The playable classes, clockwise from the top: Embermage, Berserker, Outlander and Engineer.
Torchlight II (2012) is an action role-playing game developed by Runic Games. As you might infer, it is the direct sequel to Torchlight.It adds Co-Op Multiplayer to the franchise (a lack of which was a near-universal criticism of the original, especially since Diablo II was doing it a decade ago) and is (or was) meant to serve as a stepping-stone towards the proposed Torchlight MMO. The playable classes include:
The Embermage: Squishy Wizards who have a more traditional mage look and combat style in contrast to the Magitek-styled Alchemist from the original.
The Outlander: Mysterious vagabonds and nomads who are proficient with both ranged weapons (specially guns) and magic. The stat allocation system is somewhat biased in favour of magic Outlanders, as effective gunslingers are more difficult to build, especially if using shotguns.
Originally meant to be out in Spring of 2011, it faced some delays, but it finally came out in September 20, 2012. It was so popular that it actually crashed the registration servers on launch day, causing some tongue-in-cheek comparisons with the launch of another big Action-RPG.A fair share of the original's gameplay-related tropes still apply, but a lot of new features and mechanics make debut here, so be sure to list the new stuff on this page. Also, beware of some unmarked Late Arrival Spoilers.
Action Bomb: The spider mines, one of the Engineer's mechanical constructs. There's also enemy versions.
All-Powerful Bystander: The second act has you asking a powerful Djinni named Fazeer Shah, who is stated to be stronger than the guardians themselves, for help. He agrees to help only if you entertain him with some quests and in the end he only tricks you into fulfilling his end of the bargain yourself, ridding him of his rival in the process. More specifically, the defeat of Ezrek Khan also frees the Guardian - which your character was trying to do in the first place - without Fazeer having to lift a finger.
Anti-Frustration Features: All of those introduced in the 1st game come back, (shared stash, auto-looting gold, Vendor Trash disposing pets, etc.) but a share of new handy tweaks have been included now. For example...
Each hub area has a "tutor" that can refund (up to) your last 3 spent skill points. So, if you spend a point in a skill that's not of your liking, you can reverse that decision as long as you do it soon enough.
You can re-buy any item you have sold at the same price you sold it. This is to avoid paying a hefty sum for an item that you might have sold by accident while madly clicking through your disposable gearnote however, this still doesn't apply when you send your pet to sell stuff, so watch out for that.
Level-Locked Loot is present, with a level and stat(s) requirement, just like in the first game and the Diablo series. However, unlike the original game, where you have to match the level AND the stat(s) requirements in order to equip something, here you can fulfill either of them in order use the gear. This means that now you can wield heavy weapons even with no Strength upgrades as long as you reach the appropriate level, or wear high-level armor earlier as long as you distribute your stats in the right way.
One particular aversion: for the Engineer at least, any minions you've spawned will un-summon whenever you switch to a new map. This is not really dangerous to you, but it is definitely frustrating.
Apocalyptic Log: There are several diary entries spread around the Abandoned Sawmill, detailing how the inhabitants were offed by werewolves in the span of five days.
Artifact Title: The eponymous town is destroyed in the opening cutscene and doesn't even appear in the game, aside from a small cameo as a (still burning) landmark in the loading screen's maps.
Asteroids Monster: Now some bosses (and Champions) have the "Dividing" trait. What this means is that when they die, they spawn two new bosses of the same mob type. These new ones are at least partially weaker, but the sudden jump in incoming DPS can still prove lethal.
BFG: Cannons. They could well be mounted on the side of a ship and not look out of place, and yet your character lugs them around like nothing. One wonders how the recoil doesn't knock the thing out of their grip.
The Engineer's healing robot. Not too flashy, doesn't do any damage, but when you forget to have it deployed, it shows.
Passive skills. Unlike Active Skills, which evolve via the Tier system, investing points in them only increases the percentage bonus they grant to you, which is not too exciting... But spending a hefty amount of skill-points in them is still highly recommended, as they generate nice bonuses that scale with your stats and/or equipment and increase the chance of triggering random beneficial effects. Let's put it this way:
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In addition to loot enchantments (green for uncommons, blue for rares, orange for unique artifacts), enemies' lifebars now give you a hand. Standard mooks are red; random Boss versions of mooks are purple; and plot-critical bosses are orange.
Confusion Fu: One of the Embermage passives makes regular attacks with a wand have a chance of causing "bizarre, random elemental disturbances", which can be anything from a random bat appearing and then blowing up on your enemies' faces to a giant meteor dropping out of nowhere on their heads. Having high points in this skill makes running out of mana an interesting experience.
It also applies to certain spells, including the starting Magma Missiles spell, that quickly escalates into a chain reaction of randomly over the top destruction that has to be seen to be believed (for optimal chaos, try it with the Shock Bolts skill, which pierces enemies and fires several bolts at once, each hit having a chance to trigger an effect. It's a thing of beauty). Their Chaos Armor passive also has a chance to teleport enemies away randomly when struck and inflict a random elemental effect on them.
Covers Always Lie: The 'box art' shown above (the actual game doesn't have a boxed version yet) and certain loading screens depict the male Engineer as a hefty Space Marine right out of Warhammer40k (epic chin included) but his real character model isn't half as buff and he doesn't get that particular armor in-game. The male Berserker is also a lot wirier than the art indicates but at least he does get claws similar to those in the art (unfortunately they're low tier). On the flipside, the female character models are more modest than their art too.
Difficulty Spike: As in the first game, the final dungeon starts featuring a lot of enemies who can kill you in only a few hits. Even better, there are grills on the floor that spurt fire—fire that deals about an entire lifebar's worth of damage. Avoiding them whilst traveling is easy. Avoiding them in a fight, with a bunch of other attacks coming your way...
Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: For melee characters. Their higher damage output allows them to gib enemy packs before taking too much damage, but against bosses, who can take at least tens of hits and deal out heavy wide-area attacks, they have to play a lot more strategically.
The King in Masks, the boss of a sidequest, looks like a six-armed mummy with three masks floating around his head, got locked up in a vault under the sea, back when there actually was a sea in the salt barrens, and wants to unite Zeraphi and Ezrohir by enslaving both (which is why he got locked up in the first place). Luckily, this Cthulhu isn't that hard to punch out.
The Nether is full of these, and they have tried to invade in the past. The Alchemist intends to let them in.
Eldritch Location: The Nether, and all places tainted by it. Of particular note is the Haunted Quarter, which appears to be a chunk of Zeryphesh floating in a void with purple mist, with hostile lightning storms and tentacles sprouting all over the place, and the Clockwork Core, several gigantic clanking gears floating above a pit of magma which separate the material realm from the nether.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Destroyer and The Alchemist are called by their class names from the original Torchlight while the Vanquisher now goes by 'Commander Vale'. She is the commander of the Vanquishers though.
Fake Difficulty: By way of Interface Screw. Many of your important windows, like your Character screen, Skill Tree, inventory and pet inventory are easily accessed via little tabs that hang off the left and right side of your screen... sometimes too easily, if what you're actually trying to do is run somewhere during battle. (Note that the game does not feature Pausable Realtime and you are still able to fight with these menus open; it's just disorienting.)
A similar problem can crop up because enemies have "clickboxes" larger than they are. If you click on the empty space near an enemy, the game will assume you're trying to attack it, and respond accordingly. Combine this with very large bosses, who spawn cages around you whose bars are individually destructible, and finding a spot the game considers "unoccupied" can involve a Pixel Hunt. You can use the "move" key (` by default) to move without attacking though.
Fallen Hero: Applies to an important character from the original - The Alchemist has become corrupted by Ordrak. It also comes with...
Evil Costume Switch: As he ditched his mage robes in favor of a demonic-looking Powered Armor. According to his journals, the armor's purpose is to prevent Ordrak's heart from accelerating his Ember Blight.
Hero Killer: He kills Syl and heavily wounds the Destroyer in the game's prologue.
Towards the end of the game, the Guardian of Mana reveals that Ordrak, Big Bad of the original game, was once a Guardian himself.
Final Boss Preview: The Netherim that was possessing the Grand Regent at the end of act 1 turns out to be the Nether King.
Find the Cure: With a rather dark twist... The Alchemist's plot revolves around his obsession with curing his Ember Blight.
Finger Gun: Ezrek Khan, a genie boss character, uses one to shoot fireballs at you. Given his nature, it's not out-of-character.
Follow the Leader: Much like Torchlight borrowed heavily from the first Diablo, Torchlight II borrows heavily from Diablo II. Granted, there's also the fact that Runic has many of the people behind the early Diablos and many of the common elements are part of their Signature Style.
The first open area in both is a badlands type area, and the first area in the second act is a desert.
Both first games involve traversing primarily downward in a dungeon in a cursed town, while the second graduates to wide-spanning story after a player character from the preceding games becomes a Rogue Protagonist.
Both have the town from the first installment completely obliterated by the aforementioned Rogue Protagonist.
Some of the skill trees are clearly inspired by World of Warcraft, most particularly the Embermage.
One poster on the official forums pointed out that the series as a whole has gameplay closer to the late 90s ARPG Darkstone than the Diablo's.
Fungus Humongous: Act III has a forest full of hostile living mushrooms, with the brutes and bosses being gigantic.
Game-Breaking Bug: The sheer length of the changelogs for each patch really demonstrates both the difficulties that Runic face due to their determination to keep the team small and their utter dedication to making the game better but there are still some nasty issues to settle:
Steam compatibility problems consistently throw wrenches into the community's multiplayer expectations. Desyncs, sudden unexplained deaths and the dreaded save game rollbacks continue to crop up every now and then despite the devs' best efforts.
Sudden random deaths have also been occurring in the non-Steam version as well, which has caused no end of pain for several Hardcore players.
Game Mod: Like its predecessor, it has dozens and dozens of 'em. With the added benefit of Steam Workshop and a menu at the start letting you easily select which ones you want.
Godiva Hair: Tinye, the Potions vendor in the first town.
Goggles Do Nothing: A couple of possible skins for the Engineer include purely cosmetic goggles.
The Ferret pet returns from the first game and has the same goggles-clad aviator helmet as before.
Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Ranged classes may experience this. Without the risk of running into the middle of an enemy pack and getting shredded they are free to kite the relatively slow and massive bosses around until they drop. Splash Damage skills make things even easier by removing summoned Mooks.
Loot Drama: Invoked and averted. In multiplayer, all drops are instanced, and you won't even see what your allies get, much less be able to nick it. The loading screen hints make it clear that everything that drops is yours, because everyone else gets their own loot that only they can see and only they can loot.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: A number of mobs have shields or other types of armor (armadillos, for example) which make them basically immune to damage... at least until you smash their shields with a special attack or a crit.
Ludicrous Gibs: Just like its predecessor (except there's chunks this time around), when the death blow is a bit excessive your enemies will be splattered. There's even a few Embermage lightning skills that always do this on a kill.
Macross Missile Massacre: The Engineer's Fusillade skill lets him fire bursts of 2 to 4 homing rockets at 3 around bursts per second for as long as mana holds out.
The Magic Goes Away: The Alchemist has the destruction of the world's ember as one of his plans, thinking it might cure him of the ember blight. He seems to have overlooked the existence of entire races based on or subsisting on Ember, which would be wiped out if his plan succeeds. Thankfully for all concerned the trope is averted in the end.
The Engineer wears a Powered Armor suit (though it doesn't cover his entire body) and can build robots
The Embercraft is a vehicle the size of a small house, on tank treads. In-game Flavor Text says the original Embercraft design was a train that rode on rails, but the modern one moves freely. The train reference is actually a Shout-Out to the initial concept of gameworld design which featured railways prominently as a symbol of the expanding influence of technological civilization.
One-Winged Angel: The Nether King starts the fight out as a half-incorporeal Netherim, but after defeating him once, he morphs into a giant Netherim with golden armor and a BFS.
Pet the Dog: According to his journals that you find in an Act 1 sidequest, the Alchemist, even after being driven half mad by his Ember Blight, has no intention of actually killing the Guardians, and is in fact siphoning energy from all of them rather than some specifically to avoid doing this. The same journal that reveals this also suggests he fully intends to face judgment for his crimes once he's destroyed the world's Ember. Unfortunately, the Estherians and other magical beings have an obvious problem with that last part...
Powered Armor: The Engineer is implied to reinforce his armor with a powered exoskeleton the power source of which is located in his backpack. Description of various melee engineer abilities explicitly say they are dependant on the armor's machinery.
In addition, many armor sets of Zeraphi or Dwarven design are clearly mechanical in appearance, bearing power sources, vents, and, in one case, a steam furnace.
Rogue Protagonist: It turns out the Alchemist was not cured of his Ember Corruption like the Destroyer and Vanquisher were, and has become The Heavy as a result of it.
Saharan Shipwreck: There is a whole area full of shipwrecks in the second part (set in a sand desert) of the game.
Schedule Slip: Originally to be released in late 2011, was pushed back to 2012, with an official release date of "When it's done". Then Runic Games finally announced that, on August 31st, 2012, they would... announce the game's release date. (At Penny Arcade Expo, so one must acknowledge their sense of spectacle.) September 20, 2012 was the big day.
Sequel Escalation: Aside from now featuring multiplayer, Runic Games has increased the game's variety compared to the first Torchlight, including an increased number of dungeons, monsters, bosses and so forth. The developers even released an infographic◊ of how much content there is compared to the first.
Short Range Shotgonne: Shotgonnes (and cannons) have a range that's only slightly longer than melee weapons, but can turn multiple enemies into Ludicrous Gibs with a single blast (and, in the cannon's case, may stun them). Even less explicably, cannons have shorter range than shotgonnes in exchange for a wider spread. As per the trope, however, the shotgun has probably the lowest damage output of any weapon class in the game. Its utility in terms of stuns and blinds is the only real reason for using one, but given Torchlight's emphasis on offensive rather than defensive strategy, you'd be a lot better off just using higher power wands or the glaive skills instead.
The Engineer can vastly improve the range of his/her cannon by investing a few points in the Blast Cannon skill. It doesn't build up your Charge Meter and costs some mana, but it fires a big fat projectile that drills through Mooks like, well, a cannonball. Upgrading it causes it to temporarily blind enemies and make them take even more damage from fire and physical attacks.
Another cave, called Notch's Mine, contains honest-to-god Creepers and a chest that drops any one of types of swords from wood to diamond, each with different stats.
One quest has you battling a race of monster mushrooms known as the Mycon.
In the secret room of the Scrapworks boss area, there is a Claptrap cameo (with unique dialogue from the original voice actor). Mousing over him reveals the title "Annoying Automaton", which he has been seen as such even in-universe in Borderlands 2.
This game should have its own Shout-Out page; many unique items and all of the late patch legendaries are movie titles, and others have references in their descriptions.
Still bafflingly used in some instances. For instance, some pants on female models show up as short shorts, but the default model has full length pants. This can result in situations where putting on pants makes your character show more skin.
Also played completely straight with the General Goods vendor in the Estherian Enclave, who is wearing nothing but a pair of pants and Godiva Hair.
Summon Magic: The Engineer can summon a few attack and support robots to help, the Outlander has some shadowy constructs that can join him/her in battle, the Berserker can call upon a pack of short-lived kamikaze wolven spirits to strike the enemies, and one of the high-end spells of the Embermage allows him/her to create an astral duplicate that attacks with powerful spells.
Took a Level in Badass: Vale, the Vanquisher from the first game, goes from a "mere" city guard to the Commander of her own private army, and now wields a BFG rather then the pistol she had in the first game.
Treacherous Quest Giver: Two examples: The Faceless King in Act II, and Cacklespit in Act III. You can take revenge on them though.
Überwald: The third part of the game is set in Grunnheim. The area bears a blatant German-sounding name and mostly consists in a thick swampy rainy forest full of monsters including undeads and werewolves. Its also features a haunted graveyard and a Bonus Dungeon inside a kind of gothic tower.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Ancient dwarven ruins suspended in metallic stilts over an enormous pool of magma, swarming with their undead makers and their mechanical defenders and leading down into the very core of the earth, which keeps the Netherim legions off the material plane? Can't get much more final than that.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Alchemist seeks to not only cure his own Ember Blight, but end the threat of Ember forever... but he is more than willing to kill anyone who opposes him, spread an Anti-Magic plague, and unleash hordes of monsters throughout the world to accomplish this.