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Developer:
Iron Lore
Publisher: THQ
Platform: PC
Release Date: June 26, 2006

by Aaron Slater




Titan Quest is a new action-RPG release from THQ, and one that many RPG fans should be excited about. Although many may think Titan Quest to be nothing other than one of the many Diablo clones on the market, it should be said that Titan Quest appears to be shaping up to be much more than a mythical Diablo, and looks to offer an enjoyable and solid role-playing game.


From my gameplay experience with the game, one can clearly see that this could live up to the lofty expectations a game from Brian Sullivan, of Age of Empires fame, would have. Graphically everything looks great, with beautiful fields of swaying grass inhabited with mythical beasts, to country towns populated by villagers clad in traditional period attire. Everything in the game is very nicely detailed, and although the game is presented in a perspective similar to the Diablo and Sacred games, the player can zoom in very close to change the perspective of the game and take in the details of the area.


The characters and enemies move very fluidly, with attacks looking varied from enemy to enemy. An interesting feature is that many of the same types of enemies will die in very different ways and send whatever items they are carrying into the air upon dying, which makes slaying these mythical beasts a lot of fun. The enemies are diverse and are appropriately modeled after their mythical source. Spell and skill effects are also quite nice to behold, as many of the spells have very detailed animations themselves. The game is a pleasure on the ears too, with a nice score and some great sound effects that match the different weapons the player will be using and the different enemies the weapons will be used against. Surprisingly, with such beautiful graphics and sound, the load times on this game are minimal at best. Minimal slowdown was experienced while playing, whether zoomed in or panned back, and everything runs rather smoothly. Aside from the initial load for an area, players can explore large areas to their hearts' content. In fact, while playing through, aside from the initial load time, very few were experienced.


While everything looks and sounds nice, one must wonder whether or not the game plays well and what new it brings to the already dense action-RPG market on the PC. Titan Quest plays out very similarly to the bulk of action RPGs on the PC. The player will explore towns, gain quests, and set out to complete them. After partaking in some quests, a larger quest will come to either seek out a fearsome enemy or to move on to a new area. As the player fights enemies, equipment will be acquired in many different varieties, which can be customized from parts dropped by certain enemies, equipped as is, or sold at various stores in town. While all of this sounds very hackneyed, it should be noted that the change of location from fantasy to mythical creates a compelling world that is both familiar and alien, and one that is exciting to explore. Fighting is still done through point and click, and the bar at the bottom holds access to skills and items, which can also be hot keyed for easy access, which is nothing special but welcome at the same time. The controls are all solid, and there were no real issues with hit detection, as everything seems to be polished up rather nicely.


One area where Titan Quest strays is in character development. Upon leveling up, certain statistics can be raised as desired, but the player is also granted skill points. Skill points can be allocated to many different skill trees, which can customize their character in an almost limitless combination of ways. If the player wants to focus on weaponry and hand-to-hand combat, there are avenues that allow that, while there are also options in various elemental magic. The sheer amount of customization is both large and diverse, and should allow the player to create a character to their liking, regardless of how they want to play the game. The player can add skill points to the overall mastery of the type of skill to learn more skills, or add points to level up the acquired skills at their level of mastery. Regardless of whether the player chooses to create a magic user or a fearsome brawler, there are plenty of options within each of those archetypes that should allow for enough customization to suit to their liking.


Overall, Titan Quest is shaping up to be a very solid experience. While the gameplay mechanics may seem familiar, the deep character customization in conjunction with the new mythical territory creates a world that is alive and the ability to explore it with a character fit to anyone’s liking. Titan Quest is shaping up to be a very exciting and welcome release.


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