With so many great ARPG’s coming to console it’s great to see some of the classics that many of us grew up playing ported over to our favorite consoles. THQ Nordic seems to agree with this sediment as they announced and have now released a remastered version of the 2006 classic Titan Quest. Fully equipped with a remastered visual experience, UI updates and the games first expansion, Titan Quest had the potential to merge the old and new and open a great ARPG to a slew of new fans. This is our Titan Quest PS4 review.
As a long time ARPG fan I was excited to sit down with this classic that, thanks to THQ Nordics efforts, has not only seen a release on console but a free update to original Steam Owners that includes many of the remastered work. Although the visual updates had come to the PC version last year which was great to see and play I was excited to see how it would translate to the console experience. So does it hold up on the console?
Steeped in pre-Roman Ancient Mythology, Titan Quest follows the adventure of the Avatar (for clarity sake I’m not referring James Cameron’s tall smurfs), and must save the world from three Titans known as the Telkines, who have broken out from their imprisonment by the gods of Olympus, to wreak havoc on the mortal world. With communication between the gods and the mortals broken thanks to the aforementioned Titans, it’s up to you and your trusty weapon of choice to take this threat head on. With some great moments and surprises along the way the story is a fun, albeit a straight forward afar, and allows the player to venture through Ancient Greece, parts of Egypt and the silk road to Asia.
It’s a great fantasy adventure that is steeped in mythology. The original is was a great and welcome in 2006 because it was a break from what had become known as dark fantasy and offered a different setting for the ARPG player to explore. It’s a great reason to try this classic ARPG.
The game also has a dual class system akin to games like Grim Dawn which, for the game historians out there, makes sense as one of the developers on TQ actually went on to create Grim Dawn. The system works great and really allows for a lot of fun and creative builds for players to explore. Want to be a sword wielding sorcerer? No problem. How about a staff board and sword Necromancer type? Totally doable. The dual class system is one of the features that really made Titan Quest stand out back in the day and it holds up well today.
In regards porting the game THQ Nordic handled some of the port really well. The UI facelift works fairly well. They managed hold onto some of the classic Inventory look while giving it a great functional feel on the controller. Navigating menus has received the same functional treatment and although different than some other ARPG’s I’ve played recently made sense and was easy to pick up and play.
However that’s where my praise of the console port ends. After jumping through the introduction, creating a character and diving head first into the action. Things started to get a little dodgy. The controls for this PC port have some issues. Two biggest issues are that there is this odd analog stick delay when moving a character around the screen. Even after releasing pressure on the directional analog stick your character will continue to path in whichever direction you were moving for three to four steps. This dramatically slows down response time in combat and plain feels off. With so many great ARPG ports to console I had hoped we had gotten to a point where controls were no longer an issue for the genre but sadly Titan Quest suffers from some poorly implemented movement controls.
The second issue I ran into with controls is combat. Titan Quest relies on Square as your primary combat attack, essentially standing in for left mouse click. The issue is that as soon as your target is within targeting range and you mash the attack button your character regardless of where they are positioned will auto path to the enemy and begin the attack. On the surface that doesn’t seem to bad except when you are surrounded by enemies.
Two frustrations arise. The first is that its frustratingly awkward to switch targets so strategic engagement is nigh impossible. Unless you completely stop attacking then move around until your avatar highlights another enemy you are ‘locked’ to the target you initially engage. This caused quite a few moments of frustration during the playthrough specifically in regards to mini boss and boss encounters. Many times it would have been more fruitful to engage and clear minions or in other cases ignore them entirely but with the current targeting and combat setup choosing how to engage is a frustrating afar.
This leads to the other frustration with the controls in Titan Quest. The aforementioned auto-pathing during combat creates another problem. When there are multiple enemies in an area that are within target range, combat becomes an almost automatic affair. Simply holding the square button down saw may character move all around the screen hacking and slashing his way through hordes of enemies. Sure it looked great but as the player it was a very disengaged experience.
I could actually play the game with one hand for many moments and although this is very natural on PC, it makes for a boring playthrough on console. Gone was the split second decision making, the quick positioning changes and smart engaging combat that I loved about the PC version and in its place was an endurance test of my right thumb as I pressed on the square button on my controller. I will note that THQ Nordic has introduced a smart quick switch feature for spells using the trigger and d-pad which allows you to jump between equipped spells on the fly but I found more times that not pressing the square button solved most of my combat issues.
The updated visuals in Titan Quest look great on my PS4 and are welcome site over the original 2006 version. However quite frequently I ran into weird graphical bugs such as enemy modules not loading correctly or in some cased delayed visual load times. My hope is that these issues can be resolved in a future patch but it was disappointing to see in a game that has been so successfully remastered on PC.
Titan Quest really is a great ARPG. It still holds to its classic pacing and storytelling and the updated UI work well on this console port. Some of the original ideas and systems make for a great ARPG experience and offers a lot of fans of the genre. However terrible control porting and some rough visual bugs really do make what should be an enjoyable experience feel disengaging and boring. If you own this one on PC it might be best to go re-download it and enjoy all the update features that THQ introduced into the title. If you’re not a PC gamer and are really looking for a fun ARPG experience, as much as it pains me to say this, your better off with some of the other great titles on console.
Final Titan Quest PS4 Review Score: 5/10
- The original concepts, story and dual class still hold up
- UI rework makes sense and works
- Bad control issues take the Action out of ARPG
- Visual bugs were disheartening to see