Posted – 7.24.2008
Blizzard’s Diablo brought Monty Haul monster slaying and a storyline that didn’t put you to sleep to PC players around the world both off and online with a deft blend of RPG action elements that many have tried to emulate since then. Its sequel, Diablo II, would raise the ante for players hungering for the kind of roguelike gameplay honed into an addicting loot party of epic proportions. Other titles since then have grasped at the gameplay crown that the series continues to glare down at the competition with, only to be somewhat unfairly held to the undying standard that it has created.
Before Iron Lore had departed for parts unknown, they had thrown their own sword into this arena with Titan’s Quest, a Hellenistic epic inspired by the tales of Greek gods and legendary locales. In it, the nameless hero was tasked in following one quest after another in a race to find and defeat the servants of evil before they can free Kronos, the last of the Titans and the slayer of gods.
If you’ve played Diablo, much of Titan Quest will seem familiar to you. The whole game is played from an isometric, top down view with a zoomable camera and combat basically consists of clicking on enemies and holding the mouse button down until they’re dead. Packs of beasts inspired by Greek mythology litter the land, ranging from simple satyrs to gigantic cyclops. The ancient world of Titan’s Quest is filled with plenty of color and visual effects that dress up many of the ruins, tombs, blasted battlefields, and deep caverns that stand in your way and it’s aged pretty well so far. The soundtrack is also as varied with plenty of epic tunes to accompany you on your quest through Greece, Egypt, and even as far as the mysterious Far East. Plenty of sound effects also accompany the action as your weapons bite into foes and you unleash terrible magicks on unsuspecting wild life.
Iron Lore has allowed the player to start off with one class with its unique skill set but allows you to dual class to another one after hitting a certain level. In addition to leveling up and earning points you can use on your basic strength, intelligence, and dexterity statistics, you will also earn points that you can use to improve your class-based skills which will allow you to perform mighty feats monster mashing fury or strengthen your character in other ways such as allowing them to reflect some of the damage they receive. If you don’t like how your skills are working out, you can always pay to have points removed and then reassign them to the ones you want in the game, although class changes are permanent. The combination of these skills, which can be hot keyed, and the basic combat in the game help to create a fairly addicting hack ‘n slash experience.
Death isn’t much to worry about aside from the very slight experience hit as you’ll resurrect at the nearest Rebirth Fountain which act as checkpoints throughout the vast areas. Getting around is easy with the portal stone that you have handy, allowing you to revisit major towns and cities to parlay your goods into more useful stuff, like money and relics. If anything, Titan’s Quest wants you to keep playing by making death as trivial (and in keeping count of how many times you’ve met the reaper) along with making your travel arrangements to previous areas easy to manage.
But it’s the loot that many Diablo veterans will be looking for and the vanilla version of the game has plenty of it to throw at you. Gold, potions, rare relics, and set pieces that when combined grant you mighty bonuses. You can even find relics that you can piece together and add to your gear in order to infuse them with some degree of power. With the Immortal Throne expansion, you can also construct artifacts from recipes that you can discover, sometimes combining those in order to create truly divine tools that you can use to devastate your foes with. The driving incentive to see just what the next monster might drop will likely keep die-hard adventurers plowing through each battle as there’s a lot to take in.
Stores are available in the major cities of the game allowing you to sell your blood stained trinkets, buy new equipment which is basically useless compared to what you’ll find in your adventures, or load up on potions aplenty to help wash your wounds away. The Immortal Throne expansion adds in a storage caravan for your goods allowing you to share them in between characters or to keep extra items for later use in case you haven’t reached a high enough level for them. It also adds an Enchanter who will help craft those powerful artifacts that you might have found the ingredients for. You can even purchase extra inventory space for your character to load them up with even more goods.
After saving the world in the original campaign, the “Immortal Throne” expansion extends the quest past into a whole new region packed with even more monsters, twists, and juicy swag along with a new class to play with. After completing the game on Normal mode, Epic opens up and after that, Legendary mode for those that hunger for a real challenge. The game can also be played online in a LAN setting or on the internet making it a fun distraction between friends that want to get their sandals dirty.
Titan’s Quest is a lot of fun, but much of the advancement game can also feel extremely boring to plow through especially when you have a character that is fairly well equipped with rare items and powerful skills leaving only the loot to keep things somewhat exciting. The game also occasionally suffers from a stuttering slow down where the action might seem to freeze only to suddenly fast forward a few seconds ahead, sometimes leaving your character in deep trouble. Otherwise, however, it was a fairly bug-free experience.
Titan Quest, especially with its expansion, isn’t a bad game and for those of us waiting for Diablo III, it’s one of the better titles out there that can help ease the pain of waiting. With legions of monsters to lay down at your feet and a continent’s wealth of plunder to collect, Iron Lore’s magnum opus is a fairly decent adventure through the wild hinterlands of myth and legend, where one bold adventurer is called upon to save the world once again with a trusty skill tree in one hand and a spacious backpack in the other.
– World 1-1