Titan's Quest - XB1 Review


Titan Quest drops you into the role of a warrior working through Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Asia for you to slaughter hundreds, if not thousands of beasts, men, and monsters alike in your quest to defeat the reawakened Titans. Playing off of the traditional tropes of "good versus evil," Titan Quest will pit you against familiar foes like the Gorgon sisters, Medusa, Euryale and Sstheno while sending you to exotic locations such as Olympus and the City of Rhodes. Though the likes of Diablo III proved that hack-and-slash/action RPG titles can, with care, have a home on consoles, Titan Quest though an excellent game in its own right does not quite meet the formula for overwhelming success. That is not to say it is a poor game, but rather that the port is far from stellar. Graphical anomalies and an absolutely horrendous control scheme plague what could be an excellent console hack-and-slash title.

For all of my love of the Diablo franchise (specifically Diablo 2) and its style of hack-and-slash/action-RPG, I never actually played Titan Quest when it initially released back in June of 2006. Fast forward 12 years and THQ Nordic has brought Titan Quest and its expansion, Immortal Throne, to consoles and I had the chance to sit down and give the game a spin. Honestly I was pretty excited since Titan Quest has been sitting in my Steam library for about a thousand years and I have, on numerous occasions, thought to myself "Man, I really need to sit down and play that …" I'm fairly certain that we have all done that a time or two in the past. That said, the 10.6GB install happened pretty quick and I was able to hop right in and (hopefully) get to smashing hydras and Medusa and all that jazz.

Loading in was actually quite quick, though a part of that may be my own perception because I have been playing quite a bit of Kingdom Come: Deliverance on Xbox One lately and its loading screens are so long and so plentiful that I grow a 5 o'clock shadow between playable sections. Anyhow, character creation is pretty simple; choose whether you are male or female, a name, and a tunic color then you are off! I naturally created a female avatar named Miriam because why not? I like the idea of a woman in Ancient Greece coming to save the world. That and I would rather stare at a female character model for 30+ hours than a male character model. It is just who I am. Back on track … So I load into a stunning, if a bit heavy on the tans / sand colors, little hamlet that is being attacked by crazy pigs and satyrs and I get all excited. "Here I go, off to save the village and slay the beasts!"

Or so I thought.


So I go running up to kill this ravenous boar, right? I am ready to really lay down the stabby-stabby with my starting butter knife when I move the left stick and go running up to the boar (that, once I got close enough, was highlighted blue) slamming on the X button to get my stabby on. Imagine my shock when I go rocketing past said boar, that was goring a terrified horse mind you and then my target auto-switched to some carrion bird that was on the other side of a low fence. I was bewildered! So I am slamming on all sorts of buttons, hoping to deselect this bird that is on the other side of a fence that my 2 year old niece could vault over with no issues (yet I could not take a dainty step over it) and get to pokey-pokey'ing the boar that, by this time, should have mauled that poor, poor horse by now.

Since there is no deselect option I tried turning around but rather than standing in place and turning like you do in literally every other video game on the planet (minus the NES game Hydlide), instead when tapping one of the cardinal directions on the left analog stick, rather than turning … you take 3-4 steps in that direction. This means a lot, and I mean a LOT, of running in circles hoping the stupid autotargeting mode somehow locks onto whatever you are hoping to attack. That poor horse stood getting gored by that ****ing pig for a solid 6-7 minutes while I tried to figure out the controls. "New game, new controls, I'll get used to it" I told myself.


Nope.

They are just that bad. Try picking up one specific item out of a group while your inventory is near-full. Not going to happen. At all. You will have to run to a clear portion of the area, dump a bunch of things, run back to what you wanted to select, pick up all the items until you get what you want, then run off to another clear part of the map to empty out the junk, then finally run back and get your original inventory (assuming it's not been wiped due to weird-as-hell spawning / respawning methods) then you will need to truck it back to town since there are no Scrolls of Town Portal (an issue that has been beaten to death since the game came out in 2006). Whatever … the controls freaking suck and are almost bad enough to make you want to die a little inside.


But the game is, hypothetically, still good, though I gave up trying to use my skills a long, long time ago. The wheel selections do not make sense, nor do D-Pad selections, because the user interface for the consoles is so convoluted and poorly arranged that I placed some buff or another in my Y slot somehow and, after getting a half-dozen skills or so, have not bothered changing it because it is damned-near impossible to use skills in a quick and efficient manner while in the heat of combat. 15 hours in I was still using the basic first-level buff you get in the Hunting tree all because it is so damned difficult to get in and change things to how I want to use them.

Skill assignment and use should be quick, easy, and rewarding and this port of Titan Quest has none of those. I still have no clue what any of these skills even look like or what they do in a practical setting. I honestly recommend that whomever ran the port for the Xbox seriously reconsider their control scheme, and do so quickly. Personally? The controls would make more sense if they were laid out a bit like this:

Attack: Right Trigger
Primary Skill (Special Attack): Left Trigger
Skill Wheel: Left Bumper
Assigned Skills/Hotkeyed Items: Face Buttons
Assigned Skills/Hotkeyed Items: D-Pad

AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHANGE HOW THE LEFT ANALOG STICK MOVES YOU. When I press Left, I expect to turn in that direction, not move in that direction.


Targeting is another issue as well; unlike other hack-and-slash/action RPGs, Titan Quest uses an automatic lock-on system that the player has no control over. When you move into range, the lock-on function will select one of any of the enemies that are directly in front of you. This can be especially troubling when you find a rare/elite creature surrounded by minions; it becomes a free-for-all of wild swinging on random enemies and instead of allowing you to go for the biggest threat, you might lock on to some random unit, even if they are not in the actual fight yet. This means you will likely run off to another mob which often results in death.

Other titles, like Diablo III or Dungeon Siege 3 allow you to swing at any time in any direction where in Titan Quest you cannot swing / attack without being locked on to an enemy. It is frustrating as all hell. More often than not I found myself simply using a bow while trying to slowly move into sight (which is extremely difficult given the craptastic controls) and then trying to pick things off from a distance. The AI is dumb enough that they just sort of stand there and no other mobs are pulled.

The lack of control is not limited to enemies though, as picking up loot is the most frustrating thing ever. While I am fine with the limited storage space and the lack of a town portal scroll, the fact that I cannot easily select a specific item in a pile of loot is maddening. In Titan Quest if you run through a dungeon you will fill up your inventory, which is fine, often dropping those of low worth to pick up higher-quality gear. The issue is that you will get to a treasure chest (which are liberally placed literally everywhere) or you will kill a boss and a massive pile of gear will fall and many of the items will likely be whites (common) with a few higher quality pieces strewn throughout. Having to pick up everything, space it out, drop it, then reorganize your inventory to fit the new gear is a stupid time waster. I hate it. THQ Nordic and the team behind the port really need to rework the selection mechanic in order to make the inventory management aspects bearable on the console.


Titan Quest is a gorgeous and potentially fantastic title but suffers from horrific controls and strange graphical issues. The shadows were blocky, doodads magically appear when in combat, and fire/status effects are presented as colored squares. I know on PC the game is lauded as a spectacular hack-and-slash/action RPG but the port is simply frustrating. I could run around in tall grass or farmlands for hours because of the spectacular environment, but the issues with the port are greater than the game itself. Titan Quest even covers a theme we do not often see but players will give up before it is made apparent. The reality is that because the port was failed by its development team to be an "almost great" title, I fear that unless they push updates to allow customizable controls or fix directional issues, Titan Quest will suffer from an unshakable and horrible stain.

Game Information

Platform:
Microsoft Xbox One
Developer(s):
Iron Lore Entertainment
Publisher(s):
THQ Nordic
Genre(s):
Hack & Slash
Mode(s):
Single Player
Multiplayer
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation 4
Nintendo Switch
PC

Source:
Provided by Publisher




Article by Robert

*Note: Screenshots
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