A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Torchlight II is a downloadable role-playing game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and WIndows PCs. It's the sequel to 2009's role-playing game Torchlight, and was recently re-released on newer consoles. Players use an enormous arsenal of hand to hand, ranged, and magical weapons to tear through thousands of fantastical and humanoid enemies, leaving lots of crimson stains along the way. But graphics are a bit cartoonish and action is viewed from a raised perspective, which lessens the brutal nature of the carnage to some degree. Apart from some cleavage shown on some female characters, there's no other inappropriate content to be found in the game.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The sequel to a surprise hit downloadable PC game released back in 2009, TORCHLIGHT II delivers a very similar type of action role-playing experience. Players begin by picking an avatar and a pet, customizing their gender and appearance. They then set out on a journey across a fantasy world on the hunt for a character known only as the "Alchemist." He was corrupted by a magical substance called ember and is now wreaking havoc on every town he passes. Players spend their time exploring dungeons, fighting ghastly creatures by clicking on them, and then grabbing the loot dropped at the feet of their corpses. You can pick through the plunder, choosing items to equip based on your character's level and statistics before shipping off the rest to nearby vendors who purchase it for virtual currency. The entire game can be completed playing alone, but gamers looking for company can opt to join up with others online in a traditional cooperative adventure mode.
Is it any good?
Like its predecessor, this role-playing game nails the strangely compelling formula of kill monsters, collect loot, equip weapons and armor. Part of Torchlight II's appeal is that it's instantly accessible. It has controls that just about anyone -- gamer or not -- should be able to figure out within a few minutes, as well as a slowly elevating difficulty curve that nudges players toward combat mastery before things get too challenging. It also sports a polished, cartoonish aesthetic that should prove welcoming to most fantasy fans.
But Torchlight II's real appeal, most likely, is in the satisfaction it delivers as players continually grow their characters by distributing statistic enhancing points, acquiring new abilities, and equipping new gear. There's a constant and gratifying feeling of progression that lasts throughout the game's lengthy story, and the game's New Game Plus feature lets you take your favorite hero on a new adventure with a much higher difficulty level to keep you playing for additional hours. But what's even more telling is the fact that the re-release of the game on modern consoles, which comes out almost seven years to the day after it was released, manages to withstand the test of time. The gameplay still feels fresh, fast-paced, and easy to dive into. Plus, there's a surprising amount of depth available in making each character and pet your own that will keep you engaged, from equipping gear to transforming your pet into various creatures thanks to the food you feed it. Torchlight II may not be quite as sophisticated as a game like Diablo III, but keep in mind it's just one third the price. This one's an easy recommendation for folks who like a little hacking and slashing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Is the impact of the violence in Torchlight II affected by the cartoonish nature of the visuals? Would the impact be intensified if the visuals were more realistic? Is it rougher than other animated titles because of the splashes of blood that are seen when enemies are killed?
Do you prefer playing games by yourself or with other people? What are the advantages and disadvantages to each kind of gameplay?
- Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Perfect World Entertainment
- Release date: September 3, 2019
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence
- Last updated: September 5, 2019
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