Archives by Day

Titan Quest

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Iron Lore

About Judy

As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PC Preview - 'Titan Quest'

by Judy on June 27, 2005 @ 2:07 a.m. PDT

Titan Quest is an action role-playing game set in the ancient mythical worlds of Greece and Egypt.

Genre: Action/RPG
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Iron Lore
Release Date: Q1 2006

Certain genres and time periods have seen more than their fair share of exposure in the video game market, so it seems almost counterintuitive that there is subject matter as neglected as ancient Greece and its mythology. It's certainly got enough mass appeal; people who regard the written word as their personal Kryptonite still manage to pick up a tome of Greek mythology because it's just so engrossing. And yet, only a handful of historical RTS titles briefly visit that era, and there isn't much on the horizon, aside from the upcoming Sparta: Ancient Wars. There has never been a better-suited vacancy for Titan Quest, Iron Lore's action RPG set in ancient Greece and Egypt. (People who are unfamiliar with Iron Lore should take note that it was founded by Brian Sullivan, co-creator of Age of Empires, and the rest of the crew is comprised of RTS and RPG industry veterans.)

Titan Quest's storyline is still in development, but at the time of our demo, the backstory involved the Titans (the "parents" of the Greek gods, for the uninitiated) breaking free from their eternal prison to inflict chaos on the world. The player must uncover secrets in order to re-imprison these ancient gods and save humanity. Quests will bring you to fabled locations of the ancient world, such as the Parthenon, the maze at Knossos, the Great Pyramids, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The developers set out to create a product that would be accessible to casual and hardcore gamers alike, and this is best evidenced by the character development system. When you create a character, you just need to specify a name and gender, and you're off. While there are approximately 25 character classes, they're not implemented in the expected manner, and you aren't bound to any hasty decisions. You still need to advance the character's skills by gaining levels, but you may assign points to the 120 skills in any way you like, which means your character can master multiple classes. If you change your mind about the character's specialties, or if you've spent points on skills that aren't practical, you can simply reallocate points to the desired skills.

The mastery of classes proves to be quite helpful during combat: a mastery of Earth gives you power over rock and fire, while a mastery of Spirit provides you with control over the dead. Characters with mage specialties can summon a minion to fight alongside, and while it has independent AI, it will only stay around while you have enough mana to support its existence. During our demo, we saw the character summon a Core Dweller, and while it did really well in battle, crushing every enemy in its path, the pathfinding had not been optimized, but it's almost expected in such an early build.

Enemy AI will be fairly sophisticated so your task won't be easy; they'll use different tactics in combat and alter formation to protect the wounded members of the group while they heal up. Slaying enemies will cause them to drop appropriate items that you can then loot; combatants will drop shields and swords, but you won't see giant insects dropping sturdy wooden helmets. You earn skill points for killing enemies, and you earn gold for selling unnecessary looted items at the market. The numbers are somewhat staggering for a non-MMO title: 1,000+ pieces of equipment, 100,000+ pieces of magical equipment, and 120 skills, 10 of which can be stored on the top row of function keys for quick access. It's expected that Titan Quest will provide a solid 40 hours of gameplay the first time through.

There isn't a specific number of worlds at this point – suffice it to say that there will be "lots." Titan Quest will also implement a portal system to facilitate travel from one location to the next, so upon arriving at a new site, you will need to track down the next portal in order to continue your journey. At this point, the game utilizes a fixed camera, but the developers indicated that this could change.

Graphically, Titan Quest looks really impressive and takes place in a living and breathing environment. The characters and surroundings are detailed and lush, the locations are vibrant. NPCs talk to and interact with each other, and lots of action occurs in the world around the character.

More evident in the dark subterranean levels is the game's use of multiple sources of illumination. When you "kill" a skeleton, it announces its death with a giant burst of light, which bathes the environment in dynamic soft shadows with soft edges. Death has never been quite so attractive.

The developers created their own ragdoll physics engine, and you can see it in all of its body-flinging glory during skirmishes. The environment is created with height maps, so you'll be traversing terrain with lots of topographical elements, which could contribute to a strategic advantage over your opponents.

The preview event showcased quite a few other titles, so unfortunately, there was too much gaming noise to hear or distinguish much of anything. As far as multiplayer options go, the plan is that you'll be able to play Titan Quest with up to eight people in co-op mode, but there are no specifics at this point.

Titan Quest boasts a rather unique setting, smart enemy AI, and broadened gaming appeal, accomplished by banishing most gameplay quirks that reduce a title's accessibility. The eye-catching graphics are certainly up to par with current games and are sure to please most gamers. It's expected that Titan Quest will ship with a map editor, which should keep the mod community busily engaged, in addition to extending the longevity of the title. The details are still a bit fuzzy, since there are over six months of development time left, but we certainly hope that Iron Lore maintains its course in delivering what looks to be a fresh and exciting addition to the action RPG genre.

More articles about Titan Quest
blog comments powered by Disqus