I've been a big fan of Torchlight since it first came out. My wife loves it too! I consider it a really good "modern" version of Angband with some extra perks, given the quests, UI, graphics, and overall fun. Needless to say, I was tickled pink when a special beta release for Torchlight 2 came out this weekend, and my wife and I received access keys to try it out!
My wife and I paced and fidgeted impatiently for the 700MB download (after the kids have gone to bed 8^D) and then built our characters. One of the really nice things about Torchlight, if you're not heavily into the RPG scene) is that they give you simple classes to choose from. They've expanded this to 4 types in the new game, and it covers all the bases for your likes. We went a little differently this time. Instead of the engineer/paladin type role I'm used to playing, I went with the Outlander, a character that likes to use ranged weapon guns, with a little bit of magic. I'm enjoying this new ranged attack plan, and I've had to work on my shoot and move skills along the way. My wife, typically using the hack and slash berserker, went with the Engineer route, and has been fun bringing robots to the fight that both heal and attack. She also packs a pretty wicked war blade at the moment. We were happy to see that we have new pets that help us along the way, and something about a ferret attacking people sounds funny to me, so I adopted one.
After character creation we setup our own game in wait for it.... Co-Op mode!!!!! Yes, probably the BIGGEST and best thing we like is the fact that we can work on the quest together, as opposed to having two separate quests and simply comparing stats. Plus our two characters seem to pair well together in battles, which adds to the fun. Even if the game was exactly the same as the original, we'd purchase it just for the Co-Op option. Within the game, you can trade items (so we can pass on the really cool weapons we can't use) and we can talk to each other (publicly or privately) and things run really smooth. One very smart thing Torchlight 2 does is it gives each person their own set of "loot" for opening chests or killing monsters. I think part of this is due to the randomization process that goes into the loot and monsters that show up in the game, and part of this just makes things easier. You don't have to worry about not picking up something, just grab your stash and move on, everybody will get their due.
Outside of the co-op, the whole game experience has just been enhanced. The easy to play style of the original game is continued in Torchlight 2. There have been enhancements to how the weapon/equipping process works. You can have two "weapon sets" (say one with close range and one for distance) and easily swap between the two. Armor will auto-equip to you if you aren't wearing something of that type (say a belt) which is handy early on when your character is weaker and may not thing to put on those leather boots in the heat of battle you just acquired. While I haven't worked with it too much, I do find the interaction with your spells and other magical items to be easier in Torchlight 2. I can easily select two of my primary spells or magical items to wield, and then hot swap them with the tab key. I can even change out my primary attack to be a spell, if I so desire.
I'll admit that I haven't put as much time into the game as others have, but so far I don't have any dislikes about the game. There are a few graphics glitches, and at one point my wife somehow was disconnected from our game, even though she was still in the same pit as me, but a simple log out/log in put her right back into the action. This is also a beta, where bad things are known to happen, but we haven't experienced any of major significance. That is a big heads up in my book, especially when they were anticipating a heavy load on things for this beta.
There are few adventure/RPG type games nowadays that have great playability and customization without the need to devote half your life to play it, but Torchlight was one of those games and Torchlight 2 will be one of those games. We played for a couple of hours on Saturday and about 4 hours on Sunday and were able to shut things off and go to bed and be able to pick up right where we left off. We had an immensely fun time doing it (especially teaming up together!!!!) and we're already starting to save up our pennies to get a couple copies when it's released.
There is still a little bit of beta time left (until 11 AM PST on Tuesday) so if you want to try you luck, head over to the beta signup and see if you can still get in. It'll be worth your time.
Thanks Runic Games! You did amazing!