Titan Quest: Anniversary Edition
Reviewed on Steam
I have a good friend I always play co-op games with. We’ve played games such as Trine, Final Fantasy VI and.. well, anything we find really. One game that has been in both of our collection and that we have been really interested in for a while was Titan Quest. He’s a huge Diablo fan and I have played several Diablo-like games myself—Except for the original games themselves because I’m dumb. But most of all, it promised to be a great co-op experience we both could sink a lot of hours into. Today, I’m taking a look at the anniversary edition of the game.
Titan Quest was developed by Iron Lore Entertainment and published by THQ in 2006 for PC. Brian Sullivan is the game designer behind the game, more commonly known for his work on the Age of Empires series. This series had multiple civilizations including Greece, which together with another well-known RTS game Age of Mythology formed the inspiration for Sullivan’s new project. Concept work for the game began as early as 2000 when the studio was founded, and in 2004 they secured a contract with THQ. Titan Quest released to generally positive reviews, and spawned an expansion a year later called Immortal Throne. Though nothing new happened to the game for a while except for a sort of spiritual successor called Grim Dawn, in 2016 we got both a mobile devices port by DotEmu but most important of all: the Anniversary edition. In 2017 we got the expansion Ragnarök and 2018 brought us ports to all eight generation home consoles. To this date the game is still loved by many and has a dedicated fanbase still actively playing, showing that interest in the game is far from dead.
Titan Quest’s theming is mythology, and not just one mythology which I personally thought at first. Not to beat around the bush, Greece Mythology is the main inspiration for the game, but we also visit other mythologies like Egyptian, Chinese and more. Even Babylonian! ..which turns out to be pretty disappointing but at least it’s here I suppose? The main objective is to hunt the Titans who escaped from their prison with the help of the Telkines. Titans were once in charge, but later end up imprisoned by the Olympian Gods. The titans did not like that however, so as expected they were plotting revenge against the gods. You, the nameless custom created hero, head out to put an end to this once and for all, and save both the mortal and divine realm. The question that was on both of our minds was: why are we going to multiple mythologies while our objective is Greece related? But in a clever twist, it all comes together and it makes sense, but that would be a spoiler and I don’t do spoilers, sorry not sorry.
Despite what I have said however, for mythology nerds like me, take some of the story or references with a grain of salt. Though the references made are really neat, some of them are inconsistent. There’s a bridge over the river Styx while you’re being attacked by the ferryman Charon for crying out loud. Putting that aside, the areas and monsters are well designed after their respective mythologies, and so are the people you come across. Early on you come across the beings like Leonidas, and you fight bosses like the Gorgon Sisters. In that regard, Titan Quest does a good job on showing us some of the most important figures, monsters and cities from each mythology. The same goes for equipment: they’re all representative of the area you’re currently at, or for areas where you’re heading.
The game starts with a small character creation, only able to choose your colour and what gender you are. Not really a priority for these kind of games anyways since you’re most likely zoomed out. At first you’re only equipped with a small knife; no skills or classes until you hit the first level. There’s a town with multiple quests (usually three for each area), a few shops, a bank and a teleporter to quickly travel to any other cities. Almost every town or city repeats the same process, sometimes with more or less quests and shops but other than that it remains the same. When it comes to shops you can expect your usual gear merchants, and later on arcanists and more which I will come back to later. Unlike most Diablo-like games however, there isn’t a form of gambler where you can possibly get good or bad items. This means that every gear you can get is either through the shops—which are more often than not disappointing—or through loot hoarding. Because of that, depending on how much you buy from the shops you will probably end up with tons of unused gold. The bank speaks for itself, and can be further expanded upon by spending gold. There’s also a transfer box, where you can put stuff to share across all your characters.
When not in a town, you’re progressing through fields or caves with enemies. Usually there is one path leading to the next area with a few exceptions, and multiple side roads to take for the sidequests. Combat is what you would expect; get close for melee, or stand from afar with ranged or magic, and use your skills to end fights faster and more efficient. Sidequests are also what you would expect from a Diablo-like game: Kill a certain enemy, or find a lost person or object. In return you get experience and sometimes an item. Gain enough experience and you level up, this is basic mathematics and should not come as a surprise. The first time you level up you can choose your first Mastery. There are a total of eight Masteries to choose from, with an additional two when owning the Immortal Throne and Ragnarök DLC. These can range from a melee character, to an elemental magic master, summoner and more. You can look at the mastery interface first to see the skills, but the moment you put a skill point in any of the skills you’re stuck with that mastery for the entire game. You can however choose a second mastery later on, allowing for multiple unique combinations. In our co-op playthrough, I was the aggressive, glass cannon warrior with assassination skills, while my friend was the tank, healer and buffer all at once. What we did notice however, is that the skills can be either good or bad; there is no in between. And aside from usable skills, the game has far more passive abilities. If you are unsatisfied with your skill selection, you can reset them at certain shops and invest the points in different skills in exchange for your money. I mean, you’ll end up with tons of gold so if you want to spend it on something, resetting skills is not a bad idea.
You can also spend points on your stats after every level up. Hit- and mana points for example which speak for themselves, and strength, dexterity and intelligence. The three latter stats are also needed to equip all sorts of gear with different requirements. Gear drops in multiple different rarities, from the least rare (white) to the most legendary (blue). The former don’t have any bonusses to them, while the latter has many different ones that makes you think real hard over whether armour with actual better defense will be of more benefit. For example, I had some gauntlets which granted me an additional skill of turning into stone and be invincible for a couple of seconds (to the dismay of my co-op partner), which was a really good skill but the gauntlets were severely outclassed later in the game. It helped that it was also part of a set which would give even more benefits when every part is collected—which I will probably never complete but still. Other drops include money, health and mana potions, and finally relics and charms. The latter are split into three or five parts, and can be combined into one which will give benefits when combined with gear, or can be kept for later to combine together for an artifact when you find the respective Arcane Formula. The artifacts do require some work, but the result can—depending on what class you are—be of great benefit with very high stats.
Enemies come in all different sizes and forms, each with their own strategy. Some have Area of Effect attacks, meaning you have to run all over the place first and then carefully attack, and others do massive damage at once. The same goes for the bosses, but I have to say that in our experience only few bosses have proved to be a problem for us. More often than not, we completely destroyed the bosses only to shrug afterwards and wonder if this truly was the boss. It could be that our setup was too overpowered or we just had damage bonusses against them, but I have to address it regardless. Overall the game isn’t too difficult, and whenever you die the only penalty is lost experience, but this can be regained by visiting your grave at the point where you died before dying again. You respawn at a rebirth fountain nearby which are scattered in large amounts all over the world and also function as an autosave point, meaning that if you forget to save you will still spawn at the last visited rebirth fountain.
Because of the many different combinations of masteries and it being a loot hoarding game in general, suffice to say there should be a lot of replayability. And despite what I’m going to say now, there really is. But the world of Titan Quest is not randomized, meaning that you will go through the same world over and over. This wouldn’t be too big of an issues normally, but the game has a serious addiction for padding out gameplay and filler content. Areas are huge and while I appreciate more content, more often than not it took far too long to move on to the next area, losing some emersion. The Immortal Throne DLC might have been the worst offender of all, where it just went on and on without stopping, sometimes not even feeling like it had any importance to the plot at all. But we did have our moments where we entered a new area with unique designs which got us hyped up again, so it’s not all negative here. When playing through the game solo you even have the option to play on a far higher game speed so there’s that, but that option is unfortunately not available for multiplayer. Because of the huge areas, you can expect a single playthrough to be around 40 to 50 hours.
The game does look good for it’s time with many different assets taken from the mythology inspiration. The port hasn’t done anything to enhance the graphics but that doesn’t matter at all really, not to me at least. We did come across a few glitches and bugs, and I even got a few crashes. They’re mostly graphical errors fortunately, and will not hinder your gameplay too much. There are enough rebirth fountains so if the game does happen to crash, you won’t lose a lot of progress. Surprisingly Ragnarök is where we encountered most of our issues, which is strange to be honest. I must admit that I do not remember a lot of the soundtrack, but that could be since we were talking over Discord all the time. Also join my discord pls ty xo. However, there are some good and atmospheric pieces in there.
Titan Quest has a mythological theme going for it, and executes it very well with its inhabitants and world the game takes place in—though you have to take some stuff with a grain of salt. The many different combinations in masteries and the loot hoarding gameplay makes every playthrough different, but the huge non-randomized world counteracts that statement. For one playthrough however, we had a lot of fun despite our (minor) complaints. The gameplay is overall fine, though I would’ve loved to see more active than passive skills. The game can be played alone or co-op with up to six players, both methods being viable options. And with that, here is my final for Titan Quest Anniversary Edition:
There are multiple ways to play Titan Quest Anniversary Edition. My recommendation would to play it on PC because of the mod support (such as an entire new act called Atlantis) and it supposedly works better on there as well. I have no experience with the console ports so unfortunately I can’t give an opinion on them yet for now, but I will update the review whenever I get the chance. I have heard complaints about the console ports (for example not allowing local co-op) but the core gameplay should still work fine, so the decision is completely up to you.