Titan Quest and I have a strange history. I earned my gaming chops on ARPGs, with Diablo introducing me to the genre, and Diablo II and Revenant carried me further down the path of PC gaming enthusiast. It was with little surprise then that I became absolutely enamored with THQ’s Titan Quest. This ancient world based multiplayer hack-em-up should have been easy for me to love, and on some level, it was. However, plagued with a smaller PC gaming base in the mid 00s, and linked to the deadly plague that was GameSpy arcade for multiplayer, the title just never really came into its own, despite decent sales and an expansion pack. When THQ began to fold back in December, 2012, I believed that Titan Quest would be relegated to a dusty classic gaming shelf, only to be played in single player on a long holiday. All that said, it was certainly a surprise when THQ Nordic brought the title back to the forefront with their release of Titan Quest Anniversary Edition.
Titan Quest Anniversary Edition is a textbook example of the type of treatment well-loved and aged IPs could be given to reinvigorate them for the current market. THQ Nordic did some housekeeping, addressing a slew of bugs in their re-release patch notes, many of which were long-standing issues. They also deployed brand new texture files, resulting a complete graphical overhaul. As a gamer who had played the original, unedited Titan Quest within the last year, the difference is noticeable bordering on staggering. PC characters, monsters, and spell effects have all gotten a hefty facelift.
Beyond all these changes however, there is one change that was severely needed, and should absolutely put this title on your radar – Steam integration and multiplayer. THQ Nordic took the shears to the previous multiplayer setup, removing GameSpy arcade by the roots and replacing it with a full on server browser system. Getting into a multiplayer game no longer requires multiple goat sacrifices to Zeus to accomplish. Instead, you simply find or create a game, share the name (and password, if you set one) with your friends, and set about clearing the old world of monstrous scum.
With multiplayer restored, Titan Quest Anniversary Edition has become a solid title for multiplayer RPG fans out there. Whilst the game is certainly playable single player, it absolutely shines when you play with your pals and engage in collaborative party construction. Having played in teams ranging from 2-6 (with 6 being the max), I’ve seen how the game scales, and I am impressed. Much like other titles in the genre, Titan Quest Anniversary Edition scales difficulty by how many players are in the game. This scaling leaves even over-leveled players with a bit of a challenge, while still succumbing to good party design and tactics in the end.
Party design – lets discuss that for a moment. While group composition has some place in other ARPGs, it isn’t necessarily the driving force that it is here. Titan Quest Anniversary Edition handles this differently, due largely to how its player characters are built. There are no classes here, at least not in the traditional sense. Players all start out the same, and what differentiates them are their choice of masteries and gear. There are 9 masteries in the game, spanning spellcasting, weapon skills, and utility skills, many of which are intermixed in individual masteries. Players will choose 2 masteries total, one at their first level, with a second choice unlocking at level 8. Coupled with player gear choices (which are largely based on concept and what stats you have prioritized during your character progression), this creates a very unique character that can certainly be tailor-made for your playstyle.
With the robust character creation detailed above, it is certainly possible to take almost any character concept you can think of and make it in the game. For instance, I made a druid-esque character, utilizing Nature Mastery for healing and support abilities, while Earth Mastery provides me with a number of offensive abilities and a summon spell for a huge earth golem. I’ve played with dual wielding warriors, keen archers, powerful mages, shield bashing tanks, and even role-straddling concepts like battle priests or barbarian shaman being possible with the right choice of masteries and gear.
All of these changes come together on an already excellent canvas to create an experience that is significantly better than the previous offering. Coupled with other quality of life changes like the server browser and Steam achievements, Titan Quest Anniversary Edition is well worth another look by both veterans and new players alike. There is more good news as well. If you already owned Titan Quest, THQ Nordic has seen fit to gift you Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, which also includes the Immortal Throne expansion content as well. Beyond that, it looks as though there may be new content on the horizon, if the “unlock content” button in the updated menu system is any indication.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your spear and shield, summon a wolf, and bring swift violence to Gorgons, Centaurs, and Jackalmen as you attempt to save the ancient world from monstrous scum. Bring a few friends along if you really want to have a great time.