It’s another good day to be a PC gamer (isn’t every day, though, really?) with a new set of Steam Summer Sale deals to pad your library for the long hot days of hiding inside ahead. If nothing has caught your eye yet, there’s still another weekend to go, but we’re pretty happy with today’s selection—they’re not all brand new, but between the heartfelt Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and the vast wasteland of Fallout New Vegas, there's a few hundred hours of amazing and diverse gaming at a deep discount.
Remember when buying a game didn’t feel like a guarantee of seeing the ending? There are still hard games out there, Dark Souls flying the flag most recently, but increasingly, the challenge has dripped out or at least softened, often leading to sadly wasted opportunities. What would Skyrim be like, for instance, if its ice and snow wasn’t simply cosmetic, but actually punished you for going mountain climbing in your underpants?
With a quick mod – Frostfall in this case – you’re forced to dress up warm before facing the elements, and things become much more interesting. That’s just one example, and over the next couple of pages you’ll find plenty more. These aren’t mods that just do something cheap like double your enemy’s hit-points, they’re full rebalances and total conversions. Face their challenge, and they’ll reward you with both a whole new experience and the satisfaction of going above and beyond the call of duty.
Torchlight II was a worthy successor to Torchlight, featuring more of everything that made the original such a gas. More classes, more pets, more monsters, more environments, and more loot. One thing was missing, though: a giant hulking brute smashing his way through the game with dual-welded swords the size of airplane wings. Sure, Torchlight II has the Berserker class, but I found myself missing the original brawler, a tank who loomed a foot taller and a football field wider than everyone else. The Destroyer mod sends our favorite juggernaut, along with all of his original skills, stampeding into the sequel.
There can't be many names for an official mod editor more appropriate than GUTS is for Torchlight II. Appropriate because, 1) it lets Runic's talented community even deeper into the guts of their game, and 2) Torchlight 2 is a game full of isometric viscera, erupting from mobs as Berserker's violently click their way through the maps. Also, 3) it's kind of a funny word.
Have you already clicked all of Torchlight 2's many monsters into a fine paste of gibbed chunks? Then the Synergies mod could be exactly what you're looking for. It's a huge overhaul of the game, billed as a "Full Conversion" that adds in a number of new Elite-class mobs, extra maps and bosses and an entirely new class. Amazingly, this is all without the still unreleased GUTS game editor.
A small number of Torchlight 2 players have found themselves at the bad end of the DRM stick. While the game's authentication system offers unlimited activations, if it detects "significant" changes to a system, it will ask for that copy to be reactivated. So far, so standard, but a number of posts on Runic's forums are claiming to be unable to complete this process.
After finally securing a late-summer release date last year, Torchlight II carved a strong presence in the Diablo-dominated isometric RPG scene: in a tweet sent New Year's Eve, developer Runic Games revealed Torchlight II sold over 1 million units since launching in September.
Good news, everyone! Steam, Amazon, Blizzard, and more have kicked off Consumer Season by booby trapping the web with potent spending bait such as 33% off XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 50% off The Walking Dead, and 66% off StarCraft II. We spent the morning stumbling through the minefield to compile a list of some of the best seasonal discounts, but stay vigilant: more surprise server-busters are bound to go live as we approach the spendiest weekend of the year.
In a wide-ranging interview with Indie Game Magazine Radio, designer Max Schaefer described his hopes for the future of Torchlight 2, saying that he'd like to introduce a greater sense of permanence to the game through player-created structures.
"What I’d like to see personally is to get the building and resource aspects of Minecraft and put them into an ARPG," he said, "just so it’s a little more than just wandering from one monster to the next and hitting them."
Valve did a sneaky, small-but-significant thing recently: it expanded its "Top Sellers" list on Steam to include one hundred games. The sales leaderboard doesn't tell us exactly how many copies a game sold, but it gives us a vague idea of how well certain games are doing on Steam in a given moment.
It's an inherently misleading metric—take that as a disclaimer. Still, as we sit in the shadow of some of 2012's biggest releases, I'd like to take a crack at gleaning what we can from this moment in time.
I say, dear chaps and dames! Have you found yourself perplexed by the intricacies of delivering steampunk justice to the curs and filth of the monster hordes in Torchlight 2? Well, as luck would have it, you need look no further than this build guide to increase your brigand demolition quotient by fourfold! Have at it!
Tossing around the chaotic energies of the universe can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Alright, alright—it's still really dangerous even when you do know what you're doing. But with the help of this guide, you can make it more dangerous for your enemies than it is for yourself and your friends. And that's really what matters in the end, isn't it?
Like hot chocolate and marshmallows, our Embermage guide is best-used in conjunction with our Torchlight 2 Class Guide, which will be updated with new builds as we hatch them.
For the sake of this demonstration, I am an Embermage: you are a Varkolyn whelpling, an unarmed and mostly undressed little bat-person sitting up a tree. You've been sitting up that tree for a long time, waiting with your many brothers and sisters for someone to wander past. Suddenly, a stranger approaches! You leap down, snarl, prance about, and are almost immediately annihilated by five blind-fired bolts of magic that leap from my outstretched hands.
Let's assume that, in those final moments, time slows to a tiny fraction of its regular speed. This is what you see: half a dozen of your siblings, stumbling into a purple patch of energy that slows them to a crawl. Six columns of flame bursting from the Embermage. A rain of firebolts. A storm contained in a vortex of wind that turns your nearby cousins to ash. Sometimes, when a whelpling dies, they explode into icy bolts that freeze nearby friends. Sometimes, the Embermage gets all its health back for no apparent reason. Sometimes, the ground shakes and a meteor falls from the sky, as if to drive the point home.
Evan returns from the depths of space to join Tyler, Omri, and T.J. in discussing all things Project Eternity. Also kind of a lot of things are coming out right now, and we go over the big ones including Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, FTL, Black Mesa, and Mists of Pandaria. You'll also not just hear, but experience, updates on what's going on with BioWare and Bohemia, a new special segment in which T.J. administers shotgun blasts to the face to all of his coworkers, and extended FTL and XCOM discussion in Playlists.
In today's news we didn't post: Mass Effect 3's next weekend event, a new Assassin's Creed 3 dev diary, and a train ride with the internet irony squad. Also today, Torchlight II was released. Between that, Borderlands 2, Black Mesa Source, and FTL, it's a wonder no one here has suddenly come down with the flu or been temporarily crippled by a freak spelunking accident. Much more after the jump.
Torchlight II launched today, and its inclusion of much-requested co-op support hints at a possible expansion into bigger multiplayer territory for Runic. CEO Max Schaefer told Rock, Paper, Shotgun that if Runic did make a Torchlight MMO, it would have an entirely new and different design.
When I play RPGs, I create one character and I stick with them. I share an office with people who do things differently: whose first dozen hours with a new game are spent cycling through possibilities, repeating opening areas until something clicks or the game dies of inertia. I commit to my characters because what I enjoy about RPGs is advancement, exploration, and momentum. I'd rather make a decision quickly and see where it takes me than agonise over the choice on offer, which is both why I'm capable of buying trousers very quickly and also why I should never do jury duty.
I've just finished playing the opening two hours of Torchlight 2 for the fourth time in a row. I've levelled each of the game's classes to the point where I feel I know what their deal is. I've killed the same three bosses in a variety of positions, swapped loot around using the shared stash and created a new set of angles from which to take on the rest of the game. I've put off commitment by around eight hours.
If you're itching to expand your game music collection without expending any resources beyond the energy it takes to click your mouse a few times, you're in luck today! The maestros behind the sonic accompaniments for Black Mesa and Torchlight II have made their respective compositions available completely free.
Torchlight II still lacks a firm release date, but Runic president Travis Baldree tells Joystiq that it's still on for this summer. "The end of summer is September 25th or something like that, right?" said Baldree. "We're still trying to get it done for summer. It's a big game and we've still got some polish to go."