Review: Torchlight 2 Beta and Diablo 3

Review: Torchlight 2 Beta and Diablo 3

This weekend I participated in the Torchlight 2 beta. I am inclined to say, “Hot damn pick this bad boy up”. Torchlight 2 is only twenty bucks! Diablo 3 released on May 15th. Runic expects a June or July release for T2 if I remember correctly and the beta is closing for everyone on May 22nd further indicating an impending release.

Right now Diablo 3 is $59.99. Torchlight 2’s pre-order cost is $19.99. You can pick up three copies of Torchlight 2 with a group of friends and get the fourth free. So you can technically pre-order for about $14.99. Steam pre-orders get a free copy of the original Torchlight. I am not aware of any such offer that was or is available for Diablo 3.

Diablo 3 forces you to login and play online. If the servers are down you can’t load up a save offline. If the servers shut down permanently (of course mega juggernaut Blizzard will likely keep them up for a decade or more) then you never get to play again. D3 has DRM and no one likes DRM. There’s no LAN but friends can pop in and out of your games online seamlessly. Torchlight 2 allows you to create an Internet/LAN game for your friends (or anyone) to join. In the T2 beta Internet games were just as fluid and smooth.

T2 also supports the modding community which I’m sure that Diablo 3 does not. We’re always happy about that.

Areas are much larger than in the original Torchlight and are randomly generated (Diablo 3 does not randomly generate maps). Both games are gorgeous but personally I feel that there is less replay value in a game that looks exactly the same compared to one that does not on the next playthrough.

Torchlight 2 has a lot of improvements. I was really happy with one of them. Say you’re using a bow and you’re holding down the button to keep firing. You can easily turn (or adjust aim) while firing by moving the mouse. This works for all classes abilities as far as I know. It might not sound that special but it is when you experience how fluid it is in T2. Especially compared to the alternative and awkward combat in a lot of similar games (like D3). Any break that you can give your poor fingers is welcome.

Things like that make a big difference and I expected Blizzard to revolutionize the genre but they did quite the opposite. Diablo 3 takes several steps back from its predecessors. There’s no real improvement to combat whatsoever. Some of the abilities (especially early game) seem like you’re firing a dud. Others are really fun to use. But to be fair these “duds” are the unupgraded abilities and do get better.

Runic is quite an amazing company. They give gamers what they ask for rather than shoving restrictions down our throats. I thank them for that. Blizzard in the past few years has seemed to go down the toilet with the announcement of World of Warcraft’s Pandaria expansion and the dumbing down of the Diablo franchise. I don’t know what is up their ass but they are in dire need of a rectal exam.

When I played Diablo 3 I just was not wowed whatsoever and got bored in less than two hours. I couldn’t put Torchlight 2 down. Both games share a lot of beauty (great looking maps for example) but T2 just has far too many superior features and personally in my beta experiences. I have not played retail D3 yet.

I am going to give T2 the crown and the “mark of awesomeness”. No contest. So pick it up. You won’t regret it. It’s only twenty bucks.

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