Torchlight 2 from Runic Games is taking the series in a fantastic direction with new types of environments to explore, a longer campaign, character customization, and the much-desired addition of multiplayer. At PAX Prime 2012 we got our hands on the action role-playing game and got to spend some time with one of Torchlight 2's new classes, the Berserker.
Torchlight 2 takes place several years after the events in the first game. Hopefully you didn't like the city of Torchlight too much, since it's now been destroyed by the Alchemist under the influence of the Ember Blight, evil magical energy that was left behind by the ancient dragon Ordrak. It'll be up to players to follow the Alchemist in to the Estherian Steppes and beyond in order to deal with his actions and stop him before he can become even more corrupt.
Our demo plopped us right in to the middle of Torchlight 2's second act in a city called Zeryphesh as one of the game's new classes, the Berserker. The new game will feature three major acts, all of which include a town, overland areas, and dungeons. Zeryphesh and The Mana Wastes zone surrounding it are located in a desert, a new type of environment in Torchlight 2.
The main quest we were on had us trying to track down and defeat a Manticore, a beast that's, "one part lion, two parts dragon, and altogether savage," according to Runic Games. In order to find the beast we had to adventure through The Mana Wastes, killing every monster that crossed our path.
The Berkserker is one of four classes in Torchlight 2, along with the Engineer, the Outlander, and the Embermage. The Berkserker is a fast-paced in your face melee fighter who channels the power of the wolf to deal devastating damage with fist weapons and has the ability to summon spirit animals who help out in combat.
All of the Berserker's abilities made the class seem like a rabid dog who could absolutely crush anything that came near her. Our Berserker's main ability was Eviscerate, which caused her to tear in to enemies and make them bleed for a few lingering seconds. Her secondary attack, Wolfstrike, allowed our Berserker to lunge at multiple enemies and deal damage to them. I preferred Wolfstrike to Eviscerate, but that's not all our Berserker had to offer.
Every class in Torchlight 2 has three different trees they can specialize in and each tree is filled with all sorts of different passive and active abilities and players will have to choose which ones they want to enhance. The Berserker's trees are Hunter, which focused on her melee abilities, Tundra, which focused on frost and lightning abilities, and Shadow, which featured shadow attacks and new spirits for our Berserker to summon.
Additionally, each skill in Torchlight 2 has its own progression bar. When you spend 5, 10, and 15 points in a skill, they rank up to the next tier and offer additional bonuses. For example, the tier bonus for Eviscerate increased the lunge distance. It's another way to customize your character exactly how you want them to play.
Our Berserker also had a charge bar that filled up as she attacked enemies. When it filled up all the way, which took about a couple minutes or so if she was constantly beating on enemies, it granted our Berserker a sped-up frenzy buff that made all of her basic attacks critical hits and increased the chances of every other type of attack to be a critical hit as well.
While running around in the desert, we were able to use all of our abilities to fight off monsters like sand crabs and skeletons. To help out, we had our trusty Papillon dog Falcor at our side. Pets aren't new to Torchlight 2, but there are all sorts of new ones you can choose to come on your adventure with you, like Falcor or a ferret.
Pets can still pick up loot in Torchlight 2 just like they could in the first game, but they've learned a few new tricks this time around. Instead of just being able to go to town and sell your junk, pets can now bring a shopping list with them and pick up things like potions and scrolls on their way back to you from town.
Eventually we found the Manticore's Lair and had to face off against it. The fight's mechanics weren't too tough; basically the Manticore would fly up in the air and slam down, doing damage around it, and it would summon tornados that you'd have to avoid. Our Berserker was easily able to take out the Manticore and its summoned mate, which is where our demo came to an end.
From what we've seen so far, Torchlight 2 is coming along great and seems to have something for every type of action role-playing game fan. It's a huge game that's been polished to perfection and comes with a price tag of only $20. We truly can't wait to get our hands on it when it's released for the PC on September 20, 2012.