Torchlight 2 Review with Synergies (2014)

A fun and fast-paced ARPG that immerses you into a fantasy comic-like world and features surprising depth and replayability.
Fun fast-paced combat
Lots of rewards
Replayability & Mod support
Long load times
Poor multiplayer
Broken Mod Subscriptions

I waited more than a year after the initial release of Torchlight 2 to review it because it is the only recent ARPG on the market specifically built for community mod support, and the community has turned this already great game into an even better game. Now, there are key mods which enhance this game in so many ways it’s a much more evolved product. This review of Torchlight 2 includes the use of the below defined active mods which I recommend all TL2 players use.

Torchlight 2

Created By: Runic Games, Est. 2008
Release Date
: September 20, 2012
Review  Date & Version: January 4, 2014 | v1.25.5.2
Active Mods: Synergies, Essentials, Endless Dungeon, Enhanced Retex
Game Type: Fantasy ARPG (Action Role-Playing Game)
Custom Features: Mapworks, Unique Pet & Pet “shopping”, Augmented Weapons

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

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”raised” width=”” height=”” background_color=”#ffe2e2″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd”]Important note for new players! If this is your first time playing Torchlight 2 and you’re using SynergiesMOD, do not go to Selrock (via the bot Kelintor) or Ember Steps. Ignore these places for now. Follow the main quest provided by the core game so you can familiarize yourself with it. I recommend every new player completes the main storyline before they explore the different areas provided by Synergies. Once a new player has completed the main storyline, they will be ready to explore Selrock and Ember Steps. Endless Dungeon doesn’t have any custom quests, so a player can enter that area at any time. Note that Synergies adds much more than just the new towns mentioned here – it enhances the entire game, including the main storyline play through, so a player will benefit from its inclusion even if they don’t visit the custom towns until the first play though is complete.[/dropshadowbox]

Welcome to the Synergies mod!
Welcome to the Synergies mod!

While there’s no doubt 2012 was a great year for strong sequel releases, Torchlight II delivered a fresh new gaming experience to action RPG fans across the globe. First, I want to admit I did not care much for Torchlight I and simply couldn’t get into it. However, the opposite is now the case as I’ve played this excellent game thoroughly. As many expect, most gamers compare TL2 to Diablo 3 (D3) and Path of Exile (PoE). This is a natural act as the three games are point and click isometric Action RPGs. While Diablo 3 feels more “commercial” in nature and PoE more hardcore, Torchlight 2 simply feels more “fun”, and I believe one of the best qualities of this game is that it doesn’t take itself very seriously. Unlike D3 and PoE which are dark, disturbing and try to focus on a real “dangerous” world, TL2 presents itself as a borderline silly gaming experience and I never thought it could be so refreshing after playing so much D3 and PoE. With TL2 the player feels as if they have fallen into a fantasy comic book world. There are also a number of fundamental differences between the three products. TL2 is not server-based like D3 and PoE are. Players host their own games, play single-player and connect with others. This means with TL2 you can hack characters and build custom mods. Originally, TL2 had point distribution when leveling for stats and skills which were non-revocable, but mods have not only fixed that by adding respec potions, the mods have also added completely new classes, monsters, items and levels. TL2 is also the originator of end-game maps for nonstop replayability. PoE has this functionality, and D3 is planning it with their March 2014 expansion.

While there are numerous additional differences between TL2, D3 and PoE, I will cover them in more detail as I delve into the features of this game. One comment I will make before we start is players simply cannot know how good this game is until they’ve played it on the Elite difficulty setting.

An example of how the Enhanced Retex mod changes the look of the world.
An example of how the Enhanced Retex mod changes the look of the world.