What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Torchlight II is a role-playing game with plenty of bloody violence. Players use an enormous arsenal of bladed, blunt, ballistic, and magical weapons to tear through thousands of fantastical and humanoid enemies, leaving lots of crimson stains along the way. However, graphics are a bit cartoonish and action is viewed from a raised perspective, which lessens the brutal nature of the carnage to some degree. Parents should note, too, that this game supports online text communication with strangers.
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 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, Torchlight II nails the strangely compelling formula of kill monsters, collect loot, equip weapons and armor. Part of its 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. It compels players to keep clicking. It 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.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about violence in games and media. Where do you draw the line on the kind of violence your kids can watch? Should context matter, or do you rule out anything with splashes of bright red blood?
Families can also discuss online safety. Text communication can sometimes be even more worrisome than voice since you can't hear what a person sounds like. What markers do you look for in determining whether a texting gamer might be someone better avoided?