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The original “Torchlight” was a shining beacon in a sea of dungeon crawlers for those looking for a suitable “Diablo” replacement. It provided an alternative to the deeper, darker recesses of Blizzard’s triumphant cult classic while still serving up the same addictive looting and monster-crushing goodness we quickly became used to with the various dungeons and catacombs of yesteryear.

But now it’s 2012, and “Diablo III” has actually seen the light of day – there’s fierce competition to deal with in the form of “Torchlight II,” the excellent follow-up to Runic Games’ fantastic loot-collecting simulator. It’s packing oodles of content, goodies and an addictive campaign to top it all off. It acts as the perfect complement to “Diablo III’s” missteps and more brooding nature, what with “Torchlight’s” rich, colorful world and multitude of much cheerier mission objectives. If you need a dungeon crawler and have already rendezvoused with “Diablo III,” you owe it to yourself to pick up this impressive budget-priced feat of a game.

It’s not flawless, but it makes great strides toward becoming the perfect go-to clickfest hungry fans have been clamoring for. There’s a plethora of enemies to challenge. Enormous roaches, rats, bugs, you name it – there’s a different creepy-crawly for all types of fears players bring to the game.

<INLINENOTE>Original classes have been revamped considerably and the skill tree has been altered as swell, but not entirely for the better, unfortunately. It’s not exactly a boon to players who often change their minds when it comes to changing the way their characters grow and evolve. You can respec the last points assigned to a particular skill path up to three, but anything before that is left to stay where it is. In this, experimenting with growth paths can be extremely damaging. It’s prudent to respec only when necessary with this new system, so mistakes such as bad point spending decisions can’t return to haunt you.

This extends to unfortunate situations when it comes to picking up gear. If you play down a certain development path and switch gears nearly a third through the game, the equipment is relatively useless. You’ll have to search for something else more viable that you can still use. Neither issue is game-breaking, but both are unfortunate pitfalls on the way to what could have been an even more spectacular experience.</INLINENOTE>Runic Games knocked it out of the park with the original “Torchlight,” and impressively, for a small studio with limited resources has created something almost as colossal and engaging as its previous endeavor for less than half the price.