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Dave Yeager
Torchlight II Pre-Review
An epistolary explanation for our lack of coverage.
10.02.12 - 8:22 PM

To My Editor-in-Chief, John McCarroll:

John, when you entrusted me with the review of Torchlight 2, I was excited. I swore I'd get to know it and post a review in a timely fashion so that the RPGFan review went up around the same time as other major websites. But something happened along the way, John. Something wonderful.

I fell in love.

It's been a long time since I felt anything like this, John. Heck, if I'm honest, I'm not sure I've ever felt like this. I've played games like her – nothing that ever got super serious (although that hussy World of Warcraft took a lot of my money before I finally left her). But a lot of youthful dalliances, you know? For a while there, I thought maybe that was the way it would always be, a game here, a game there, sometimes with things getting hot and heavy for awhile, sometimes with things just being pleasant. Sometimes with games I could just call once in awhile and enjoy a day or a night out. You know, playing the field. But nothing serious.

What I'm trying to say, John, is that I've run away with Torchlight 2.

Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe it's just the exciting newness of this feeling. It's not like I haven't met games like her before – I've met plenty. Heck, played quite a few of them, Action RPGs are definitely my type. It's not that she's even the best looking game on the block – she doesn't look real serious, always kind of has a cartoony, playful look about her. Kind of a classic look that makes you feel welcome, but nothing on a supermodel or AAA type level.

But there's something about her, John. Something about how she responds to me, something that makes me want to stay forever. It's like with every touch, every move I make, she has thought about how she can make me feel like a better person. With every click of my mouse, there is something new and exciting to discover. Perhaps she has hidden a new piece of loot. Perhaps she's designed a fun, sometimes silly new monster to find and slay, like a bear with a helmet or a half yak, half yeti creature. Sometimes she even gives me a monster that leaves behind a portal to step through with a fun mini game inside, like some kind of tower defense game. She keeps me guessing, keeps me wanting to know what's next, you know?

And at the same time, I feel like I already know her. And that's part of why I love her too, John. I know things about her almost intuitively, like she tried to make it as easy as possible to get to know her. Like she took on the personality traits of other games like her I've enjoyed before but just streamlined things to make it easier to get along. Managing inventory isn't a chore with her – and thank goodness, because she provides plenty of loot for me to enjoy – but simple clicks and shift clicks let me move things between my own inventory and my pet's inventory so I can keep things organized.

Oh! I should have mentioned sooner: she is an animal lover. I had a choice between a whole herd of pets when we first met. My pet is great! Not only does he help me in combat and head back to town when I ask him to sell my unwanted gear, but he will even take a shopping list with him if I want him to! No more heading back to town just to pick up a few more identify scrolls – Scruffles takes care of it for me!

The music she plays when we hang out leaves a little something to be desired, but it certainly doesn't get in the way. It's mostly some non-intrusive guitar riffs and things like that – provides a nice atmosphere for spending time together, but not much more than that.

But I think the thing I like best about her is that she just lets me be who I want to be. She doesn't feel like she has to control me at all. I can pick any of four really interesting classes, and all four of those classes have three different skill trees. When I gain a level, she doesn't tell me where I have to put my skill points or tell me what new abilities I have. It seems like the kids today want to be told what to do. I guess they are afraid of failure or maybe making the wrong decision. But isn't that what the best relationships are about? The kind where you are constantly learning something new about each other, just when you think you've learned everything there is to know? Isn't that sense of adventure, that possibility that "yes, I might make a mistake but here goes anyway," what makes life worth living? Isn't that what love has to be? Taking risks? Making new discoveries?

And besides, if I think I've made a mistake, she gives me the option to undo my last 3 skill points. Even the best relationships need a mulligan once in awhile.

Let me give you an example of the way she lets me really be whomever I want, John. One day I wanted to play a wizard that could hit things really hard. Just for fun. I knew it wasn't something she was really super into – she likes her wizards to cast spells. But she didn't stop me, John. She let me try it. She even offered to make the game easier for me before I started playing just to see if I wanted to make it possible to survive with a wizard that hit things with a stick.

That's what she does, John. She lets me be me, while still giving me surprises around every turn. Just when I thought our relationship might be ending, just when I thought there was nothing left for us to do after I beat the final boss, she offered me yet another choice. I could start our relationship over again, but with all of the levels I had gained intact via New Game+, or I could explore tons of new maps with her via the Mapworks. We can keep growing. Together.

And (just between you and me) she's open to the idea of letting other people join us. No strings attached. If it doesn't work out, we can always go back to just the two of us, but it's kind of cool that she offers, you know?

I hope everybody finds happiness like this with a game someday, John. And I understand that love is one of those things that is so subjective, such an individual feeling, that maybe nobody else could feel exactly the same way about her I do. But I just know that I love her. And I want to share that with the world.

So I'm running away with Torchlight 2, John. Unless... you wanted to come with us? Would you be into that?

- Dave Yeager

PS: In case you were wondering about my ex, Diablo 3, you wouldn't be the first to ask. She's a great girl, and she sure is a looker, but it just never worked out between us, John. It was passionate for a while there, but then she just started to take and take and take without ever giving any worthwhile loot in return, and I started to feel like our relationship was becoming one-sided. Sometimes she wouldn't even pick up the phone when I called. Once I started to feel like our relationship was becoming all about money, I knew it couldn't last. As I already mentioned, I've already been burned by her cousin, World of Warcraft. I wish her the best, but I'm over her.


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