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Posted on Aug 17, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Titan Quest – Recon (PC)

Jim H. Moreno

Too hot for you to be outside these days, yet you still have a hunger and craving for more summer excitement and adventure? Why not take on a Titan Quest?

Titan Quest is the latest action RPG PC game release from developers Iron Lore and publishers THQ. Instantly comparable to both Diablo and Dungeon Seige in terms of look and feel, Titan Quest yet has a unique flavor that I think may have gamers returning for another full plate. Casual and strategy gamers, especially fans of Dungeon Siege and Diablo, should appreciate the familiarity of the gameplay set in the ancient realms of Greece, Egypt, and Asia. Personally, I also dig the games’ adherence to the whole mythos of the era. As the name suggests, Titan Quest has your character on a grand geas in search of a renegade Titan bent on bringing down the gods of Mt. Olympus. Add to that the inclusion of some authentic military history, such as meeting the famed Spartan commander Leonidas to ask for help, and it becomes plain to see this game has a lot of fun to offer.

Your Titan Quest includes visiting ancient towns and villages, where you’ll mingle with artisans, shop vendors,and the common folk as they go about their everyday lives. As you wander about town, you’ll have the chance to hear master storytellers weave tales of ages past, so take a moment to listen. You’re sure to be entertained, and you might even learn something!
Titan Quest’s designers aimed to get the game on the mark from the moment the idea was unsheathed, by enlisting the writing talents of Randall Wallace, the man behind the script of the movie Braveheart. Wallace is a direct descendant of that movie’s subject, William Wallace, and like the movie, the current-day Wallace has penned a storyline here that is both interesting and engaging, two major gameplay elements often missing from RPG and strategy games. Townsfolk often have whole passages of speech to relay to your character, and since the voice acting is also well above standard quality, I think it all helps to keep a player immersed into this enjoyable game.

Fear not, gamers, all is not scrolls and scrolls of scrolling text here. Visually, Titan Quest glows radiantly above its’ predecessors in the same genre, with excellence paid to the little details that help make a good game better: fields and trees gently sway from a breeze; harpies and centaurs (and other appropriate creatures) looked like they’re pulled right out of Bulfinch’s Mythology; spell effects and combat animations sparkle and flow with beauty both delicate and deadly. It all shows that the designers and programmers paid close attention to shining Titan Quests’ armor to a bright sheen, before releasing it to the public.

Scenic rivers and canyon views such as this await you on your Titan Quest. Of course, so do marauding bands of evil satyrs. Spend a relaxing day at a Spartan War-Camp, bloodying your blades on the front lines alongside Spartan soldiers.
As this is only a preview, I did not go too far behind the lines for a look. Nevertheless, I did manage to zero in on a couple of potential curses a gamer may scream to the gods about. One is that there’s not very much strategy involved in the gameplay; players mostly run around the maps completing search-and-rescue missions, or just slaying whatever creatures the happen upon. From the glimpse I got, enemy AI is simple: either hack-n-slash or cast spells at you until you die. They do a good job of surrounding you at times, and I even saw them run away in an attempt to lure me back to their buddies, where they would then all bumrush me. Nothing new here, and more than a few gamers may get turned off to what they deem ‘just another button-clicker game’.

Secondly, the weapon and equipment selection are in abundance, and a player should never have to be worried about the lack of proper arms and armor. But, like a two-edged battle axe, the fact that there’s so much equipment may become a nuisance to some players. I actually had to use more strategy in configuring all the loot dropped by slain critters into my backpack than in the actual slaying of said critters. I mean, these beasts are loaded, and so are the occasional treasure chests scattered about! The town vendors will come to know you on a first-name basis, you’ll be visiting them so often. There’s a danger here of again possibly turning off players when they keep getting taken away from the adventuring fun.

Step off the beaten path and you’ll find quaint villages and campsites … … where you’ll find all the best souvenirs to show & tell your friends about!

As I remember, there wasn’t a lot of hype before the release of Titan Quest, and looking around the Internet lately, there’s still not much ado. However, in my opinion, I think if you don’t get this game, you may just be missing out on one of the most enjoyable games this summer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Titan to Quest!

As the sun sets, the truly adventurous (and well-equipped) may want to visit the Abandoned Graveyard, where you’ll sure to get the inevitable cold greeting by the inhabitants there. Photo op’!

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Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

Jim H. Moreno

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