Expansion packs are usually bland affairs, but this one kind of unsettles us. Titan Quest was a tragic game that was meant to be the next big thing but ended up a so-so Diablo clone after six years in development. And almost all of what Immortal Throne adds centers around two themes: dreams and death.
If ever there was a game that would turn out to be haunted and end up electrocuting you through your mouse, this is it.
For those of you who ain’t afraid of no ghost, Immortal Throne is a broad platter of additions. A new mastery joins the original eight: you pick two to make your character, so there are eight new potential combinations that could make use of the new “Dream” skills. Then you’ve got a new fourth chapter for the game proper, which takes you back to Greece on a quest into the depths of Hades. New items include special super-powerful artifacts that require you to happen across the recipe, amass the ingredients and pay for them to be made. Lastly you’ve got some interface improvements and the appearance of caravan drivers in every settlement who’ll store your gear, for a price.
The new areas are the standout feature and shine in a way the original Titan Quest’s levels never did. The layout is less sprawling and your objectives more interesting, but most importantly the designers have got their teeth into the setting. The landmarks and monsters you encounter represent the best Greek legend has to offer, and an admirable amount of effort has been put into making Hades feel like a totally different world. Of course, this being the Diablo clone it is, your interaction with The Fates, Cerberus or any similar figures is limited to hitting them in the face until they fall down, but still. There’s just more imagination here, and the exploration as you push deeper into the world is all the more rewarding for it.
But that’s about it for ingenuity. Dream mastery is like most of the other masteries: a mix of melee attacks, ranged abilities and summoning, so it’s not for people who want mysterious powers of misdirection so much as people who think purple particle effects are cute. The new inventory auto-arrange button and the caravan drivers would be nice bonuses, but both were in Diablo 2 and that they weren’t in Titan Quest at launch is embarrassing. The new items are the one respectable attempt at innovation, but neither type quite works. The one-shot spell scrolls mean boss fights are over even quicker and getting the components for artifacts together is an Odyssey in itself, but one where the plot has Odysseus punching the same monster over and over until they drop stuff.
Immortal Throne is worth it if you’ve finished or are close to finishing the original, as the new chapter provides a nice hike in quality, but it’s not worth wading through the original game to get to.