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I have an appreciation for a well-designed action RPG, so as a fan of Titan Quest and its Immortal Throne expansion pack, it's nice to see that Rock, Paper, Shotgun agrees with me that it meets this specification and has opted to pen a retrospective piece on Iron Lore's classic title. An excerpt:
Once you've picked a sex and a tunic colour for your character, you're in. There's no initial customisation, beyond giving the lady or gentleman a name, no rolling stats or worrying about classes. You're a boy or a girl, and that's your lot. And you appear stood by a small thatched hut, a stall of various fruits and vegetables outside, next to a gently rippling lake. And it's beautiful. Certainly, the game has aged in almost ten years, but not nearly as much as you might expect. On the water lazily bobs a small, wooden boat (agonisingly unavailable to pootle about within), while around you chickens calmly scratch and peck at the grass. It's a scene of idyll.
A man stands to the right, and if you talk to him he impresses upon you with some urgency that there are dangers up the road. Please, he pleads, could you do something about it? But I don't want to. Because right here, by this shack by the lake, seems far too pleasant a thing to spoil with thoughts of satyrs. There are birds twittering, reflections gently undulating in the water, and I just want to sit down, tip my head up toward the sky, and just be.
There's something odd about this moment. This knowledge that my agency in this game is to introduce the death and suffering. If I stay still, it's serene. If I move, I'm off on a couple of dozen hours of (very entertaining) clicking on things until they're dead.