Titan Quest (re-)review

First launched on PC in 2006 as a sort of alt-Diablo dressed up with Greek mythology, Titan Quest got a makeover and was re-released in on Steam in 2015 with a pretty new peplos, the original Immortal Throne expansion, and support for hi-res monitors. Then, two years later and more than ten years after its debut, its Ragnarök expansion dropped suddenly out of Asgard, mashing up the game’s elegant classical themes with snow, beards, and proper pants.

Now, it’s been re-re-released for PS4 and Xbox One, so console gamers who missed it the first and second time around get their turn to smash harpies and gorgons for mega-loots, praise Zeus, and save the ancient world from a cosmic apocalypse.

Game info
Genre: ARPG
Platform/s: PC/XBO/PS4
Reviewed on: XBO
Developer: Iron Lore Entertainment
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Distributor: N/A
Website: www.titanquestgame.com

First up, the game runs great on the regular Xbox One, with extra-shiny 4K support on the One X, and even in intense battles, I never saw the framerate drop by any noticeable degree. The missus and I played co-op (which supports up to six players), her on the One X and me on the standard-issue One, and I couldn’t see much difference, like, at all. When zoomed in a bit, the shadows on the X looked only a tiny bit better, but I honestly had trouble even making that one distinction. So that’s cool, but also more or less expected for a remaster in 2018.

This version of the game does has a lot of real issues, though. We were frequently disconnected from each other’s game for no obvious reason, and every time this happened, even the host was inexplicably and unavoidably dumped back to the title screen, without saving. There’s no option for local co-op either, which is a shame considering how much fun that was in Diablo 3. Then there’s the loot, which isn’t instanced – not even the cash! – so you have to share nicely when playing with others, and let me tell you, this led to some pretty intense exchanges of words over the long weekend that I’d rather prefer to forget.

But my biggest gripe is the controls. There’s so much wrong here, and nothing has been optimised for console. For one, the characters seem to move on some sort of grid that requires that they stop moving at a very particular spot, so tapping your controls in any direction, even for a split second, will result in your character taking a few steps even after you stopped moving your analogue stick. You spells and abilities are attached to the D-pad, but you have to pull your left trigger for access to additional slots, and it just isn’t something you can do quickly – or intuitively, for that matter. Configuring those slots is also a pain, done from a clumsy radial menu on the right trigger. Opening a portal, map, inventory, skills, pets, and everything else is all done from yet another radial menu bound to the start button, and once in the inventory, for example, you need to use your triggers to bounce though various sections, and then your D-pad or analogue sticks to move around between tabs. It’s a hot mess.

And lastly, there’s the campaign itself. It’s the exact same campaign from the original game, and that’s okay, but over the years we’ve been spoiled with games like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile. We’re used to more action, more choices and variety, more sophisticated narrative exposition, and a much faster pace to the game in general. This isn’t Titan Quest’s fault – it’s an old game now, and the genre has evolved a lot since then – but it’s also impossible not to compare it with those others now.

53While the game looks great and runs well enough, it’s aged badly in almost every other other respect. Play it for nostalgia, but not for much else.

Zug zug, Warcraft and Warcraft 2 out now on GOG