Titan Quest Review
Titan Quest is an action RPG that draws its inspirations and traditions from the classic Diablo. That is comparison that I can promise you will follow you around wherever you look for information on Titan Quest, with an oh-so-similar click-and-slash style, with beautiful visuals covering up the variables and numbers that are the underlying mechanic of any RPG of this kind all very reminiscent of Diablo.
Set in a world populated with mythical figures from throughout history, you are thrown in as many RPGs do, asking you to create a character that of course will be a low level. Your task from there on in is simply to level up and defeat legendary monsters from a similar mythos. The game boasts a script by the writer of Braveheart, but strangely despite this the plot is surprisingly simplistic and shallow.
Ultimately, the game boils down to an extremely simple idea - killing bad guys. The main quest follows this linear path, with most NPCs simply asking you to go and kill something, and sidequests and subplots only follow the same guidelines. This leaves the game feeling rather linear in a sense, making the vast, expansive world feel slightly wasted on the simple plot.
Despite a clearly fantasy setting, Titan Quest has a very realistic feel to it, mainly thanks to the stunning visuals. It's a form of super-realism that brings the entire world of Titan Quest to life. When above ground and not down in the depths of a dungeon, the game looks stunning - natural looking lighting, beautiful textures, and overall visuals that really show off the game's brilliantly high production values.
The dazzling visuals may leave gamers with computers with the minimum requirements experiencing a lot of ugly showdown. Hopefully, some of the issues with slowdown and crashing will be fixed with future patches, though from my experience the problems are certainly not bad enough to be game-breaking.
In a true RPG style, the game features an incredibly large array of enemies, and naturally weapons and equipment to slay them with. While the inventory management certainly isn't as easy and simple to use as Oblivion's, it feels rather old-fashioned in style and presentation. The inventory is rather small, however, so you will have to keep a close eye on how many items you hold on to at once.
Built-in to the game is an item modification system. It is a well built system, allowing the player to pick things from killed monsters for use in the creation of items. Each of the three nations - Greece, Egypt and the Orient have their own unique upgrades. A satisfying addition to the game, the item modification certainly adds a whole new spin to the game and indeed genre, allowing you to customize your hero and his equipment further than many other titles allow.
Likewise, the game features a huge amount of abilities for your hero to learn. While they are not customizable like items, there is a surprisingly large skill tree for you to work your way up, with the various abilities fairly equally split between melee fighting and magic usage, allowing you to play using whichever form you prefer.
The skills system is impressive in that it is open-ended. Thanks to the fact you can ignore lower-level skills entirely, you can ensure your character is stocked up with power in all the right places, ensuring your character is built the way you want to build him, not ending up pigeonholed as good at magic or good at melee.
The controls are simple and very much the norm for an Action RPG on the PC. You'll find yourself left clicking on enemies in order to vanquish them, and when on breaks from the killing you'll be using that same mouse button to chat with NPCs, who usually serve to send you off on another mission to kill something else.
Naturally, it's a great deal of fun to hack through dungeons, massacring entire legions of the forces of evil, but it's a shame that there's only really one button you can do the killing with. Once again, this is reminiscent of Diablo, and, while not a very deep control scheme or gameplay design, is extremely addictive, engrossing, and, most importantly, fun. Some factors of the gameplay, like the enemy AI, do become tedious, with most enemies using the same simple tactic (Rush him!!) to attempt to take you down.
The soundtrack of the title is nothing particularly special to shout about. As an RPG Site, we're treated to the wondrous compositions of Nobuo Uematsu and Koji Kondo, and in comparison, the accompanying music in Titan Quest is decidedly mediocre.
Sound effects and other ambient sounds are of a high production value, and generally everything that comes from your speakers while playing Titan Quest matches up to the high production values that can be found throughout the rest of the game.
Titan Quest also features a multiplayer mode that, while not as wholesome as the single player, is certainly quite good fun. You can take your custom-built warrior online for co-operative play to battle through the main adventure mode with a friend. Multiplayer truly encourages the creation of diverse characters, and while it's strictly nothing new that hasn't been done before in other titles, the multiplayer is definitely a worthwhile addition to the title, and definitely worth checking out.
In addition, there's robust modding support for the title. While right now, at launch, there's not much in the way of modifications for the game, this opens the door for new elements to be added to the game, giving it extra replay value. The tools are supplied with the game, and they're extremely easy to use from the short testing I did. It will be most interesting to see just how many mods emerge for this title in the future.
Titan Quest is really an enjoyable if simple hack-n-slash title that really is stuff we've all seen before. It's high production values, beautiful graphics and plain out fun gameplay makes it worth playing, but I cannot help but think a game released in 2006 needs a bit more than just slicing through enemies to make it fun - something the Dynasty Warriors series also needs to address.
While the vast, open landscapes of the overworld make the game seem deeper than it is, when down in dungeons, you truly begin to see the game as what it is: a room-by-room slaughter-fest. The title is, in many ways, a newer, more polished, more impressive version of an older title, and that's what makes it worthwhile.
If you loved Diablo, I can't help but recommend this. It feels like an old friend coming home - sure, it might not be anything new, but it sure makes me feel fuzzy inside.