Developer: Runic Games
Release Date: September 20, 2012
There's no better David and Goliath story than Runic Games versus Activision Blizzard. Going up against such a monolith and competing with one of their most prolific franchises is the very definition of the indie spirit. Allowing innovation, creativity, and sheer talent to rise above the marketing hyperbole and incredible resources behind Diablo III is exactly what Runic did making Torchlight II.
In almost every category, Torchlight II either matches or bests Diablo III making it (in some eyes at least) a superior game for significantly cheaper. Offering fans the ability to mod and customize their experience and the lack of restrictive DRM sets this indie dungeon crawler ahead of its bigger brother.
It takes a lot of balls to pull off what Runic did and their efforts have been validated by the sheer addictiveness of their product. The multiplayer additions and expansiveness of the campaign enhance what was already great about Torchlight and the innovations they pioneered for the genre deserve to become mainstay for generations to come.