Mod of the Week: Haknslash Essentials, for Torchlight II

Every week I spot some new mod content for Torchlight II -- a new character class, a new pet, some small but interesting tweaks to the UI or gameplay or loot -- but rarely something meaty enough to devote an entire column to. That's why I'm excited to have come across Haknslash Essentials , a mod that's jam-packed with other mods, fifty in total, giving you a simple one-click subscription to a whole new Torchlight II experience. With a bunch of mighty classes, an array of interesting pets, plus new scenery, new items, and tons more, it's the perfect collection for anyone looking to start a new game with more options than ever.

It seems a little odd to highlight a mod that is basically a repackaging of other modder's mods, but it's not like modder Haknslash just stuffed a bunch of files in a folder and slapped his name on it. These mods have been tested for compatibility, both with each other and with other mods, and Essentials will work with both LAN and online play. Plus, picking the best mods out of all the content in the Workshop is big a job, as you're about to see.

Let's start with the feature everyone wants more of: pets! Because deep down, we're not just adventurers, we're pet lovers, and if someone is going to fight by your side and run back to town to sell all your loot, it needs to be someone you really enjoy spending time with. Haknslash Essentials includes Xev's Pets (by modder mathewmcallahan), which includes over two dozen new pet companions, like basilisks, ghosts, crabs, dragons, mimics, manticores, and the adorable (yet somehow terrifying) Witch Doll.

Another packaged mod is TorchlightPets (by modder Adam / SirFlashington), which includes a pet I'm sure you don't want to miss: Navi, from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Yes, Navi does yell "Hey!" and "Listen!" and several other exclamations that will have you quickly pulling out your hair. If that's not annoying, I mean, enjoyable enough, the mod also includes Claptrap from Borderlands, the only companion even more patience-trying than Navi. Well, I'm sure someone out there is a fan of these two.

If you want a true badass for a pet, then you'll be happy to know that Essentials also includes the mod Boss Pets (by Lone Wolf McQuade). Here you'll find a selection of pets you'll be happy to have fighting beside you, instead of just encountering them at the end of some dark dungeon. The King In Masks, War Titan, Wraith Lord, and even The Dark Alchemist are among the boss pets to choose from, and most are so big they don't even completely fit on the menu screen. And, if you're looking for more of a pal than a pet, Essentials also includes The Human Followers mod (by Kriss_gjeng). Leave the panda bear at home and bring along a person: you can choose from an Engineer, and Embermage, and Outlander, or a Berserker. They even have inventory slots for weapons and armor, so you can gear them up suitably.

While you're whomping and rolling through the game with a new pet, it'd be nice to have some new scenery to look at, wouldn't it? There's a few mods in the pack that will give the game some new visual flavor without standing out like a sore thumb. Blank's Landmarks (by Blank, himself a Runic Employee) adds some new "chunks" to the map to change up the view a bit. You'll also get a dose of the Extra Chunky mod (by modder Abe) which adds a few dozen new level chunks that randomly appear in dungeons, caves, and in the overworld. It's nice to have something new to gaze upon every now and then, and the additions fit in nicely with the game's original aesthetic.

Naturally, there are a whole host of new classes to choose from, probably too many to give individual props to, but here's just a smattering: There's The Dragoon , inspired by Final Fantasy, with a special chained-combo attack. There's the Dread Pirate , a salty sea dog who specializes in gunpowder weapons and one-handed blades. There's The Preacher , who comes with 30 new skills and a couple dozen custom items. There's even a World of Warcraft-style Paladin , with Retribution and Protection skill trees and a unique resource called Holy Power. That's just a few of about two-dozen additional classes packed into Essentials. That character selection screen just got a lot more interesting.

There's more! One included mod enhances the fishing experience for you by adding new pet transformations, making fish more valuable to sell, and of course, adding a whole bunch of new types fish to catch, along with some surprises. Nicely, another mod included in the pack adds fishing holes into most of the dungeons, so you'll be able to do more fishing in order to catch all those new fish (or just to take an occasional peaceful rest during your dungeon crawls).

There's still more! New vendors and NPCs, new items and potions, and new ways to stack and sort your haul are provided in still more mods contained in Essentials. Minimap improvements, new outfits, respec potions, better looking blood effects, even a mod that gives you a chance to remove the dynamite from TNT barrels before they explode... there's just a massive amount of content to be had. Before you start your next game of Torchlight II, you should take a peek at what you can add by using this mod.

Installation: It's just a one-click subscription here on the mod's Steam Workshop page , but if you want to pick and choose, Haknslash has listed and linked each individual mod on his page.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.