose from, but because a bunch of my friends were over and we all had the game, we decided that Torchlight II would be that game. To the surprise of no one, Torchlight II shares an awful lot in common with it's predecessor, but more so. It's very much an incremental sequel: bigger world, more customization, better visuals, and and a host of other small improvements that make the game significantly, if unspectacularly, better than its predecessor. That is, with the exception of multiplayer which, while being the most obvious of features to add, is also the most important and far-reaching of the game's many improvements. Unfortunately, Torchlight II doesn't sport the amazingly seamless multiplayer integration that Diablo III had, on the other hand, it seems to do everything else right, up to and including not requiring an internet connection to play with people in the same house. The normal trappings of good click and loot multiplayer are all present: individual loot drops for each player (something Borderlands 2 neglected to have), scaling difficulty, randomized dungeons and over-worlds (complete with a handy "reroll world" option on the server screen if you want to replay old areas) and, of course, dancing. Because what's the point if you can't make your character look like an idiot. In all honesty, I don't think Torchlight II is anything I haven't seen before. And if I wasn't playing with my friends, I doubt that I would make it past the first few hours before thinking to myself "I've already played two of these in the past years (Diablo III, Borderlands 2), why bother with a third." But here I am, playing that third loot-based RPG of the past year, and liking it, because it gives me a chance to do something with my friends for the next few weeks/ months.