I know, I know that Torchlight 2 have been out for quite some time but I was still playing Diablo 3 when it first comes out. Now that I've gotten sick and tired of Diablo 3 and have at last noticed its many flaws I started playing Torchlight 2.
After just a few hours of gameplay I noticed one thing that I didn't feel on my last few weeks of Diablo 3. I had fun while playing the game! Surprising? not really. Simply put, Diablo 3 is not fun after the first playthrough. I was only interested in the story(which is actually not that great) and felt bored of the item grind. Don't get me wrong, I like the item treadmill in hack and slash games. heck, I loved Diablo 2 very much, but Diablo 3 is just a big fail in this part.
And Diablo 3's failure is Torchlight 2's biggest strength. Even on my first hour of gameplay, I already found 3 unique items and 4 set items, 2 of which are from the same set. I felt excited to play more and discover other epic loots. The game never felt boring and the large amount of skills and passives made the game all the more interesting than the simplified bullshit of Diablo 3's rune system. The point is, the game made me felt that I achieved something every time I played, unlike Diablo 3 where you felt no achievement on higher level because loots are rubbish and let's face it Paragon Levels are just bullshit.
Speaking of set items, I like the way they are in Diablo 2 and Torchlight 2 delivers the same experience, while Diablo 3 went the "exclusive" route of making set items lvl 60 only and even then it's very hard to get. This made the whole loot grind experience less enjoyable because you'll never find unusual items and in a hack and slash RPG like Diablo 3? that's a bad thing.
Graphically, Torchlight 2 looks beautiful. It doesn't go the realistic route like Diablo 3 but instead went on a more cartoonish stylized route of WoW. The design looks good and the environment looks astounding. Animation is fluid and the skill effects are also great.
Areas in Torchlight 2 are randomly generated as in the original Torchlight and also in the original Diablo and Diablo 2. Unlike in Diablo 3, where the area basically has the same shape all over again with only points of interests randomly placed(which is lame) Torchlight 2 actually generates something new every time you play. This in turn reduces the amount of boredom you get from running through the same area again and again(when playing with new toons).
Torchlight 2 have four classes which are different from each other and can be build differently depending on the skills you take and stats you allocate. Each class can fill different roles, which is a very big plus. Embermages can be built as tanks, Engineers as DPS and plenty of other variations. This gives a big replayability to the game. Sadly, you can't do stat or skill re-spec, making it a bit tedious when trying out different builds. The skill re-spec system only works on the last 3 skill points which makes me wonder why they even bothered with a skill re-spec system.
Boss fights in Torchlight 2 felt a bit harder than the first game, which is a good thing. Boss fights in Torchlight might not be as hard as in Diablo III but are still challenging on higher difficulties and they also have different special attacks.
A useful feature available in Torchlight 2(and the original Torchlight) is the pet system. Taken from the hack and slash game Fate, pets in Torchlight aren't only useful for attacking the enemy but also as a pack mule and could even be used to sell and buy some items to and from town. It could also pick up items if you don't feel like walking. You can change your pet into other kinds of creature by feeding it with different kinds of food. This useful feature however are nowhere to be seen in Diablo 3. Maybe Blizzard doesn't want to borrow features from other games.
So, if someone were to ask me which game will I choose: Torchlight 2 or Diablo 3. The answer would be pretty clear to me, Torchlight 2 would win. Torchlight 2 focuses on what makes hack & slash games fun to play which is fast paced combat with epic loots where players can feel a sense of achievement every time they play. This is nonexstant in Diablo 3 which focuses too much on real money auction house. I suppose that's what you get when you get too commercialized. It ceases to be a game and starts being a chore.
Note: Torchlight 2 PvP will be implemented shortly, while Diablo 3 PvP is still nowhere to be seen. Thumbs up for Runic. :)