Review: Titan Quest – Attempting to Release the Kraken

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Titan Quest is an isometric dungeon-crawling RPG previously released exclusively for PC. The console version was launched by THQ Nordic on March 20, 2018, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 


Pros:
+Endless possibilities for ability combinations.
+Sound designs are absolutely astonishing, delivering an authentic experience
+Best experienced with friends.

Cons:
-Extremely clunky UI.
-Design problems regarding combat and pacing need heavily redesigned.
-Progression is slow and extremely drawn out.


It seems that with time, good things eventually happen, and given more time, even better things tend to happen. Since THQ Nordic became a big player in video game publishing, it seems they are no stranger to seeing potential in classic games and even more potential in letting non-PC gamers have a chance to experience said classic games.

Among these many classic games comes a title that seems like an off-the-wall love poem to all things ancient Greek and Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo franchise. With a rather lengthy gap between Diablo II and Diablo III (15 or so years, right?) it seems that game’s of that genre had finally had a chance to flourish. Titan Quest did quite well for itself, receiving an Anniversary Edition, which would eventually receive two well-rated expansions before inevitably finding its way to home consoles.

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But now, we have a rather vast sea of modern titles and a gaming industry that has all-but-forgotten about those loot-grind filled titles that sent players diving into dank caverns and musty castle halls, or a temple or two filled with skeleton’s and liches that are ready to tear flesh from bone. With the remastered version of Titan Quest attempting to stake its claim among many other titles of the genre, it’s almost hard to estimate just how well this game will do.

Just in classic dungeon-crawling RPG faction, Titan Quest is set against a rather familiar tried and true formula of Greek tales. Oddly enough, Ben Schneider, one of the game’s lead designers, wasn’t shy about setting up the game within a world where a new generation of threats has arisen, toppling the old guard in enough ways to keep a rather familiar story alive. The world feels organic, natural in every aspect, even to the point that talking with NPCs in Greece is completely optional and won’t be forced down your throat (here’s looking at you Sacred).

The only downside to this game? What feels like it should be a ten-to-twenty-hour affair is actually closer to forty-to-fifty hours in duration. Of course, what is a Greek mythology-based game without, you know, a few Greek figures you’ve met in the God of War series?
The rest concerns your everyday hero and an over-the-top plot about Titans and a bunch of other Greek figures that you’ve probably met in the God of War games.

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In Diablo and Sacred like fashion, you’ll visit a few different lands, fight your way through hordes of creatures, mythological for Titan Quest, and even notice that something is a little off about Titan Quest. No matter where you go, the locations will look all too familiar, each of them only having minor varied differences from one another, which is an underlying problem with the game. There’s little change in scenery, which does not help the fact that Titan Quest becomes a rather complicated affair for console users.

Toss in rather slow and overly tedious controls to the game, along with enemies who often feel almost too powerful for you to engage in combat against, and things just seem to steadily decline at a rather steady pace. If one were to put Diablo III and Titan Quest side by side for a comparison, there are a few major differences, each of them possible in their own right.

One is the fact that Titan Quest is inconsistent in what it wants to be. On one hand, you have a game that wants to be a title that wants you to slay hordes of monsters at a rapid pace. On the other hand, you also have a game that can’t do this, not until much later in the game, which ultimately leads to player deaths and frustration. But the reason why may be a bit more eluding and to some, overwhelming, at first. This is mostly due to the fact that the game’s bit of originality isn’t in its entertainment values, but rather, its unique class system, which will see to players earning skill points as they level up.

These skill points can then be used to level up skills across various talent trees, each varied in what they have to offer and what their play styles actually are. Some vary as a caster, which enables players to cross-build however they please. Want to be a caster like myself? Great. You can go into talent trees such as Dream where players can control their enemies, weakening them by slowing them or putting them in a daze. Want to control the raging elements of the planet? Then Earth is right up your alley, allowing you to devastate your enemies with the firey wrath of the Titans themselves.

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Sadly, this also means another disappointing bit of news. You’ll have to wait till rather late in the game before you really see your unique build come to life. Early on, the first 15 or so hours, the classes don’t show much difference between one another. They all feel the same early in and show little variation from one another. But that still doesn’t help cover up other design flaws that have begun to plague the game. Grand battles would have been an epic feat in their own right, but ultimately, combat is plagued by more than just having limited access to early talents early on.

Even at higher levels, you won’t find yourself beating your way through hordes of enemies in a Diablo-like fashion. Instead, it’s slow, combat is dull, and targeting your foes isn’t easy by any means. Instead, targets are automatically selected, requiring players to take their time beating on a designated creature that is near by unless they hold down square in order to highlight a cone-shaped area. After that, your first targeted selected will the one closest to you. The downside here is evident. It’s not nearly as friendly as games such as Livelock and Diablo III.

Unfortunately, while all that seems to be buttery smooth gameplay isn’t there. At the time, sure, this game worked rather well, but now, it just doesn’t. Your character is stuck in a single spot swinging away, hoping to hit something relevant before finding themselves beaten to a bloody pulp. It’s all about smashing attack and using your D-Pad to navigate your spells and abilities. But things do change a little bit when it comes to boss fights. It’s no longer a button-mashing affair. Bosses are brutal and they hit harder than entire crowds of enemies.

Titan Quest – PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Developer(s): Iron Lore Entertainment, Demiurge Studios
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $29.99

Some of them will require you to move about, dodging their powerful swings and spells before taking a few swings of your own. Sadly, there’s little to no strategy to the game outside of building your skills up as you play. Just like DiabloSacred, and Livelock, all of your rewards come in the fashion of high-level loot that bosses will drop, no matter how many times you decide to farm them. But this isn’t the only problem with the game. While the PC version is definitely something I’ve enjoyed for many years, I still have minor complaints about it, but this PC version has many more problems weighing it down.

One such issue comes from the rather overwhelming amount of text that will be thrown at the player. Toss in the fact the UI is overwhelming on its own, and it becomes rather clear on why titles like Sacred and Diablo III took so long to make their way to home consoles. Titan Quest just doesn’t work at this time. It’s too clunky, it feels like an after thought and is ultimately dragged down by confusing design decisions for a PC version of a well-respected title.

If given enough time, the developers could possibly fix every problem this game happens, but it may not be possible without overhauling their control scheme and pacing of the game.


Our review is based on a retail version that was provided to us by the game’s publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


Final Score: 5 out of 10


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPGs, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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