Titan Quest is out now for PS4, and this is the second time I’m writing a review for this game, since I did so prviously for the PC version, back in 2006 when it was first released. However, the site I wrote it for didn’t put my name on the review once published….. go figure!!
(DVDfever Dom: Sounds like the kind of useless berks they have at clickbait crap What Culture)
So we all remember those classic movies like Clash of the Titans (the original, not remake from 2010), Sinbad (quite a few adventures) and Jason and the Argonauts, etc from the 60s, all classics to this day. I remember watching them in school in my Classical Studies class mid ’80s!
So take the setting from those movies based around Greek mythology, and add a good dose of Diablo 1 & 2, Nox and Dungeon Siege, to name a few games that came out prior to this, give it a good shake, simmer for a while and you end up with Titan Quest. Essentially, there is nothing new here in terms of gameplay, if you had played the earlier titles named previously on PC.
The Titans are loose and causing havoc in Greece. Initially, you have to set off on a journey to take them down. You will be working your way through lands full of monsters and occasional boss fights, acquiring loot and completing quests. The landscape has been created as if a wide-type corridor, each section being self contained and covered by a fog when looking at the map, and you can explore to see what is about, with it occasionally uncovering a roaming boss or a cave which will be filled with monsters and loot. It also removes the fog from the map. Regardless of exploration, you move from area to area, taking out mobs of enemies and coming across small towns which will have merchants for offloading useless loot, and a new town portal making it easier to get around.
The landscape is varied enough, and I have to say the visuals stand up well today; Grass sways and is manipulated if you walk through it, the fire at the olive grove with the smoke looks great, and the attention to detail in the larger towns and cities is really nice, not forgetting the physics used when felling enemies; They crumple into a heap in different ways when slain.
Gameplay feels dated, even to me who has spent hours on the original and on other similar games. I did also play through Titan Quest again when it was re-released as the Anniversary Edition, which includes The Immortal Throne expansion. The Anniversary Edition has numerous bug fixes, which the new owners have sorted out that the original developers didn’t get a chance to, as they were closed down. Character creation is basic: select either male or female and then your tunic colour and away you go; Nothing else to see or do. You cannot even select a skill level. Uou have to play on normal, and each level above is unlocked on completion of the prior. If you are achievement-hunting, you will be in for a very long gaming session, if you are wanting those tagged with Legendary!
Starting out, you have your basic attack, and once you hit your first level you select a skill tree. There are plenty to choose from which will suit all play styles (going from ranged with pets, melee and numerous magic types). I decided to go for spirit, as you can get a Lich King summon early in the tree, and that summon does a fair whack of damage alongside yourself. After reaching around level 8, you can also unlock a second skill tree. Again, choose something that suits your play style, so I went with Warfare. I ended up being a warrior that can summon an undead king to fight for me, but still do plenty damage up close and personal.
The transition from PC mouse and keyboard control is a bit hit and miss. This is one of the things that lets the game down. If you keep hold of the attack button, your character will jump from enemy to enemy automatically. Now the thing here, is that the game targets the enemies for you. At times, you will run past a larger, harder-hitting enemy to pursue another creature who could run away into another mob, so you end up getting surrounded, and end up getting killed, which can be quite annoying at times. Control similar to Victor Vran or Diablo 3 should have been implemented, here.
Another thing is that the skill bar is now done on a rotational wheel in the bottom-left. You assign unlocked skills on the four main points of a compass, and then fill in the angled points. It works, but it is a bit cumbersome. Once you ki -ll off mobs of enemies, you can end up with loot all over the ground. I found out after hours of play that you can hold the X Button and it brings up a block on-screen showing everything in reach, and you select what you want. This detracts from gameplay, since with games like the aforementioned Diablo 3 and Victor Vran, you don’t have to mess around like this. You can just try moving about till an item highlights but that is like playing roulette!
Another gripe is the interface which, at times, is way too small. It’s fine when you’re sat about a foot away from a PC monitor, clicking away with a mouse, but when you have a 50″ TV, and are sat back, the text can be quite small and the map icons nigh on impossible to see. After playing for around 3-4 hours a day, over the course of four days, I was waking up with a migraine due to eye strain. There have only ever been a few games that have done this to me in the past and now this is one of them (Victor Vran and Diablo 3 are just fine and I can play them for hours on end without getting sore eyes). In addtiion, Text speed is really slow when you talk to a NPC. Main story quests have spoken dialogue alongside a scrolling text block. The dialogue finishes way before the text, so if you have volume muted, you will be there a while reading what it has to say about your next objective.
Yet another issue: the design and how long it actually takes to do anything. You are looking at around 12 hours to get from the starting point to Athens, if you decide to uncover every square inch of the map (Athens is near the end of Act 1). On Diablo 2 in that time, you will have cleared the first two areas in the game, so TQ just feels so long winded and drawn out. When I last played, a few days ago, heading towards Athens it felt like a barrage that would never end; mob after mob and camps full of enemies. There is even a graveyard full of undead which I decided to omit completel, since I was getting that bored with it. I just wanted to get to the next town portal to make sure it saved in the city.
If you have never played Titan Quest, it is a decent game in all fairness. You can’t go wrong, really, for around £20 for a disc copy on PS4 and Xbox One. It has old school mechanics in comparison to newer titles, though, which can be cumbersome and tedious at times. I think fans of the game may enjoy playing through it again as it does have plenty of content. After Greece, you do head to Egypt and then Asia, and each area does look a lot different from previous ones with monsters which would be expected in their respective territory. This is actually the Anniversary Edition of the game, so you also get The Immortal Throne expansion which takes you through Hades, which is really cool, but again, more of the same. For its age, it does look decent running at 1080p, and the controls are functional, albeit if a little quirky at times with target acquisition.
I feel this is one of those games where a sequel may have been a better idea with modern mechanics like other similar games.
Thanks to the Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage, and also check out my photo album for this game.
- Developer: Iron Lore/THQNordic
- Publisher: Iron Lore/THQNordic
- Players: single-player, co-op
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!