Thus began the war of the Titans, where the Gods waged war against the Titans for supremacy of the Earth. After a long struggle, all of the Titans were defeated but one, the Titan known as Typhon, who in their pride the Gods had chained beneath a mountain to punish him for all eternity. A great disturbance has swept the lands of man, causing monsters to attack and the dead to rise. It appears it will be up to you, the hero, to finish the work of the Gods, defeat Typhon, and bring balance to the world of man.
Titan Quest marks the first release for Iron Lore Studios, featuring Brian Sullivan, co-creator of the Age of Empires series. Could the creator of such a successful franchise have struck gold again? Read further to find out.
Titan Quest is, at its heart, an action-role playing game of the first degree. It also bears the distinction of being a point-and-click styled game, meaning that most of the gameplay is accomplished through the use of the mouse buttons, with a hotkey or two thrown in for good measure. I will not lie: Titan Quest is an extremely formulaic game to play, by which I mean it brings very little new to the genre. At its heart, the game is about killing hordes of monsters, going on retrieval quests and looting battlefields of gold and weapons that animals like wild boar are mysteriously carrying.
Perhaps the largest distinction in the gameplay of Titan Quest is with the character progression itself. You will find yourself faced with various choices in-game, whether you wish to be the Warrior/Defender, Conqueror, Assassin, or even some type of Warrior/Wizard combination, the choice is yours. This choice will only change the tactics you use in-game, not the presented quests or the storyline. As always, I played through this game as a Conqueror, finding myself drawn in by the hack-and-slash melee action.
As you gain levels in Titan Quest, you will have the opportunity to raise your basic attributes, as well as add points to the two professions you have chosen to follow. For instance, putting enough points into Warfare will give you the ability to summon ghostly heroes to join you in your battle, something that, when enough points have been added, will spell destruction for most groups of enemies and even for some of the game’s many boss monsters.
Titan Quest does away with game saves, instead using the Rebirth Fountains, which allow you to be teleported there upon death, with all of your weapons and gear intact. These fountains are spread fairly liberally throughout the world and are often found right before boss battles. No matter how powerful your hero, be prepared to die in this game and likely die fairly often, as it is easy to overestimate your own power when plied against a mob of monsters.
"No matter how powerful your hero, be prepared to die in this game and likely die fairly often..."
It took me right around 30 hours of gameplay to beat Titan Quest, and that includes doing every side quest and uncovering every portion of the rather large game world. The story will take you from Greece, to Egypt, to the Great Wall of China and eventually to Olympus itself, assaulting you with hordes of monsters at every turn. Throughout the world you will find various caves, temples and crypts to explore, many having nothing to do with the side quests or main quests of the game.
I will admit this is an undeniably beautiful game at times, featuring amazing level backgrounds, spell effects, and monster/character models. The first time you encounter the massive Cyclops and start getting chased, you will see what I mean. Still, why go to such high level of graphical detail and then not include footprints in the sand?
Having enjoyed Diablo 1 and 2, Divine Divinity/Beyond Divinity, Sacred, Nox and Bard’s Tale, I certainly found enough in Titan Quest to stay entertained, however having said that, I must discuss this game’s faults.
"I certainly found enough in Titan Quest to stay entertained..."
For starters, this game is nearly identical to each of the games I previously mentioned above. Just as in those games, here you will find yourself clicking the mouse button repeatedly, chugging potions and continually looting the battlefield for stronger weapons and armor so that you can face stronger enemies in similar settings under similar circumstances. Much like the First Person Shooter genre, the Action/RPG has become undeniably clichéd, as games build upon themselves without really adding much to the genre as a whole.
While there is some variety in terms of what types of monsters you face, they all seem to be the same types after a while. Tired of killing wild boars in Greece? Just wait a bit, and you will instead be killing wild Hyenas in Egypt. Tired of killing Satyrs in nearly every realm of this game? Well, just play a bit farther, and you will see Tigermen and Lizardmen that are nearly identical in their attacks and tactics. While I certainly enjoy variety in the monsters I face in this type of game, when they are just different models for essentially the same mobs of monsters, what becomes the point of the variety?
The beautiful gameplay world is also littered with dozens of nearly identical caves and dungeon-styled environments, which, given the size of this world, means that you too will eventually get tired of seeing these points of interest on the world map. Still, for those less desirous of exploring every inch of the game, the world map feature will essentially show you all points of interest, making it easy to discern how to finish the assigned quests.
My final point of contention is one from which many games aside from Titan Quest suffer: the lack of a real ending. For a game that features a beautifully rendered introduction movie with a solid narration of the plot and world you are entering, the ending literally was no better than a little bit of text and voice acting, followed by the game’s credits. You are rewarded with the unlocking of a difficulty setting, but after over 30 hours of repetitive hacking and slashing, I fear my mouse finger may be permanently damaged.
"I fear my mouse finger may be permanently damaged."
Overall, Titan Quest is a fun, action-filled hack-and-slash marathon that will keep those who like this style of game playing through the end. While they did include some multiplayer functionality, it is still entirely too early to see how the create-your-own-world functionality will pan out. Still, playing the single player campaign online is certainly one way to ensure you get to experiment with the other character types. While somewhat of a bear in terms of system requirements, I was able to play the game with most of the graphical options turned up making for a very beautiful and occasionally relaxing experience. Boasting over 30 hours of play time, multiple difficulty levels and an online component, Titan Quest offers enough gameplay content to make it worth a look.
+ Long and challenging single-player campaign
+ Beautifully designed world
- Slightly repetitive and fairly formulaic for the genre
- Requires a strong PC