First being released all the way back in 2006 on the PC, Titan Quest is now arriving on the Switch after an iOS, PS4, and XONE version. Sadly, this port is lacking last year’s expansion pack that was released in 2017, but does have Immortal Throne included that came out in 2007.
Titan Quest is an ARPG released in the limbo period between of Diablo 2 and 3. It follows a the tried and true formula of the genre. Pick a class, slay monsters, loot corpses, visit a town, kill boss, loot corpse. The real question, though: 12 years on from its initial release, does this title still play as well? And does it compare to the juggernaut that is Diablo? I’m surprised they didn’t name the game “Hades.”
Titan Quest takes place in the setting of ancient fictional Greece. It’s a locale fitting for the genre as Greek Mythology is stuffed to the brim with monsters, ghouls, creatures, and heroes rising up to slay them. Essentially you arrive on the scene, but a lot of monsters have as well and you must embark on a journey to find the source and stop it.
As usual with the genre you may pick a class to play as. There are 10 on offer with each one feeling pretty different for the most part. Hunter who makes use of bow and spear. Defender a close combat brute who can take a hit. Rogue who is more adept at sneaking around. Wanderer can call on denizens of the forest to help out.
Here arises one of my issues with Titan Quest. The variety on offer is good and you want classes to be better suited for multiple situations and this aspect works well when playing multiplayer. However on a single player adventure it does not. I made my primary character a Hunter and it takes a while to gain access to a true skill that allows you to attack multiple enemies. This can make clearing mobs a real chore and really slowed down the pacing of the game.
A Grand Odyssey
One thing that must be said about Titan Quest is that it certainly offers a massive amount of content. There are 4 acts to to take on and they all seem to be quite substantial. I was shocked each time I checked that I hadn’t cleared Act 1 yet. This is one of my issues though whilst the number of hours certainly is appealing, the hours played are not. This issue is mostly caused by the lack of variety.
You arrive in a town, get some side quests and the main quest cleared and then embark on the next road that leads to the next town. The issue isn’t so much the formula, but the pacing. Titan Quest does feel somewhat slow when compared to something like Diablo 2. One good thing is that the side quests do help to shake things up and take you off the beaten path. Another issue with the pacing is that on act 1 on the default difficulty I had to grind. No one likes grinding and this really didn’t help.
With the game set in Greece and some other locations the world around you is naturally quite grounded to reality, ignoring the monsters of course. The first act does have you visit some nice locations, but towards the end they do become visually tame. Sadly the second act is very bland in terms of locations, but this certainly was the worst.
Scary Monsters and Super Creeps
One aspect where Titan Quest does shine is the amount of creatures to take on. Centaurs, Cyclops, Gorgons, Giant Worms, Giant Spiders, Ratmen, and so many more. As the acts are quite long it can sometimes feel like some of the enemies have outstayed their welcome, but for the most part you will be encountering all kinds of foes.
The variety in enemies makes for the some quick thinking to be employed as you face off. Do you focus on the weaker minions or go for the head? Do you focus on the melee fighters or tackle the spell caster? As the game progresses these choices do help break the monotony of some of the encounters.
The truth is any title like this is going to be more appealing when played with other people. That isn’t to excuse some of the balancing and pacing issues of the single player though. There are multiple ways to play. You can go for two player splitscreen or up to 6 people. It works well even if the online does seem to be low on players. However there is an issue with the game and that is the lack of communication options between players. It seems a bit cheap to place this blame on Titan Quest as Nintendo do have an archaic approach to communication on the Switch, but titles like Arena of Valor went through the effort to allow players to communicate. The reason this is such a big issue is that when you spawn, you spawn where you were last playing. This could mean you are a great distance from allies. The game does allow you to setup a portal to yourself, but no one ever seems to bother. So communicating with them would be a great plus.
New Coat of Paint
Whist Titan Quest was first released in 2006, it is worth noting that this version is a port of the 2016 one with updated graphics, bug fixes and other details. For the most part the game looks and sounds great. Textures aren’t anything amazing, but do the job. Also the music does fit the theme of a mythological adventure.
Sadly whilst the updated rerelease did fix many bugs from the previous version, there are still some in this one. Nothing is game breaking, but it is a shame they are there. I had the game crash twice, but the game does autosave so I didn’t lose a lot of progress. A weird glitch where you seem to be stuck for a second when near a chest and other minor problems, like textures vanishing when entering the game again from the Switch homescreen.
Ignoring bugs and glitches though the performance of Titan Quest is pretty good on the Switch. I spent a lot of my time playing in handheld mode and for the most part everything ran smoothly, but there were a few minor drops in framerate. I heard some people complaining about the text size whilst in handheld mode and I must say I have no idea what they are talking about. Everything is clear and easy to read.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Titan Quest was provided by THQ Nordic.