1. Graphics - Torchlight 2 wins hands down. There's actual color in this game and I don't feel like I'm peering through a pool of sewer water all the time. Zoom is smooth and continuous instead of Diablo 3's toggle of "playable" and "too damn close to use". Despite a slightly cartoonish style Torchlight 2 can still convey menace and gloom. Oh and on top of graphics they have Matt Uelmen working on music. Some might find the music too Diablo II, but I love it.
|Gloomy side-quest cavern|
2. Pets - Sure Diablo 3 had companions, but Torchlight has pets, and they're actually useful. Not only do they fight at your side, but they run to town and sell your loot for you. Diablo 3 companions... drone on about being Templars and such.
3. Fishing - I admit I'm a sucker for crafty / non-combat stuff in games. Torchlight 2 fishing is quick and easy, and offers useful rewards (like tags for your pets to wear and fish to feed them).
4. Big Levels - Like really big. Outdoor levels in Diablo 3 were very linear, while Torchlight's go all over the place. Plus there are side quests, including some less obvious stuff like a hard to spot lantern that summons a fisherman's ghost that opens an entire mini-dungeon. A mini-dungeon that's larger than many Diablo 3 levels in and of itself.
5. Level Design - I've only explored a few areas so far, but levels are very solid. Within a single level there are multiple elevations, so failing to clear those archer skeletons from the balcony before descending the stairs can be a terrible mistake.
To wrap it up, I'm excited by this game. I was very excited to see Diablo 3 before I actually got to play it. Torchlight 2 looks like it may be what D3 was supposed to be. I still have more playing ahead before I make a final call. Stay tuned.
Edit: A longer review is now available.