HQ Nordic have earned a decent amount of goodwill since taking ownership of a lot of older THQ properties. After giving Titan Quest and its original expansion - Immortal Throne - some tender loving care in the form of Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, they’ve created a new expansion - Titan Quest: Ragnarök - over 10 years after the original game came out.
Ragnarök as you can probably guess is a look at Celtic and Norse myth through the same lens as the other entries take on Greek, Egyptian and Oriental tales. Featuring familiar characters and references such as Loki, Sif, Heimdall, Yggdrasil the world tree, and the realm of Asgard to name a few, but used in ways that are often surprising or quirky.
The new act takes place after Immortal Throne, getting there on an existing character requires you to bash old Hades in once again to progress to the new content. Alternatively, the expansion provides the ability to create a character at level 40, placing you in the new content armed only with enough funds to buy some basic gear. Using this option seemingly locks you out of reaching the earlier acts in Normal difficulty as you are missing those waypoints for some reason, you can still reach them on higher difficulties.
You start out in Corinth that’s dressed in familiar Greek architecture, before the game sends you to far less temperate climes, with your quest sending you through Germany before heading northwards to Scania and beyond. The plot sees you taking on armies of enemies that are both mundane and fantastical, as you find Surtr and attempt to prevent Ragnarök itself.
Masteries are Titan Quest’s take on classes; throughout the course of the game you can select two, mixing and matching to create up to 45 unique classes. Ragnarök adds a new Runes mastery which has a focus on weapon buffing and traps, giving them a unique warrior druid feel. If you stick to just being a Runemaster, it can feel a little underwhelming as outside of placing explosive runes and enhancing your auto-attack there isn’t much to it, but thematically for the expansion it works and as a support mastery it opens up some interesting combinations.
Ragnarök also adds a whole slew of new gear, featuring armour and weaponry that fit into the new theme as well as an entirely new category of weapons. Thrown items are now an option, ranging from chakrams to daggers you can now design around something other than the previous ranged option: the bow. It also raises the level cap by ten levels bringing it to eighty-five.
Visually the game looks solid; it’s still an eleven year old game though it helps that it was a pretty good looker back then. The expansion provides a few new bells and whistles that help make it feel a little fresh -as an example, the weather effects for fog and rain do an awful lot for the atmosphere. Aurally the game matches what came before, the music is unremarkable but fits well and the NPCs are all voiced with the quality of that voicework being all over the place. Some random town NPCs are performed with more gusto than say Loki who is just awful.
As for how the game itself plays, for better or worse it is more Titan Quest. When it originally came out there hadn’t really been much activity in the action-RPG genre since Diablo II pretty much sewed up the market. Titan Quest wore its inspirations on its sleeve as it felt very much like the venerable classic but in 3D with a mythological theme. That statement alone will either sell you on Titan Quest or make you move on.
For some the very focused, trimmed down movesets for the classes (usually you never get near a full hotbar of moves, rarely going over three or four) with a focus on passive abilities and generally slower play, will be a turn off after playing the likes of Path of Exile or Diablo III. But if you enjoyed Titan Quest or that games’ spiritual sequel, Grim Dawn (created by the original team behind Titan Quest), or simply just hanker for the olden days of action-RPGs when games were just better, then you’ll find a decent amount to enjoy here.
Ragnarök is very competently put together, Pieces Interactive and THQ Nordic have managed to make something that feels exactly like it belongs which is no small feat after a decade has passed. The new areas are beautifully crafted and look distinct whilst still fitting in with the existing aesthetic. And whilst none of it looks as memorable as what was created for the previous expansion, Immortal Throne, it compares well with the stuff in the original game.
Overall the expansion is a lot of fun and I adored my time with it, like revisiting a friend I’d fell out of contact with. Titan Quest is still a fun title with a lot going for it, even with the slightly dated feel. Titan Quest: Ragnarök is an unexpected but solid expansion that while not revolutionising the genre or bending the game, provides plenty of gameplay options for fans and newcomers alike.
Titan Quest: Ragnarök (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
This surprise expansion for Titan Quest takes you on a journey to the frigid north after exhausting all the sun-soaked options before getting you hooked on loot all over again. The slower pacing and combat might not be for everyone but for those that love the original or action-RPGs from that era there is a lot to like.