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Before the original Torchlight, I had a passing interest in the action RPG genre. At the time, I had played Diablo and Diablo II but never beat either. Torchlight was the first action RPG I actually completed. Something about it just got me hooked and I plowed through it in about two days. After that, I explored more games in the genre and so far I’ve only beaten the original Diablo and Diablo III. Developed and published by Runic Games, Torchlight II was released for PC in September, 2012. And unlike the original game, this never made it to console. This review will also cover the SynergiesMOD which is best described as a complete overhaul that includes re-balanced gameplay and tons of new content. I played the Steam version of the game and downloaded the Steam Workshop version of the SynergiesMOD but you can also download the mod from Moddb. I know development of the original Torchlight was led by some of the guys who were behind the original Diablo and Diablo II and in many ways, the evolution of Torchlight to Torchlight II kind of mirrors Diablo’s evolution to Diablo II.
The story takes place years after the events of the original Torchlight. Apparently, The Alchemist, who was playable character in the first game, has become corrupted by the Ember Blight coming from the Heart of Ordrak who was the original game’s antagonist. The Alchemist then destroys the town of Torchlight and plans to use Ordrak’s power to disrupt the balance between the world’s six elements. I’m going to be honest, I had to look up a plot summary because the story just isn’t interesting. I knew The Alchemist was the bad guy and that’s about it. Actually, the plot is very similar to Diablo II’s plot. Both games include a character from the original that become the antagonist. The story plays out through acts and in between each act is normally an animated cut scene. The cut scenes, themselves, are okay but I do kind of wish there was more of them because it’s very tempting to skip the dialogue boxes when interacting with NPCs. With that said, the voice work is nothing special and it seems that only the story quests contain voice acted dialogue. The story is clearly just a backdrop for the gameplay which, thankfully, is addictive and fun from beginning to end.
Just like other action RPG’s, Torchlight II is played from the isometric perspective. You run around completing quests and slaying monsters to obtain loot, experience, and level up your character. When you fire up the game for the first time you’ll need to create your character and there’s four classes to choose from – Outlander, Engineer, Embermage, and Berserker. The Outlander specializes in ranged weapons and some magic. The Engineer is a melee fighter that specializes in wielding heavy weapons and can construct bots that will assist in combat. The Berserker is another melee fighter class that uses fist-type weapons and can summon spirit animals. The Embermage in an elemental spellcaster, or in other words, the magic character class. The SynergiesMOD adds in several new classes including the Warlock which is a magic-based character class, the Ranger which is kind of a ranged character class that can also dual wield one-handed weapons and can use nature-based magic skills, the Necromancer specializes in raising the undead, and as of this review, the Paladin looks like a melee class but the mod indicates the class is still in the alpha stage. For my playthrough of the original game, I chose the Engineer and I played as a Ranger for my Synergies playthrough. After deciding on a class, you can choose your character’s face, hair, and hair color and then you get to select a pet that will aid you in combat. The pets are normally animals or other various creatures if you’re playing the SynergiesMOD, and the vanilla game even includes a Headcrab from the Half-Life series as a pet. You can then select one of multiple appearances for your pet. Not only do pets help you fight enemies, but they can also store items, learn spells or tomes, and be sent back to town to sell off items and even purchase items like potions from vendors to bring back to you. This is one of my favorite features of the series because it means you don’t have to go back to town every time your inventory fills up. However, you can always use a waypoint scroll to open a portal back to town. After creating your character and choosing your pet, you can select the difficulty of which there are four – Casual, Normal, Veteran, and Elite. You also have the option to enable “Hardcore Mode” which means permadeath as in if you die, it’s game over, you have to start all over again. I read that the SynergiesMOD is balanced around the Veteran and Elite difficulties. Although, the loading screens indicate it’s just the Elite difficulty. Regardless, I played through most of it on Veteran and it proved to be quite the challenge.
If you’ve played any other action RPG, or at least Diablo II, then Torchlight II should feel quite familiar. Each act normally contains a hub world, complete with NPC’s that offer you quests, vendors, and even a fishing hole. There’s also fishing holes scattered throughout the environments and not only can you catch fish from these holes, but also gear. Feeding your pet any caught fish will transform them into different creatures for a brief time. After obtaining a quest, then it’s time to head to the overland areas. On your HUD is a minimap that can be enlarged and different parts of the map are revealed as you discover new areas. On the map are stars which identify the locations of quest objectives so you never have to worry about getting lost. Each act has a different aesthetic which helps keep the game visually interesting all the way through. The first act takes you through mountainous grass and snowy regions. The second act takes you through a desert-like region and the third act takes you through a haunted forest. The final act is the shortest and takes you through the broken mines. Each area is full of monsters, dead bodies, and objects that can be destroyed like urns and crates. You’ll also have to watch out for hazards like mimic chests or other chests that contain traps, maybe fire is shooting up from the ground, blades in the floor can rip you to shreds, you’ll even have to watch out for explosive mines. In each of the overland areas is normally a waypoint portal that takes you back to town as well as monsters, NPC’s, and various what I’ll call “dungeons”. Any quest that’s not a story quest is a side quest and I think my favorite is the one that takes you to Plunder Cove. It’s a small area complete with undead pirate skeletons, crabs, and even ghosts. I would love to see a game or mod with this aesthetic, alone. All quests basically play out the same. You’re always sent to slay a monster or multiple, retrieve something, activate something, or maybe complete a challenge. Sometimes you’ll come across NPC’s that can be rescued and you will be rewarded for doing so. All areas normally have one monster that reveals a phase portal when killed. These portals take you to small areas that require you to complete a specific challenge like slaying a tough monster, digging for buried treasure, surviving in an arena, or even staying close to the totems in order for them to fully rise while you’re being assaulted by enemies. Completing phase portals normally rewards you with plenty of goodies. In addition to phase portals are Netherrealm Portals that can be found throughout the environments. These take you to Netherrealm dungeons and are optional but I would recommend completing every dungeon and quest you come across just so you can maintain the appropriate level for the threats ahead. All dungeons and areas are randomly generated so you’ll always have a unique experience each time you play. Dungeons normally consist of one or multiple floors and a boss at the end. Killing the boss of a dungeon enables you to open a boss chest where you have a higher chance of obtaining powerful gear. Some dungeons contain secret rooms which normally house treasure and gear so you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny.
What makes Torchlight II so much fun is building your character. You earn experience for killing monsters and completing quests. Whenever you complete a quest you not only receive experience but usually money and a reward which is usually weapons, armor, or even stuff for your pet like tags and collars. Some gear is unidentified which means you don’t know what its attributes are and you can’t equip it until you identify it. You can acquire identify scrolls for this. It should be noted that when you gain a level, any unidentified gear you’re carrying is automatically identified. You can equip your character with head and chest armor, different types of pants or leg armor, boots and shoes, rings and a necklace, and your pet can be equipped with two tags and a collar. You can equip two weapons and switch between them at any time. Every now and then you may acquire augmented gear like a weapon. This means it can be upgraded with better stats and attributes usually by killing a specific amount of enemies with it. Not only will you come across gear like weapons and armor, but you’ll also come across spells that you can learn, whether they be dropped by fallen enemies or purchased from vendors. The offensive and defensive spells drain mana but some spells are passive as in always active like armor expertise which improves armor absorption or the barter spell which reduces the purchase prices at vendors and increases the sale prices of your own goods. Many spells come in different ranks and the higher ranking ones are more efficient so it’s always a good idea to upgrade when you can. You and your pet can learn up to four spells and you can always forget a spell at any time. Some gear cannot be equipped until you reach the appropriate level or have high enough stats. Each piece of gear, whether it be weapons or armor, normally have unique attributes. For example, a piece of armor may raise one of your stats as long as you have it equipped. A weapon may inflict bonus damage, elemental damage, or even leech a specific amount health with each strike. It’s things like this that always keep you on the lookout for new and better gear. There’s all types of different armor types and weapons like swords, maces, bows, guns, axes, staffs, and even polearms, among others. I know the SynergiesMOD includes new weapons like throwable axes and knives for example.
On your journey, you’ll come across colored gear which means they have special magical properties that make them extremely powerful as well as valuable. Green items are enchanted, blue items are rare, gold items are unique, and purple items are part of a set. If you’re lucky, you may acquire the Vendor Boon Scroll which unlocks a special vendor that specifically sells Set Equipment. There’s multiple armor sets in the game and wearing multiple pieces of the same set normally grant you extra bonus properties. Gear and even money can be acquired from fallen enemies, from chests found throughout the environments, or and gear can also be purchased from vendors. You can sell your old gear or even store in your stash in town for later. Each town also has a shared stash box which allows you to share gear across multiple characters. The SynergiesMOD re-balances the existing gear system. For example, green and blue items have better affix rates, two handed and dual wielding weapons have better bonuses, monsters spawn more gear in general, and things like that. Some gear includes slots that allow you to socket gems into. There’s all different kinds of gem types, or what the game calls “ember specks”. There’s also unique gems called Chaos Ember Specks that can contain all kinds of different random properties. The basic ones are elemental. For example, if you socket a fire gem into a piece of armor, you’ll have better fire resistance. Socket a poison gem into a weapon and that weapon will do poison damage. There’s four elemental types – fire, ice, electric, and poison. Some enemies specialize in elemental attacks and magic so you’ll always want to be sure you have the appropriate resistances. It’s always good to have a balance of different elemental attributes whether it be offensive or defensive. There’s two specific vendors – the Gem Saver and Gem Smasher that can be utilized if you don’t want to get rid of a weapon or gem. The gem saver will destroy weapons but save the gems inside. The gem smasher will destroy the gems inside but save the weapons. Other vendors include a blacksmith that sells weapons and armor, a general goods vendor where you can buy potions and scrolls, a vendor who sells unidentified items, meaning you have no idea what the attributes for an item is until you buy it, and even a vendor that sells unique, but expensive items. The enchanter enables you to enchant gear to make it more powerful. Finally, there’s the Transmuter who allows you to combine certain items into new items. The SynergiesMOD allows for a lot more transmuting recipes and I mean a lot. You can combine potions to create better potions, gems to create better gems, gem upgrades, you can even combine souls and soul stones. It’s crazy. I should mention you need to reach level one hundred to do anything with souls so you will have some grinding to do. Some vendors are unlocked as you progress or complete specific quests and they normally become available in town. The SynergiesMOD adds new vendors to the roster and they seem to be most beneficial for the end game content. One of these new vendors sells specific SynergiesMOD items like the new potion catalyst item, a scroll that opens a portal to Table Mountain which is specifically meant for end game grinding, and a scroll that opens a portal to the War Camp which is for PVP content. Another new vendor is the trainer that sells dummy scrolls that are used to summon dummies, even a mimic chest, for training purposes. Now some vendors in both vanilla and Synergies are found throughout the environments and they’re normally variants of the vendors you would find in town. For example, you can always bring a piece of gear to the enchanter in town and he’ll enchant it, giving it special properties, but you may come across a specialized enchanter in a dungeon like one that enchants gear with ice properties or even one that adds new sockets to gear. You’re always going to come across something new in Torchlight II and it’s just one of the many reasons this game can be so addictive.
Now There’s more to building your character than just equipping the right gear. After you earn enough experience, you will level up and every time you level up, you’re granted five stat points that can be applied to strength, dexterity, focus, or vitality. You’re also provided one skill point that can be applied to various skills across three skill trees and each character, including the new ones introduced in Synergies, have their own unique skill trees. Each character class is unique and you can create different builds by distributing points into different stats and focusing on specific skills. In addition to experience is fame. Killing unique, elite, and boss monsters rewards you with fame. Once you earn enough fame, you’ll automatically earn a skill point. Some skills need to be unlocked, usually by reaching a certain level, and I would say that it’s more beneficial on a few skills rather than pouring points into every skill available. Some skills are passive, meaning they’re always active but most skills are offensive-type moves, at least when talking about the character classes I chose, and every time you use one of these skills you drain mana and your mana can be restored by drinking mana potions. Every time you apply a point into a skill, that skill ranks up and becomes more powerful. Most of the skills can rank up and reach up to three tiers and each tier grants that skill more powerful bonuses. You have plenty of options when it comes to building your character and with the combination of stats, skills, and gear, the possibilities are essentially endless.
The combat, and gameplay overall, in Torchlight II is pretty straightforward. Like most games in this genre, you really have to enjoy clicking shit because that’s what it’s all about. You click somewhere to move your character to that location, click items to grab them, click NPC’s to talk to them, and click monsters to attack them. You can hold a button down to keep your character stationary, allowing you to attack in any direction without moving. On the bottom of your HUD is the action bar where you can place different skills, spells, and/or potions. Health potions restore health and mana potions restore mana. The SynergiesMOD adds in new potions like elemental resistance potions and you can even acquire a potion catalyst that will transmute health and mana potions into a rejuvination potion when taken to a Transmuter. You can click any of the icons along the action bar to activate their effects but these are actually quickslots assigned to the number keys on your keyboard. Pressing one of the number keys will activate whatever is in the appropriate slot. I think those that don’t like this genre don’t enjoy the clickfest because a majority of your actions involve the mouse. I would say these games are more about character building and loot than anything else. Now you’re going to come across all kinds of monsters like werewolves, zombies, skeletons, large insects, ghosts, golems, goblins, and all other kinds of fantasy type creatures. The monsters usually attack you head on, some have ranged weapons or attacks, some pounce, some can even teleport around, and most of the time, you’re going to be swarmed and outnumbered. The SynergiesMOD seems to increase the monster count in general. One of the downsides of this is trying to escape a mob. Sometimes monsters just fill the area and you just can’t find an empty space somewhere in the distance to click on so you can escape which does become annoying. Furthermore, there’s an increase in the amount of Elite and unique enemy types. A significant increase. There’s actually different types of Elite enemies. You’ve got you’re actual Elite enemies identified as such, the SynergiesMOD adds in Hero enemies, and of course the boss monsters. For the sake of discussion, I’m just going to refer to all of these as Elite monsters. Now in Synergies, you’ll be running into Elites every two feet. It’s a little ridiculous. Elite monsters normally drop better gear in general but they’re also damage sponges so having to deal with so many makes traversing through locations take a lot longer than if you were to traverse them in the vanilla game. On top of that, some Elite enemies are just way overpowered, especially late in the game. And having to deal with multiple at a time, all the time, gets extremely tiresome. You’ll soon realize that any new location you discover, whether it be in the overland areas, inside a dungeon, or just around a corner, there is always going to be an Elite enemy. Always. In the vanilla game, they don’t appear nearly as often, making them feel a bit special when you do encounter them. But in Synergies, you start to dread progressing because you know there’s going to be some overpowered Elite around the next corner in addition to the standard swarm of basic enemies. Some of these tougher Elite monsters like to cast magic attacks that trap you so you can’t move and if you’re surrounded by several Elites, it’s basically a death sentence. Elite monsters can also split into more Elite monsters upon getting killed. In addition to all of this, there’s quite a few monsters that spawn other monsters. I noticed that every act introduces a new annoying monster that is not only a damage sponge but also likes to spawn other monsters frequently. Every single Act has a monster like this. And I’m not even talking about Elites. No, I’m talking about standard enemies. But, of course, there are Elite variants of these monsters as well. The Dune Mothers in particular are the fucking worst. They spawn numerous Dune Borrowers and these little shits love to rush and swarm you. If you’re up against multiple Dune Mothers, it’s pure tedious hell. At the end of third act, I got into an insane battle with enemies and Elites everywhere and it got to the point where I just had enough. So I enabled the console and lowered the difficulty down to Normal. With that said, on Normal, basic enemies would barely do any damage and I kind of felt overpowered. But, ultimately, I was having a bit more fun. The difference in actual challenge between Normal and Veteran is very steep. On Normal, you’ll cut through most monsters like butter but on Veteran, they can destroy you in seconds. I should mention that beating the campaign in the vanilla game took me about thirteen hours. For my playthrough of the SynergiesMOD, I clocked in about twenty-eight hours before lowering the difficulty to Normal. That should give you an indication of how long it can take to get through Synergies on Veteran.
I want to say that I don’t dislike the SynergiesMOD. In fact, I love it. It expands the game in so many cool ways. However, I do think it needs more balancing, at least for solo players. The overwhelming hordes and amount of Elite monsters can really bring down the pacing, making progress feel slow. Considering the amount of experience and fame have both been re-balanced to reflect all of the other changes, progression in general feels a bit slower. For example, it may take you an hour to kill every monster in one of the large overland areas in the vanilla game but it can take up to four hours to do it in the SynergiesMOD. And that’s no joke. It took me about three or four hours to get through the Ossean Wastes. I saw an add-on for the mod in the Steam Workshop that lowers the monster count, making it closer to the vanilla count. I installed this in an attempt to make progress a little faster. Although, there still seemed to be an overwhelming amount. With so many enemies spawning other enemies or enemies splitting upon death, the monster count still ended up being higher than normal. It feels like almost every other monster is splitting into multiple or you’re just getting swarmed, and it almost feels like Synergies is balanced more for cooperative play than solo. After a while, the constant monster’s spawning other monsters and monsters splitting become tedious, making some encounters slogs to get through. I think it would be better if you could farm for experience but monsters don’t respawn in previous areas so you always have to push forward. That’s why completing every quest is important. You need to make sure you don’t miss out on experience. If you do install that add-on, you may want to install the SKILLSUNLOCK one as well which adjusts the skill unlock rate accordingly. Another standout add-on is HIGHLOOT which causes Elite monsters to drop more loot upon getting killed. In both vanilla and Synergies, some monsters carry a shield that must be broken before they start taking any significant damage from your attacks and the elite and boss enemies can take more of a beating than the standard enemy types. They also yield the best rewards upon getting killed. This game does support cooperative play through a LAN or online so having buddies to help you may be beneficial and if you prefer to play solo, you can always rely on your pet to help you. Your pet will always aid you in combat and you can set your pet to be passive, aggressive, or defensive. Your pet has health and mana bars, both of which can be restored by using the appropriate potions and if your pet loses all of its health, it will flee. It’s health will regenerate and it will return but you can always use a health potion to heal it faster. If you do die, you’re provided multiple options for respawning. The closer you spawn to where you died, the more gold you’ll lose. I found that money doesn’t really become an issue so spawning where you died is usually not that big of a deal but the game does get harder the further you progress and if you don’t have the right gear equipped, things can get really tough.
Action RPG’s aren’t just about combat and decimating hordes of enemies. That’s all good fun but I would say the genre’s biggest draw is character building. If you enjoy building characters, this may just be the genre for you. After completing the storyline, there’s a good amount of end game content which enables you to continue leveling up your character, acquire better gear, and basically provide you with an infinite amount of replay value. And that’s in addition to the multiplayer. With that said, the vanilla game offers two ways to continue playing after completing the story. You can proceed to start what is essentially the New Game Plus mode where you complete the story again but retain your current stats and equipment or you can visit the Mapworks. The Mapworks is like a separate little hub world where you can buy maps that are randomly generated and fight your way through them. Each map is basically a dungeon with a theme based on locations in the story and normally consists of multiple floors ending with a boss fight. I should also mention that the maps do come with special properties. Some maps grant benefits to the player, monsters, or both. For example, the map may offer you a damage bonus, increased gold, or maybe you’re movement speed and damage are reduced. These special properties can really mix things up, making for interesting dungeon crawling experiences. There’s plenty of maps to purchase and new ones are always being stocked so you can basically keep playing forever. It’s obvious that these maps are literally designed for you to keep grinding through enemies in an effort to level up and acquire rare loot and gear. And I love it. If you truly enjoy these types of games and can get easily addicted to character building, the Mapworks should be right up your alley.
Some of the loading screens in the SynergiesMOD make it very clear that the mod is not balanced for New Game Plus. However, there’s all kinds of new end game content that make the vanilla Mapworks look shallow in comparison. You’ll notice in the towns there’s a portal to the Ember Steps. I believe you can check this out at any time but I decided to investigate it after I beat the main story. When you enter the portal, you’re brought to new hub world or town, complete with NPCs, vendors, and spots for soul crafting. As I stated before, you need to be level one hundred before you can do anything with souls but I do know the souls can be used to craft mythical armor. You can leave the Ember Steps to enter the Realm of Discord which I guess is a new overland area. And, of course, as soon as I entered, I was greeted by three or four Elite enemies. Big surprise. Some monsters reveal phase portals upon being killed. In fact, there seems to be a lot of enemies that do this. Phase Portals everywhere. Even when you’re in a Phase Portal, you can kill three or four enemies that unleash their own Phase Portals. So it looks like the Phase Portals just take you different areas in The Realm of Discord. It should also be noted that The Realm of Discord areas seems to repopulate monsters every time you leave and come back. The enemies here drop a lot of great loot, some of which is exclusive to the SynergiesMOD. You’ll acquire a lot of unique and unidentified items and the mod expands your inventory storage space with multiple pages so there’s plenty of room to store everything. After getting a better understanding of how The Ember Steps worked I really started enjoying it a lot more. I had no idea what the hell was going on because I would click on Phase Portals accidentally because I guess I click too fast and the monsters will unleash these portals instantly upon getting killed. I would be immediately transported to a new location and this happened often so I was constantly moving around just slaying hordes of enemies in new and interesting places trying to complete quests without actually knowing where the hell I was going. But I was leveling up my character and acquiring rare and useful gear more often than not so The Ember Steps stuff can really become quite addictive. After realizing that the Ember Steps is designed specifically for leveling your character, you could theoretically just bypass the entire story mode and immediately jump into the Ember Steps. There are quests to complete in the Realm of Discord so there’s always a goal to work towards but I suppose you could just grind through the areas and level up however you want.
The SynergiesMOD real end game stuff is at Table Mountain. After you buy the Table Mountain scroll, you can teleport to the Mountain which is another little town complete with every vendor you’ve come across in the game. All of the different enchanter types, gem smasher, gem saver, the general goods merchant, and even Synergies exclusive vendors that sell mod exclusive items. From Table Mountain, you can, of course, visit various locations to slay monsters for more gear to better equip your character. The mod makes it clear that Table Mountain is not designed for leveling and expects you to be at level one hundred which is the level cap. Table Mountain includes an entrance to a special location called the Deserted Gold Mine which seems to be specifically designed for you to acquire a shit-ton of gold. There’s several custom dungeons designed for players who have reached the level cap. I believe these are considered raid dungeons and they contain exclusive Synergy bosses and legendary equipment. These dungeons require you to reach a specific Tier and I’m not exactly sure what that means since you can’t level past one hundred. I’m assuming it means you need to have specific and powerful gear to enter these areas. To really get to the meat of Table Mountain you need to reach the level cap. I found that playing through the story should get you to about level fifty or so. So, yeah, you’ll want to spend some time in the Ember Steps. But you also have the option to buy Clockwork maps which take you to the Clockwork zone. Synergies offers numerous ways to level up and it’s all great fun as long as you enjoy grinding.
One of the things I love about the Torchlight games is their art style. Torchlight II uses the same cartoon-y art style as the original game and I absolutely love it. Everything has kind of a chunky look and feel to it, there’s a good amount of color, and it’s just very pleasing on the eyes. One of the most satisfying things about this game is watching enemies explode into bloody chunks. Whenever you have the opportunity to wipe out multiple enemies at a time, you may be able to cover the ground in gibs. As for the audio work, it’s what you would expect. Weapons make the appropriate sounds. Enemies will roar, scream, moan, growl, and make other typical noises fantasy creatures would probably make. The music actually reminds me a lot of the music from Diablo II. It seems to have many similar motifs. But, honestly, I kind of just tuned it out after a while since none of the songs sounded that memorable to me. When talking about the performance, the vanilla game ran fine. As for the Synergies mod, when there’s a lot of shit on screen, which does happen often in this mod, the frame rate tanks big time. And I have a PC with specs that are way above and beyond the specs required for this game. So not only can the onslaught of constant hordes of monsters really slow your progress through the campaign, it literally hinders the performance.
I absolutely love Torchlight II and think it’s one of the best action RPG’s out there. It’s got plenty of depth, plenty of options when it comes to character builds, and has addictive gameplay. It released a little while after Diablo III and I remember playing this much more at the time. Diablo III had some serious issues with gear drops and the horrible focus on the auction house at launch. Although, when Diablo III’s loot 2.0 patch released, I started playing that more. But Torchlight II is still a great time. It may not receive the constant updates and new content like Blizzard does with their games but it does have mod support and the modding community is quite impressive. The SynergiesMOD is one of the best mods you can install for this game and as of this review, it receives relatively frequent updates. It includes re-balanced gameplay, new monsters, soul crafting, new gems, stat potions, and all other kinds of new additions and little tweaks that give you all kinds of reasons to return. However, I do think the difficulty needs a bit more balancing. According to the game, the mod is balanced for the Elite difficulty. Yeah, well I’d like to know the creator’s definition of “balance” because I played through most of it on Veteran and it just becomes frustrating. Maybe it’s more balanced for multiple players on Elite but certainly not for a solo playthrough. If you’re going to play through Synergies solo, I’d highly recommend you play through it on Normal. Now it’s possible that by the time this review is released, the mod may updated to address some issues and fix the balancing. Overall, the SynergiesMOD is a fantastic piece work that just needs some more tuning. It feels like Torchlight II kind of came and went and its definitely been overshadowed and buried by other action RPG’s that have hit the market in more recent times. Games like Path of Exile and Grim Dawn are good examples but there’s something special about Torchlight II. I love the art style, the gameplay, and the developers truly nailed the loot system, making the game extremely addictive and fun to play.
Torchlight II is one of my favorite games in the genre and I would highly recommend it to any fans of the genre or those looking to get into it for the first time. I actually think Torchlight II and its predecessor are great for newcomers. The storylines are shit but I think these types of games are more about character building than anything else. Torchlight II has plenty of depth and options when it comes to character builds while managing to be relatively simple to understand. It may not have as much depth as games such as Path of Exile or Grim Dawn or be treated as a service and receive constant updates such as Diablo III but it does have mod support and that alone, could keep the game fresh forever. The developer, Runic Games, was a subsidiary of Perfect World Co. and I guess the powers that be decided that Runic had to shut down in November, 2017. It truly makes me sad to think we may never get a Torchlight III or any other game from them for that matter. The original Torchlight was the first game in this genre I actually completed and it basically got me into the genre. Evidently, the reason they were shut down was so Perfect World could focus on games as a service. But Torchlight II is still readily available at least on Steam and GOG and I would definitely recommend you check it out if you haven’t already.