Review: Torchlight II (PS4)


Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Torchlight II
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (1.74 GB)
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Developer: Panic Button
Original MSRP: $19.99 USD
ESRB Rating: T
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I played Torchlight II almost seven years ago on PC. It was probably one of my favorite games of that year. I always thought that it would have made a very smooth transition to the PlayStation 3, or any console of the era. After all, its predecessor was ported to Xbox 360 and was a perfect port (despite it being only a single player).

There is no rule that says that loot-centric dungeon crawlers have to be multiplayer, but the expectation is there. Thus, Torchlight II introduced multiplayer to its universe. Honestly, it was a great addition, because nothing beats killing mobs of angry undead than doing so with a friend.

The transition from mouse controls to DualShock has been achieved without sacrifice. I’d even venture to say that games like these are better with a controller, but I’ll reserve that discussion for later. Needless to say, there are enough buttons on the controller to accommodate the number of the skills you’ll unlock.

And unlock you will. Don’t let the budget price for this game fool you into thinking there isn’t depth here. In fact, as a fan of Diablo, I would even say there are a few components here that do not exist in that larger game.

For example, I chose an Outlander for my class, so my character started the game with dual pistols. Naturally, I was being guided to utilize ranged weapons. In Diablo, even when I’d equip swords on my Demon Hunter, my attacks still shot out projectile, even if a sword was shown on my character.

In Torchlight, not only am I allowed to use melee weapons – despite my initial ranged class choice – but also the melee attacks are visually represented, and there are tiers of skills available to support the change.

If you’re familiar with dungeons crawlers, then you know the drill here. Get quests, explore the map and kill legions of enemies, pick up drops, level your character, and repeat. Torchlight II does have a story that includes some cool animated cut scenes. If you choose to indulge, you’ll find a purpose for your mass murdering.

But the enjoyment here comes from solid gameplay that rewards the grind. The loot system is healthy enough to keep you hunting and rewards playing through the campaign, with rare finds not seeming impossible to find. Almost immediately I was looting weapons and armor that included slots for crystal augmentation. That’s not to say that Torchlight II is simple. On my first online session, we were collectively handed our asses to us by some slightly higher-level enemies. But on those more challenging missions, you always feel that smart use of your skills helps you survive longer. We had simply entered a dungeons a little too early.

While I was only able to experience one class on this review playthrough, judging by how well the transition to PlayStation was made, I can vouch that the other classes are also a blast to try, having utilized them on PC years ago. So, even when you’re done with the pretty lengthy campaign, you will still have plenty to do if you enjoy playing through with the other classes.

Visuals:
Runic Games went with style over power for the Torchlight series. As a result, you have a game that still looks great, even seven years after its release. Of equal result, you have a game that moves with an ultra slick frame rate, even when things get heated and enemies fill the entire screen.

I did notice a few frame hits while online, but nothing that lasted more than a second or two, thus of little to no effect to gameplay.

Characters reflect the armor and weapons they equip. And again, while it may seem needless to mention, equipping a melee weapon changes your entire animation (and combat style) to close range, as opposed to having your character swing a sword, but send projectiles out towards the enemy: something that I never fancied about Diablo 3.

Audio:
A thunderstorm rolled into the environment while I was playing an online session. I was wearing my headphone so I was able to experience it in its entire splendor. I tend to judge my sound design by how great the thunderstorms sound (lookin’ at you, Zelda). Fortunately the rest of the game excels with some fantastic effects and quality dialogue.

Online/Multiplayer:
I was quite disappointed that Torchlight II did not contain local co-op. I understood the lack of this option on PC, because most dungeon crawlers on PC are limited to online-only multiplayer, but it’s become almost expected to have local co-op for games like these on console.

That said, the lack of co-op does not affect my option in any way, although I do hope for some sort of update in future to add this option.

Co-op play was flawless, and I experienced no issue while playing online for a few hours straight. I wasn’t able to find my friend’s game manually, so I couldn’t join his game until I received an invite (hopefully something else that can be remedied with a patch).

Loot appears to be instance-based, meaning each player sees drops in their own game, so no one player can hog all the loot.

Games like these are made to be enjoyed with friends. And while Torchlight does not require online play for enjoyment, it runs well in multiplayer and is worth playing along side others.

Conclusion:
I was thrilled to learn that Torchlight II was coming to consoles, so much in fact, that I bought it on multiple platforms. The price is perfect for a game that gives you so much to do, and online works very well. I’m still going to hold out hope for a local multiplayer option, but it was partially my fault for expecting it in the first place and this bears no ill opinion towards the game as it exists. It’s a solid dungeon crawler with a stunning visual style and hours of gameplay to boot.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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