Fun Fact: Titan Quest is the very first game I purchased on Steam. The game was already a bit long in the tooth when I got it in late 2012, having released in 2006. I got it on sale for maybe $5, and proceeded to pour a ton of hours into its fun blend of Diablo-style dungeon crawling and Greek mythology. However, according to my Steam account, the last time I played the game was in 2013, so I’m a little rusty on what has been going on in the world of Titans. I did note last year that THQ Nordic released a free Anniversary Edition, and I happily clicked the button to grab the upgrade, but never fired it up.
However, when THQ announced on Friday, November 17, 2017 that, from out of nowhere, they had released a full expansion to Titan Quest, entitled Titan Quest Ragnarök, my curiosity got the best of me and I realized I had to check it out. There has been a recent wave of companies that have been releasing updates to fairly aged IP, the highest profile being last year’s Diablo 2 patch, coming 5 years after the last time that Blizzard had touched the game. But this Titan Quest update is releasing a full 10 years since the last expansion (2007’s Immortal Throne), and while Titan Quest enjoyed some popularity back in the day, I’m unclear on how large the community currently is.
I guess people must have been receptive to the Anniversary Edition, because THQ did not skimp on this expansion. The new levels have moved away from Greek Mythology and Hades, and are now focusing on Nordic and Germanic lore. The list of new features is expansive. There are graphical updates, UI updates, ragdoll physics updates, tons of new quests, a new experience curve, a new level cap, new gear, a new player mastery, the list goes on and on, and frankly, is majorly impressive. My favorite from the list of new features? “Finally: wear pants!” Sounds good to me. I like to wear pants.
So how did it go when I fired up the expansion? Well, the simple fact of the matter is that after five years away, I really suck at Titan Quest.
I decided to roll a new level 40 character and attack the new material with a Runemaster (the new mastery). I spent about an hour studying all the skills on the skill tree, trying to determine how they would work together. I carefully placed all of my character points into strength, intelligence, etc. I went to a vendor in the opening city, and selected starting gear that I thought would help me get through some of the lower level enemies I would encounter. Satisfied that I was ready to go, I carefully searched the city for an enemy to fight. The story line quickly steered me towards a gaggle of mermen hanging out near the edge of town. I cautiously approached one, with my fingers hovering over the skill buttons, ready to try out my new powers. The merman zipped over to my location, hit me one time, and I dropped dead.
It turns out that jumping into the middle of a game that you have been away from for five years is extremely challenging. I have made some progress, but am still extremely squishy. I have been kiting bad guys, laying down explosive runes on the ground and running away. The entire game has taken on a much more measured, tactical feel than I had expected. However, there is some good news. I have some new gear that I pillaged from a pile of bones, and I recently fought off a gang of four crabs without dying. So that was exciting.
The game looks great. One of the advantages of playing an older game is that I could take the settings and crank them all up to the maximum, and the game runs smooth as butter on my mediocre PC. The sound design is still as solid as it ever was, and even in the early part of this expansion, it is clear that the development team put in a lot of work to maintain the look and feel of the base game.
Frankly, I’m delighted by this expansion. I am excited to take on the challenge of getting my character (I named her Crankers) to the point where she can roll through groups of bad guys like a wrecking ball. Moving forward as slowly as I am, learning my character and gaining better gear to enable better survival is a dynamic that I’m not used to in games like this. This presents a whole different way to play that I hadn’t considered until now.
So, if you will excuse me, I’ve got some crabs to kill.