New Releases for the Week of September 16th, 2012: Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, Alea Jacta Est: Roman Civil Wars

by johndrewmarkley on September 19, 2012

Torchlight II (PC) Sequel to Torchlight, the dungeon crawler action RPG released by Runic Games in 2009. The basic formula for Torchlight II is the same as the original: explore and fight through dungeons, leveling up and customizing your character, finding weapons and armor and treasure, and so forth. Like the original, Torchlight II is designed to be extremely mod-friendly, allowing players to tweak things character and monster stats, edit quests, and make other changes to alter the experience of the game or create new adventures.

The sequel will have a number of additions and improvements over the original. There are now four playable classes instead of three, and there is considerably more customization for characters allowing you to choose your sex and appearance. Torchlight II also adds cooperative online multiplayer to the mix, along with a longer campaign and a more expansive world.

The first Torchlight was enormously fun and highly recommended if you like that sort of thing, so I have high hopes for Torchlight II.

Borderlands 2 (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) another sequel to a game from 2009, the science fiction first-person shooter Borderlands. Like the original, it combines shooter gameplay with quests and character development mechanics more characteristic of RPGs. Like the original, this game will also have online co-op play for up to four players. The original received enthusiastic response from both reviewers and the gaming public, and critical reception to Borderlands 2 thus far has been even more positive, so if you like the original this should be worth your while.

Alea Jacta Est: Roman Civil Wars (PC) Turn-based military strategy game set in classical Rome that lets players play out scenarios from- spoiler alert- the Roman civil wars, featuring five campaigns with starting dates spanning the era from 87 BC to 200 AD. These feature events such as the civil wars between Sulla and Marius in the waning days of the Roman Republic, the struggle between Julius Caesar and Pompey that brought the end of the Republic and the rise of imperial rule, and the chaotic period of 68-69 AD that saw four different emperors on the throne in the space of a year. (There’s a joke I could make about modern Italian politics here, but I’ll restrain myself.)

Each scenario as a number of different playable factions, with their own leaders, each with their own distinct traits and skills, and victory conditions. In addition to single-player, the game can support up to eight simultaneous players in online mode, with every side’s orders executing simultaneously each turn so that you’re not sitting around doing nothing every turn while you wait for the other players to go one at a time. There’s also a play by e-mail option.

Like a lot of historical strategy, this is probably the kind of thing that splits most people between those who find it absolutely fascinating and those who find the appeal incomprehensible. I’m definitely in the former group, so I’m interested in seeing how this turns out.

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