For me, the thing about a game like Torchlight 2 is that when I’m playing it I’m never entirely paying attention. Or rather I’m never giving it my entire attention. This is not a slight. If anything, I love the effect this has, because it means that when I replay it after a long absence, phrases return to me like fragments of some dream I can only half remember. The Temple Steppes. The Path of the Honored Dead. These things, I can just about get the tips of my fingers on them when I root through my life for their origin. Maybe they muddle around inside my head all the time when I’m not playing, almost breaking the surface, almost announcing themselves.
Torchlight 2 has landed on Switch. I’m playing it at the moment and it is wonderful. It’s a wonderful port I think, the colours slightly more lurid and headachey than I remember them being on PC, while attacks and skills and potions and scrolls are mapped very neatly to face and shoulder buttons and can be reassigned in a few seconds of menu time. A game like Torchlight 2 requires flexibility on consoles. While you can’t do the pleasing Skills Glissando that is such a part of the old ARPG appeal on PC, you can do an equivalent here on Switch, a sort of frantic squeeze of all fingers, jabbing all buttons, when you need all the fireworks to go off at once. It’s still magical. It runs beautifully so far – and I’ve had a lot of monsters on screen at once already – and while the music occasionally hangs when loading a new area, well, what can I say? I’m never giving it my entire attention anyway.
For me, these are games about letting your hands do the talking. I remember reading something to the effect that birds of prey and other predators often have neural links between their eyes and their claws that bypass the rest of the brain. Have I got that right? They can attack without the need to think about it and slow themselves down. Man, birds of prey would be excellent at games like Torchlight 2 – if someone could handle the remapping job. I love to just chug along, occasionally sitting up and changing my in-game hat or sending my in-game llama back to town to sell stuff, otherwise bash bash bash and level level level.