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Mark Marrow
23 Jun, 2006

Titan Quest Review

PC Review | A colossal start for new developers Iron Lore.
It’s fair to say that there hasn’t been a great deal of activity from the hack and slash side of RPGs since Diablo II, and to be honest, no other game has been able to match the success of the brilliantly crafted game from Blizzard since 2000. While many developers have tried to conjure better formulas to match the success of the Diablo franchise, all have failed. Well, that was until newly formed developers Iron Lore stepped in.

While Iron Lore are a relatively new developer, it is quite the opposite when looking at the type of people behind the company. Headed by Brian Sullivan (co-creator of Age of Empire), the team has selected the best of the best including screenwriter Randall Wallace (Braveheart) to work on their first project's epic story. The talent doesn’t go to waste either, since their first project manages to breathe a much-needed surge in the genre.

The premise of Titan Quest is a great one. Gamers will begin their journey as a weak warrior from a farming town in Greece. From there, gamers slowly begin to realise the dangers that face the world, and eventually their role in preventing the worst from happening. The Titan gods have escaped from their imprisonment and are ready for revenge on the world. Gamers will ultimately take their characters throughout the entire game fighting the resurrection of evil demons and uncovering artefacts that will hopefully help fend off the onslaught of the gods. Whilst the game begins in Greece, gamers can expect to travel to key locations in Egypt and China such as the Great Pyramid and even the Hanging Gardens.

As well as visiting historical locations, gamers can expect to read some of the legendary myths and stories of ancient times. Titan Quest follows a fairly linear story, however, gamers are able to branch off on various side-quests, as well as learn of stories that correspond with your location. For instance, gamers will eventually come into Troy and can learn about some of the historical events behind the town. Each major town has a storyteller that expounds gamers of similar real-life stories, or myths, that help deepen the experience.

Before Chinamen there were Tigers...with feet?

Before Chinamen there were Tigers...with feet?
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And that’s the joy with Titan Quest. It’s a fairly deep game that doesn’t grow tiresome throughout your adventure. The game rewards gamers to travel beyond the main story and to venture off into optional caves, and to cover each-and-every area of the map. In doing so gamers may come across chests or rare characters that drop powerful weapons that may not have been found if you just progressed in a linear fashion. The only real downside to all this is that the game’s story starts off extremely slow. While gamers are thrown straight into the action as soon as they create their character, the story itself doesn’t really begin to pick up until much later.

As previously mentioned, Titan Quest is a hack and slash RPG, and a fairly typical one at that. Much like previous games in the genre, gamers will travel across large lands, find equipment, fight their way through dungeons and caves, fighting horde after horde of enemies in a very Diablo II-like fashion. Most of the game consists of the player pressing the left-mouse button (to move, to buy items and to fight), in-between this gamers can also unleash several devastating skills that they’ve mapped to certain keys. Ideally, that’s what Titan Quest is. You’ll be directing your character from area-to-area, going into ancient tombs, caves or swamps killing various creatures, collecting better equipment and fulfilling quests. While this may sound boring, Titan Quest does an excellent job of making combat engaging and rewarding due to the customisation of your character.

As much as Titan Quest is an action game, it stays true to its RPG sub-genre. Gamers are able to customise their character from the get-go. You can choose from either a female or male warrior, and after achieving your first level, you’re able to choose a mastery skill. The mastery skills in the game determine what kind of warrior you will be. While you’re ideally a Spartan, god-like human, you’re able to vary how you achieve your success on the battlefield. There are a total of eight masteries in the game, which include your typical warrior spec, a hunter with amazing bow and spear skills, a necromancy-like spec that allows you to leech life and summon spirits, and various other specs that allow you to perform different elemental magic attacks such as fireballs and thunderbolts. So, it’s fairly deep in what’s at hand, and ideally how you can approach your battles. Rather than being a single class throughout the entire, lengthy game, players are able to also select a second mastery soon after their first, enabling them to choose to be a hybridised character or if you wish, to be the same character throughout the entire game. So this allows gamers to choose whether to be a hard-hitting warrior with fire spells that allows them to run in battle with a firewall that hits surrounding enemies or a life-leeching warrior that can fire lightning bolts.

Thankfully there's no large creatures with claws that kill in real life...well besides our girlfriend at least.

Thankfully there's no large creatures with claws that kill in real life...well besides our girlfriend at least.
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There are 20 skills in each mastery, meaning that gamers can expect to have a lot of variety at hand. Gamers will learn new skills as they grow a new level, or for fulfilling side-quests. Gamers can then put these skills towards new skills, or a tier metre that allows you to eventually acquire new and more powerful skills. Certain skills require pre-requisites, and are upgrades on others, as well as there being quite a few unique skills for each mastery. It’s very open, and each is so different in terms of learnable skills that there’s just so much to sink your teeth in.

Speaking of variety, gamers can expect to come across a vast number of creatures and items throughout their adventure. The creatures fittingly fall in-piece with their corresponding environments and country. Whilst in Greece, gamers will come across Satyrs, one-eyed Cyclopes and Harpies. Meanwhile, in Egypt gamers will fight giant beetles, lizard men, and vultures. Each set of creatures also come with a diverse range of classes. For instance, the basic form of a Lizard man has no armour and only has a spear. The next has gold armour, a better weapon and appears much larger. And lastly, the final form is double the size of both of them, has a much bigger weapon and has incredible heavy armour. In most cases, gamers are able to quickly identify from a distance of how strong a creature is simply by their size. In addition to this, there are various hero-like creatures within each race. These rare creatures will often be found within optional dungeons or hard-to-find locations throughout the game. They’re sort of like mini-bosses, which require a lot more thought and power to defeat them. However, the fights are never in vain, since gamers will normally receive powerful weapons and equipment after defeating them.

This variation also follows through onto the items too. Gamers are able to pick up a vast amount of weapons, equipment and items throughout their adventure. Most items will be found off killing creatures or found in treasure chests. The neat thing is that after killing a creature you’ll get some of their equipment, such as a common spear used amongst the lizard men, or some sort of basic armour that skeletons use. This also carries on when you defeat mini-bosses and bosses. However, most of the really good items are acquired from chests. Gamers are able to pick up virtually any item they find if they have enough room in their bag, which can sometimes become an issue. You’ll have to constantly sort through your bag to fit your desired items since there’s so many items found throughout your adventure. Titan Quest offers a little assistance with this through. You see, each item has a colour-coded value, making it easier to decide the value and quality of an item. Some items are broken, some a really weak, some are rare, while there are a few legendary items out there too.

In addition to your typical weapons and armour, gamers can also expect to find relics and monster charms. Relics are usually found in chests or acquired from completing certain quests, whilst monster charms are dropped from certain beast. These items are very similar to Diablo’s relic system. Each of these items have differently attributes – Relics have a variety of stat boost, meanwhile monster charms allow gamers to attach items with certain creature racial abilities; such as a bat monster charm that will instantly allow your selected item to leech life from enemies you fight. There’s plenty of these items to find, some harder to find than others. Gamers can attach only three of the same relics/monster charms to one item, which allows you to customise your equipment. For instance, say one relic improves your fire resistance by 4% while another relic resists poison. If you’re going up against a fire-based creature there’s little doubt to what item you’ll be using. After attaching three of the same items to one piece of equipment, you’ll receive item bonuses that relate to the relic you attached. An example of this could be that three individual relics convert 6% of your damage into health, however, when having all three attached to the one item, you’ll also receive a set bonus that leeches 18 life over 3.0seconds from each creature you fight.

The reaction we have at the office after Chris-Leigh makes yet another lame 'joke'.

The reaction we have at the office after Chris-Leigh makes yet another lame 'joke'.
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As deep and diverse as Titan Quest is in its single player, there’s much more on offer in terms of multiplayer. Gamers can jump into a multiplayer match with up to six other players and take on quests and creatures together. The great thing about multiplayer is that you play the single player story as a party. No unique characters to make and no limit as to what you can and can’t do. So you can jump into multiplayer with two other players, finish a few quests, save, and then jump back into single player just where you left off. When there’s a good, there’s always a bad too, and the multiplayer does suffer a bit from this. Iron Lore have decided not to include closed servers and the multiplayer is met with a number of slow downs during matches. You see, whoever hosts a game their computer will act as the server for the other players. And if the hosts’ computer doesn’t have enough bandwidth to handle all the players you may expect to have a few lag spikes because of it. Whilst this didn’t happen so often when playing with two other people online, it became more of an issue as more and more people joined. And these are probably the most significant downfalls to the entire multiplayer experience.

In addition to both single player and multiplayer modes, the game also comes packed with an easy-to-use custom quest mode, which allows gamers to create their own environments and quests. Whilst there appears to be a few limitations with this feature at the moment, such as only recreating scenarios off pre-existing creatures and textures, the overall potential for such a feature is promising. Gamers will be able to go online with these, as well as playing them solo.

Graphically, Titan Quest looks superb, especially if you have a computer capable of running it. We were fortunately able to play the game on all high settings, witnessing the game in all its glory. There’s a lot of detail in the environment from swamps, to farmsteads and even long sandy deserts. Titan Quest isn’t short on lighting effects either. While it does look a little overdone in areas, the choice to do so certainly does payoff in the long run. If your computer isn’t capable of running at the highest you can always adjust the settings, however at a cost. We played the game on normal setting, which got rid of a lot of the lighting effects and the textures appeared a bit blurrier than intended. While it doesn’t ruin the game on the lower settings, you appreciate the game a lot more when playing it at it’s peak.
The Score
Titan Quest is most definitely one of the best PC games on the market for the year. A solid all-round experience that revives what was once a dead genre. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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15 Comments
7 years ago
This game looks awesome, too bad I don't have a graphics card to run it.

More games need to be based on Greek Mythology....it's awesome subject matter.
7 years ago
I am really tired of games like this, but watching some in game videos of this game at gamespot makes me want to play it icon_razz.gif
7 years ago
I can't wait. The demo had be hooked for a good 4 hours. I hate to see what the full game is going to do to me. Might as well kiss my summer goodbye.
7 years ago
Wow, I expected this to be a sure-fire 7 or 7.5 out of 10. I never expected it to literally be genre-defining. That's very promising, because I'm a huge fan of the Diablo series and I definately need a stopgap until Diablo III.
7 years ago
"Our girlfriend?" This is where the company hive mind goes overboard.
7 years ago
ultracrazy1 wrote
"Our girlfriend?" This is where the company hive mind goes overboard.
Amy gets around icon_eek.gif
7 years ago
LOL!
7 years ago
I had a spare 10 mins, and thought this game looked interesting so I read the review.

Review Text wrote
gamers are able to branch off on various side-quest,

Each major town has a storyteller that entails gamers of similar real-life stories, or myths, that help deepen the experience.

Much like previous games in the genre, gamers will travel across large lands, find equipment, fight their way through dungeons and caves and fighting horde after horde of enemies in a very Diablo II-like fashion.

Rather than being a single class throughout the entire, lengthy game, players are able to also select a second mastery soon after their fast, enabling them to choose to be a hybridised character or, if you wise, to be the same character throughout the entire game.

There are 20 skills in each mastery, meaning that gamers can except to have a lot of variety at hand.

It’s very open, and each is so different in terms of learnable skills that there’s just so much to sink your teeth in.

Whilst in Greece, gamers will come across Satyrs, one-eye Cyclopes and Harpies

Gamers can attach only three of the same relics/monster charms to one item, which allows you to customise with your equipment a bit

And these are probably the most significant downfalls to entire multiplayer experience

Absolutely huge. The single player mode will take anywhere over 40hours depending on whether you decide to do the optional side quest, as well as a multiplayer mode and custom quest feature that promises to add much more.
General Comments:

Way too many commas in sentences. If they are that long, break them into smaller sentences.

I think maybe every second sentence had the word gamers in it? I like it how the review starts with 'various side-quest' and then ends with 'the optional side quest'. Aren't side quests optional by definition as well?

I also got a chuckle out of the communal girlfriend.
7 years ago
Fixed.
7 years ago
Apologise Ashmaran. I ended up writing this up in the early hours of the morning hoping that the person who validates the article would pick up on any minor mistakes. I guess not. I probably should've read over it a few times though. I guess that's why people who write novels have editors (even then mistakes fly through) icon_wink.gif.

I think this is a game that'll have mixed opinions depending on what you've played in the past. If you've played Diablo I/II to death then this might just be the same old thing. But I really enjoyed it and I think people who enjoy the genre will certainly get something out of it.
7 years ago
Iv'e never even heard of the game before, but i don't follow pc games all that closely anyway.....

Are there some other reviews?I went to metacritic but it didn't seem to have the game listed yet, just wanted a second opinion.
7 years ago
Good stuff.

I'm not trying to come across as a complete bastard, I just feel the need to highlight these things if they get out of hand. I'm guessing the validator just went: meh its too long icon_razz.gif

Anywho I do need a game to tide me over until Diablo 3 icon_wink.gif
7 years ago
Glad you're not holding your breath or anything... icon_razz.gif
7 years ago
I will be sticking with Sacred Plus Underworld for now. I will pick this up once the expansion pack is released, and the "gold" version (game + Exp) is included in the 2 for $50 @ EB.
7 years ago
Its a good game but dosent have as much depth as D2. I Was not compelled to play higher level difficulties. My opinion 7/10.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  THQ
Developer:
  Iron Lore

Extra:
Minimum System Requirements:
Windows 2000 or XP
1.8 GHz Intel Pentium IV+ or AMD Athlon XP+
512 MB RAM
5 GB free hard drive space
64 MB NVIDIA GeForce 3+ or ATI Radeon 8500 series with Pixel Shader 1.1 support+
DirectX 9.0c compatible 16-bit sound card
8x CD-ROM drive

Recommended System Specification:
3.0 GHz Intel Pentium IV+
1 GB RAM
128 MB NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or ATI Radeon X800 series
Soundblaster XFi sound card

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