A Titanic Quest

Titan Quest is a huge Action Role Playing Game, otherwise known as an ARPG. It began life on the PC back in 2006 and has been ported to Steam, mobile devices and now bundled with the expansion: Immortal Thone, it finds new life upon the current generation of consoles - including the Xbox One, it's also listed as enhanced for the Xbox One X.

We got a code from Xbox for review for the Xbox One and I've been playing a lot of this game alongside a few others, yet I always seem to go back to Titan Quest. That's a mark of a good game if you ask me, but don't just take my word for it with that, read on and see why I really like this take on an ARPG and what's special about it.

A Grand Adventure

In the time of mighty heroes: the time of the Argonauts, the Golden Fleece and gods that walk the land there's a lot of room for awesome quests, action, adventure and more. Titan Quest firmly locks itself into that era and presents a massive journey for your male or female hero as they unravel a sprawling plotline full of twists and turns, boss fights galore, and an epic challenge as they face off against ancient magicians who wish to bring the world to ruin.

Titan Quest, from the co-creator of Age of Empires: Brian Sullivan, and with the wordsmith talents of Braveheart writer: Randall Wallace this story takes you all the way through ancient Greece, Egypt, and Asia as you battle to find the reason why the Titans have escaped their ancient prison, and stop them once and for all.

It's familiar, instantly, to anyone who loves Diablo (in all its forms) and has a few nice twists that set it apart from the Diablo games themselves.

Console Friendly Design

It has a fairly decent control system designed to work with a console controller, something which I appreciate when it comes to these ported ARPGs. The UI has also been designed to support the console, again, a welcome addition and whilst it could do with a tweak here and there, nothing that spoils the experience.

Classy

There are 28 classes in the game, but you don't actually pick a class at all. You begin as nothing but a male or female adventurer. As you gain experience, from quests, side-quests, and killing monsters you'll eventually level up. It's here that you pick your first sort-of class, there's quite a list, and these particular skill trees are split into things like hunting, dream, earth, rogue and so on. Inside that chosen path is a huge swath of skills and a single mastery bar.

When you level up you get 2 points to put into attributes, and 3 into your Mastery skill tree. You first of all need to fill up your Mastery bar to qualify for the chosen skill, then you can put points into it. So for example, the first skill you want in the Rogue tree is one that gives your attacks poison. You can't get it until you've spent 3 points in Rogue Mastery. After that you can put x-points up to a maximum into the skill you desire until you've mastered it.

When you hit 8th level you'll gain a second Mastery, and it's here where your class style choices come in. If you mix Hunting Mastery with Rogue you'll gain a Brigand class and so on, the game leaves experimentation up to you and there's really no wrong build. Just pick what feels awesome and go with it. For my character I went Rogue and Hunting to create the Brigand, then picked a ton of poison based skills that means I can drop enemies quickly from a distance.

If you go Hunting and Nature you'll create a Ranger, then gain access to an animal companion you can improve with skill points as time goes on.

Slower Paced

A caveat for Titan Quest, the game's pretty slow paced, it tells a long-winded story over a number of massive acts and it's a huge game (for the time). It's not a bad story either, nor is the game let down by being slower in terms of action than say Diablo 3, which throws the kitchen sink, and the kitchen sink goblin at you in droves. Titan Quest throws a smaller number of enemies, but makes up for it by having challenging combats and confrontations that force you to think on your feet and adapt your strategy to survive.

If something isn't working, try something else, and most importantly remember that you can always run through an area again to gain more gear, more xp, and better loot as long as you have hit a checkpoint (rebirth fountain) prior to saving the game.

Just quit, reload and everything is back. It's a great way to earn some extra cash too.

Measured Loot

Titan Quest doesn't shower you with a glorious bounty of special items and weapons from the get-go, you can only play Normal Difficulty until you finish the game and unlock the next one along. It reminds me of Diablo 3 when it first came out in that regard. So you only get bog-standard items and a few special magical ones as you delve into the game's vast areas, deep dungeons, and rotting tombs from location to location on this expansive journey into the ancient worlds.

What it does do is provide meaningful loot that you can get, stuff you'll be using for a good while and items that can support your chosen playstyle. I have some great armour that buffs my poison damage and I created a minor relic last night which pushes my poison to even greater heights.

As you battle the denizens of these areas, some will drop various essences and charms. These can be combined to make complete versions of said items. They can be placed into your armour and weapons, unless they're coloured blue (magical) to buff their effects. You can also collect them in your stash, and when you get a blueprint for an arcane formula you can use that to create a relic (costing around 75,000 gold and using up the chosen reagents).

It's this system of loot you can sell to gain coin, and loot you can use, which keeps the game fresh and interesting as you pop open new chests and discover new loot caches. You learn to differentiate the noises that play when you get a neat item and when something truly special shows up.

It's all very Pavlovian!

Not bad looking for the time

Titan Quest is a pretty good looking game, even now, it has a lot of atmosphere and character to the graphics and the animations are solid. There are a few graphical issues (see the Bugs section) but apart from that it's not looking shabby for a game that came out in 2006. It's had a few coats of metaphorical paint since then of course.

Stirring Soundtrack

Yeah, Titan Quest's music (which can be adjusted in the options) is stirring stuff, themed to each area and plays in battles and ambient zones. It's a great soundtrack and definitely worth listening to outside of the game.

Play with Friends

You can join your buddies online only for 2-6 player co-op on Titan Quest and share the mighty quest, as well as the loot. It has a robust trade system that allows players to trade items, deals with loot fairly well, and offers a lot of fun with the right group of friends.

A big shoutout to Simon and Bob, you know who you are, for giving some of their loot to me so I could kill things faster. Thanks gents!

I repeat: there's no couch co-op for this, sorry.

Buggy at times

Even though this is a port of the PC version, there are some issues that have cropped up. Save regularly, like virtually every time you get a decent chunk of loot or a good item, because you never know when the bugger is going to crash on you. I've had several CTD style crashes and none of them have forced a hard-reset of the Xbox One though. There are also some graphical glitches which pop up now and then, texture chunks fail to load for a few seconds, character and monster textures fail to load for a few seconds and so on.

Another issue that might cause irritation is that sometimes items will fail to spawn on the surface of the map, and appear underneath where you can't get them. So far this has only been low quality loot, but the potential is there for higher quality items to appear under the map as well.

It doesn't spoil the game, but it otherwise mars the experience a little.

More Please

I really like Titan Quest and whilst it's a relic of the time and the game design of that era, there's something that goes beyond nostalgia. There's a mix of hand drawn map areas and procedurally generated stuff here, which gives you just the right amount of ARPG challenge without being overly grindy and repetitious.

I know there's an expansion that's set in the Norse world, and I'm hoping it finds its way onto Xbox One at some point. Until then, there's more than enough game here to keep you occupied and the quest for better loot will definitely suit some.

I'd say it's worth a punt.