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Diablo-Style Game Play in Greece. What could go wrong? Well, since you asked…

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    Titan Quest

    Rating: 1.0 – Terrible

    Diablo-Style Game Play in Greece. What could go wrong? Well, since you asked…

    I’ve always been a sucker for Diablo-style games, and I remember playing "Titan Quest" back on the PC many years ago. That’s why when I heard Titan Quest was getting ported to the PS4, I was pretty ecstatic as it gave me a great reason to play through it once again (that and trophies… I’m a pretty big fan of those things).

    So, is this port one you should pick up to relive some Diablo-style action, or should it be avoided at all costs? Let’s get into it!

    It’s all on you, random hero!

    One thing that’s fairly undebatable is that Titan Quest only has a shell of a story. The game starts out by recalling how the Olypians have imprisoned the Titans in their power struggle (basic Greek History stuff that you probably learned in high school…). However, creatures known as Telkine have emerged and are terrorizing the world.

    You are a random Greek Hero (or Heroess…) who is just apparently the chosen one as you arrive in a Greek village and are tasked wtih fighting back against the monsters. As you can imagine, you will soon be swept into the fight against these Telkine creatures and will learn of their plans from there as you fight them across Greece and beyond.

    It’s a fairly basic story that is just a shell to get you to slay thousands of monsters, and it works well enough. The story here doesn’t focus on your player character at all and is all about the greater world problems. As you play you’ll run into dozens of NPCs who will give you side-quests that relate to the world, but most of these side quest stories are paper-thin as well, rarely rising to the level of interesting. The historical places you’ll explore (aka: the setting) is the most interesting thing here, story-wise, but hey the game sets up monster-killing well enough.

    Hack & Slash & Crash… Wait, Crash?
    (Game Play)

    Being a Diablo-clone, Titan Quest will have you pick a class, grab a weapon, and start slaying monsters right away. As you play you’ll get a TON of enemy drops so you can find better weapons and armor, get stronger and take on tougher monsters. Pretty basic. You’ll level up as you play and each class has its own set of abilities you can invest in. One thing that does make Titan Quest a bit different from the formula is that once you hit a certain level, you can pick a second class, which leads to a lot of mix-and-match game play options. Still, you are basically going to end up being a warrior, ranged attacker or a mage (with the second class options letting you either beef up those roles or become some sort of hybrid).

    This game play loop is time-tested and gamer approved. It’s a fun game play cycle. The dual-class system gives you a lot of customization options and things to spend your level-up points on and the loot system is fairly generous. After playing through normal and epic mode, I always felt like I was constantly improving, which is definitely the goal.

    When the game works, it works fine. However, as the score on the review may suggest… this is not a bug-free game. Let’s go over the number of bugs, issues and crashes I (and my multi-player partners) have experienced when playing this port.

    First we have the constant game crashes (we had 13 crashes in one hour once). This happens on single player and multi-player. Overall, this game has crashed on me at least 25-30 times. Next up is the "Environmental Texture Lag", where the backgrounds just go grey before showing up. There’s also the asset pop-In of course where the art just pops in andsome floors just don’t load at all and appear black. We’ve also seen collision issues where you can just get stuck on some scenery.

    Next up is the game’s connectivity issues. Believe it or not, but enemies won’t die until the game synches with the host, meaning a lot of waiting around as the game "catches up". There’s also a very annoying bug where joining a game on a separate difficult level puts you in the last difficulty level you played on (this is a weird bug… it makes enemies appear lower leveled then they actually are and opens all way points to you which affects quest progress). There’s another bug that causes certain spell effects to make your character flash blue/red for the remainder of the game (which is just visually annoying).

    Carrying on, the game can also drop items to points where you can’t pick them up. To be fair, there’s a way you can display all items on the screen, but this is bad programming nevertheless. The inventory is also just… cumbersome. Trophy hunters will also hate the fact that the game’s trophies may not load properly (I had to beat the game multiple times for some of them). You should also be aware that some skills and abilities just don’t work (I’ve read about this one, haven’t experienced it personally). And finally ou can target ally pets and summons when you shouldn’t be able to, which interferes with combat.

    Whew, that’s all I can thing of for now. The biggest issue by far is the game crashes, but right after that is trying to play multi-player with this game (which is a BIG selling point with this type of game).

    After spending quite a bit of time with this title, one thing was abundantly clear: whoever ported this game over did absolutely NO QUALITY ASSURANCE WHATSOEVER. I don’t believe you when you list "Quality Assurance" in the credits Titan Quest! There are so many issues with the performance of this title, that even a casual playthrough would (and should) raise dozens of issues to the publisher (THQ Nordic) and the developer. The issues with this game are SO bad that I, for one, will now forever look at ANYTHING THQ Nordic releases with a wary eye, because frankly as the publisher they let this bug-ridden mess release to the market (and to think they even had the gall to release a "Collector’s Edition" to boot!).

    Frankly, the way this game was ported is a downright disgrace. The fact that a game that came out over a decade ago gets this slap-dash, money-grab of a "console port" should put THQ to shame and as a result turned what should have been a rather fun, Diablo style loot-grind to a buggy unplayable mess.

    It’s such a shame…

    Checking out the Landmarks.

    As I mentioned before, one of the highlights of the game is its setting. You’ll get to see a lot of ancient history landmarks as you play throughout the game (without spoiling anything, you do travel beyond Greece as well which is pretty cool). There’s a lot of good mythological creatures to check out (and kill) as well. A lot of these types of games will re-use enemy designs as you play through them, and while Titan Quest does a bit of that it also does an extremely good job of constantly introducing new enemy creatures all throughout the game. I should also note that your character does change their look based on what armor you put on, which is definitely appreciated.

    While the environments and enemy designs are pretty cool, remember that (as noted above) this game has a lot of graphical issues. I won’t list them here again, but it’s pretty clear that there was very little quality assurance done here and things can get especially bad in multi-player, so take that into consideration. I should also note, this being a port of a 10+ year old game, the graphics definitely are not over-hauled here. They still look rather old and pale in comparison to modern graphics in the same genre, so just don’t go in expecting anything… new here.

    Going for that old-school sound.

    Being a game about exploring ancient civilizations, the sound track in Titan Quest is all about using rather simple beats and instruments in most of its soundtracks. These can be accompanied by a choir at times as well, but for the most part these tracks are meant to sound like that came from the ancient civilizations you’ll explore. When you aren’t getting those types of tracks though, you will likely get one of the game’s more epic-style tracks. The type with sharp strings and heavy drum-beats designed to get your blood flowing.

    That’s if you’re listening to the actual soundtrack though… for the most part, the game is content with subdued themes and letting the sound effects and various monster noises take center stage as you play. The sound effects (and audio) are solid enough here throughout the game (some of the monster’s sound effects are top-notch to be fair), but there’s the occasional audio bug from time to time (unsurprising given that list up above). There’s also NPC voiced dialog throughout the game as well, but it really isn’t anything to write home about as the voice acting usually sounds rather forced and goofy overall. All in all, the audio throughout the game is rather solid, with better-than-average monster sound effects and the occasional sound bug/glitch thrown in. Y’know, for fun.

    Let’s become a hero, one more time!

    Titan Quest is a fairly long game as this port includes the "Immortal Throne" DLC, which will end up giving you four rather long acts to play through. Plus, it does come with two more difficulty modes to play after you beat the game (Epic and Legendary) that will each give you better and better loot and occasionally (mostly on Legendary) add in new boss monsters to fight.

    The game also has online multi-player that lets you sort and filter by difficulty and character level. You can also invite and kick characters as well. Fairly basic stuff, but if there’s one thing you want out of a game like this it is online multi-player. I should note that you can have a party of up to six characters total (which is rather large… most games like this only let you have four).

    And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that a lot of those glitches and bugs listed up above affect multi-player, which can range from making your online play-sessions annoying to downright unplayable as the game may just decide to crash over and over on you. Ignoring all bugs though, this is a fairly meaty game that has quite a bit of re-playability, especially given how the game’s class system works.

    Overall: 2/10

    I have to say, I’m pretty bummed out about this game, having played it many years ago and really digging the genre in general (I do love me some hack and slash loot-grind!). It seems like THQ Nordic saw the genre was doing well and did a quick rush-job to get it onto consoles without doing any quality assurance whatsoever, to the point where I regret buying this game at full price.

    At its best, this is a solid hack and slash title that provides that satisfying loot-grind and includes online multi-player goodness, all wrapped up in a mythological wrapping. Are you willing to trust that your experience will be at its best though? Be careful! You may very well end up with a game that crashes all the time and has so many bugs and technical issues that it’s downright unplayable.

    Shame on THQ Nordic for making gamers worldwide suffer with that choice. Hopefully this review served as a rightful warning to all! Have fun and keep playing!

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