Mod of the Week: Far East Pack, for Torchlight 2

Christopher Livingston

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While zombies, vampires, and werewolves have had a pop-culture resurgence in the last decade, children of the 1980's are wondering: “Won't ninja ever make a comeback? If not, that's totally bogus.” See, in the 80's, ninja were everywhere, in everything, all the time. Clearly, that needs to happen again, and you can help, by playing as a ninja (or six other new classes) in the Far East Pack for Torchlight 2 .

The Far East Pack is just the first wave of a planned Far East Expansion for Torchlight 2, the collective work of a number of talented modders, and includes a couple dozen custom combat animations, an arsenal of new weapons, and scores of new armor options, all with a beautifully realized theme. Future plans include even more classes, as well as custom maps and quests.

Just spitting fire at a monster. Or what used to be a monster.

Obviously, I've been playing as the Ninja, but there are a total of seven new classes. You can play as the Ronin, a wandering hero, the Outlander, who wields guns and magic, the Warrior Monk, master of hand-to-hand combat, the Kensei, a fan of two-handed swords, the Monster Hunter, who, well, hunts monsters, and the Grand Master, who presumably masters everything, grandly. Each class has their own three inventive and thematic custom skill trees.

Ninja vs. Skeletons. Surely that should be the title of a movie.

I've enjoyed my time playing through about 30 levels as a ninja. You can fling kunai at enemies, perform backflip kicks, and disappear in a cloud of smoke - and not just any smoke, poison smoke, which really makes you feel like a super-deadly ninja. At higher levels you're able to target enemies for insta-kill assassinations, as well as summon ninja clones to fight alongside you. There's plenty of elemental magic as well, from breathing fireballs to summoning sandstorms to mastering wind-walking.

You know that old saying, "Kick all monsters in their stupid faces?" Bingo.

The Warrior Monk is a nice choice if you enjoy claw weapons and delivering a flurry of punches into the faces of walking piles of treasure (also known as monsters). You can also enjoy flipping kicks, side kicks, flying kicks, and a punch that causes your enemies to explode. There's even a passive skill that means when you block an attack you automatically return it, with punching. The monk also taps into his chi, using it to create devastating attacks, increase his speed, and rapidly heal himself. There is also punching.

Even the skeleton is like "Awesome backwards flip-kick, dude!"

The Monster Hunter looks like a fun class as well: you can hurl flasks of holy water, fire silver bullets, fling venom-coated knives, and employ Tesla cannons, missiles, and atomic charges in your efforts to rid the world of horrible creatures. I haven't really experimented with the remaining classes, but just looking through their skill trees, you can get a nice feel for their talents and themes, and find one that appeals to your style of play.

Dual-wielding katanas while covered in magical tattoos? There is no bad part of that.

New classes and skills are great, but let's talk about new loot. While many of the mod's new items will appear in drops, you'll also find a new vendor in the Estherian Enclave, an eastern merchant called Mako, who sells a wide selection of the mod's weapons and armor. There are swords like katanas, ninjatos, kunai, and the massive two-handed nodachi, as well a couple new spiky claw weapons.

"Ninja Mask or Blindfold of Electric Rage?" is a question we've all struggled with.

There are plenty of custom armor options as well, like ronin helmets, gauntlets, and boots, those awesome conical hats and ninja masks, as well as kimonos, gis, leggings, everything you need to create a sweet look for your new character, and it all fits in very nicely into Torchlight's existing world.

The coolest wearable item may be the blindfold, because how better to express what a total badass you are than by wearing a friggin' blindfold as you wade into combat? And, instead of armor, you may want to cover yourself with magical body tattoos. Correction: you will definitely want to cover yourself with magical body tattoos.

Advice: if a dude wants to fight you while wearing a blindfold, you should run away.

This mod is still being worked on and updated regularly, and there are plans to release yet another class soon: the Mongol Archer. So, keep an eye on it, even if you're blindfolded.

Installation: Subscribe to the mod on Steam . When you start up Torchlight 2, choose the second button that allows you to manage and play with mods. In the mod launcher, make sure Far East Pack 1 is checked, then launch the game (button is to the far right of the mod pane.) Then draw your sacred blade and do not return it to its sheath until it has tasted blood.

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