Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Love/Hate You, Titan Quest

I've been playing Titan Quest for a few weeks now and I absolutely love it... when it works. By "when it works" I mean "when it's not hard locking the crap out of my computer." So developer Iron Lore puts out a few patches. I update accordingly. It still hard locks my PC, but now I get an error log to go with the crash. After submitting said log to said developer the guys there tell me it's a memory issue. So I've got that to look forward to.


In the meantime, I'm still playing the heck out of Titan Quest so much so that I have the "trigger finger twitch" non-stop mouse clicking gets you. Not familiar with this disease? Then you must not have played Diablo II ad nauseum back in the day like the rest of us did. If anything, Titan Quest is little more than Diablo III with an Ancient Greece skin on top. The game is exactly like Blizzard's beauty only with shinier graphics and prone to crashing like Lindsay Lohan after a bender.

Stability issues aside, this is a gorgeous and terrifically fun click-fest that absolutely is recommended for all you loot whores. I giddily admit to being one and seeing the sheer volume of badass equipment landing at my feet after slaughtering waves of foes is simply joyous. Compare this with the derth of really anything you get in Oblivion when you open a chest or slay a monster. I knock Bethesda for a lot of things but their stinginess is near the top of the list of reasons why their Elder Scrolls series is vastly overrated. Sure they create whole worlds for you play around with, but it always takes the mod community six months to add the fun.

By comparison, Titan Quest is fun right out of the box and only gets better the further along you go. The various skill combinations make for some deliriously awesome ass-whooping so much so that the game demands many replays. Once players hit level their first level, they get to choose a mastery. When they hit level eight they get the option to choose a second. They can either specialize in the first mastery or split the difference between two. Unlike any of Bioware's hybrid characters, having two masteries in Titan Quest is absolutely essential to bringing the pain to the monster hordes.

Some of the skills have only recently been balanced out too. For example, the Oracle hybrid (Spirit + Storm) is strong at first and only grows moreso as the game wears on. While some may complain that the famed Ternion Attack (a Spirit attack) is way overpowered (true) it makes the enjoyment of truly destroying mobs that much better. At the higher levels, certain characters can walk over everything in their path and the destruction they bring is awesome to behold.

But then they get to Epic and Legendary difficulties and find themselves swatted down like flies. Thus begins the need for strategy and possibly a complete overhaul of their characters. Such is the beauty of Titan Quest: Once you have a handle on things, the game shifts to something you don't simply power through. The higher levels don't so much require tactics as DEMAND them. Fortunately, the higher levels bring with them insanely cool equipment. The better quality ones all have sweet looks to them so when players see something sparkling on the ground that looks like the coolest spear/sword/battleaxe/armor they've ever seen then they're probably right.

So why am I taking a break from this right now? Mainly because I want Iron Lore to put out another patch or two. They just released 1.2 which balances the game (so they say) but what they're missing is a way to store equipment and trade it with different pack mules. There is a hack out for this, but the patch is incompatible. So I have to uninstall it then reinstall the game then patch it then hack it again only to have to repeat once 1.3 hits.

Instead I think I'll go play Space Rangers 2 again and wait for Iron Lore to put out another stability patch or three. On the plus side, they've proven to be dedicated to improving the game so another few patches should be coming down the pipe soon. Major kudos to Iron Lore for their continued and rapid support.

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