Torchlight II (Switch) Preview – A Well-Executed Port of a Beloved Action-RPG
Bringing over a massive RPG for PC over to consoles is a challenge, to say the least. The reason being is that for a PC RPG to work well on console, basically, its user interface (UI) and controls need a major overhaul as a console controller lacks all the bells and whistles that a keyboard has. Despite this overwhelming challenge, developer Panic Button Games, the company responsible for great ports like Doom on Switch, is currently developing a console port of the beloved action-RPG Torchlight II from Runic Games — that released on PC in 2012. After going hands-on with the console version, more specifically, the Nintendo Switch version, it’s easy to say that Panic Button has truly re-created Torchlight II in a way that console players will enjoy, while still also retaining what makes the game so great.
As the name implies, Torchlight II is the sequel to Runic Games’ loot-driven action-RPG, Torchlight. With Torchlight II, it takes place in an open fantasy world where players can create their own hero, and choose one of four classes that each come with various skills and abilities. In a nutshell, the story begins with the demise of the town of Torchlight, at the hands of the almighty Alchemist (who’s from the first game), and it’s up to the player follow along his destructive path all the while going on an epic quest to deal with all the chaos within Torchlight.
This all sounds rather dark, doesn’t it? Well, it’s far from a dark, doom-and-gloom game, rather it’s a bright adventure filled with tons of loot. Many longtime fans of the PC version of Torchlight II will feel right at home with the console version since it still has features like the game’s charming art style, frantic combat, and signature pet system. That said, it does have some nice changes thrown in that console players will appreciate.
The biggest change of all being the new UI that makes it really easy for console players to know all of the game’s mechanics right from the get-go. There’s no need to whip out a manual or anything like that and reconfigure how buttons are mapped out. For me, I was simply able to jump right in and start exploring without a problem at all — and it reminded me of my smooth experience with the console version of Diablo III. It’s also important to note that the controls, along with the targeting system, have been improved. During my time with the console version, though, I did notice the lack of a dodge mechanic — a mechanic generally found in most action-RPGs — however, the developer mentioned that they tried experimenting with that but it just didn’t feel right, saying it wasn’t a good fit for the game. Regardless of this, going on plenty of epic adventures is going to a grand time for any player.
Numerous features found in the PC version of Torchlight II will be making a return in the console version, such as online or ad-hoc 4-player co-op. I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to try out co-op, so I can’t say how smooth the experience will be on console. That said, console players should be happy to know that there will be updated achievement and trophies to earn, plus exclusive new pets. For those worried about the game’s look being downgraded fear not, the game still looks stunning on consoles.
Even after 7 years since its initial release, Torchlight II is still an absolute gem that all loot-loving action-RPG fans should play. Thanks to Panic Button expertly optimizing the game for consoles, newcomers and longtime fans should be able to spend hours upon hours going on adventures without a problem.
Torchlight II is set to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on September 3 for $19.99.
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