Titan Quest: Ragnarok Review

Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2017-11-17
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

Unfortunately, the quests and the dialogue aren't of the same quality as the graphics.  Like with the main part of the game (and just about every action RPG), the quests are simple affairs, where you're mostly (or maybe entirely) tasked with killing something or finding something.  I had hoped that Pieces Interactive would try to be a little more modern in this regard, and add something new and innovative, or at least add in some choices and consequences, but they seemed pretty content with a cookie cutter approach.

And despite the simple quests, the dialogue is atrocious, to the point where after receiving a quest I wasn't always sure what I was supposed to be doing.  Characters tend to orate paragraphs of text without saying anything, and I couldn't tell if the problem was poor translation or poor writing or both.  Just as a random example, at one point you meet a pair of smiths, and they tell you, "Our craft is forgery, not melee."  Eh?  Worse, you can't even always go to the quest journal to see what your goals are, because half the time quests don't bother to show a current objective.  Luckily, if you explore everywhere, loot everything, and kill everything, then you'll complete most of the quests by mistake (if for no other reason) and make it through the game.

Another problem I had with the DLC is that I don't know Norse mythology nearly as well as Greek mythology.  If you mention Greek names like Odysseus, Agamemnon and Priam to me, then I can tell you a few things about them, including what they did during the Trojan War.  But a lot of the Norse names are meaningless to me, and they sort of look like somebody gave up on unscrambling a Jumble.  Pieces Interactive even managed to exacerbate this problem by using less popular names for some of the key people and places.  For example, near the end of the game you go to Valhalla and meet Odin, but Pieces Interactive used the names Valholl and Wodan instead, which is likely to leave most people confused.  Once again, this might reflect the indifferent translating effort the DLC received, but in any case I didn't connect very well with the content.

Luckily, the combat remains effective, and that might be the most important thing for an action RPG.  Piece Interactive reused a lot of assets from the first part of the game, so you'll see more than a few harpies and turtles and bats, but they also created numerous new creatures, like trolls and centipedes and giants.  Plus, enemies have learned a few new tricks.  Trolls, for example, are pack hunters, and if you attack one then all the trolls in the area will converge on you.  So between the new creatures and the new environments, the combat stays fresh enough to last the entire DLC.  The difficulty is also fine for the most part.  My character died a few times while trying to prevent Ragnarok, but the boss battles (and particularly the final boss battle) were way too easy, and didn't provide any memorable moments.

Other Additions

Along with the major additions, Pieces Interactive also added some smaller things.  These things include strength-based throwing weapons (so you don't have to rely on dexterity-based bows for ranged attacks), a way to improve legendary equipment, and an increase in the level cap from 75 to 85.

Pieces Interactive also made some minor changes to the first four acts of the game, where they hid a collection of "spell pieces."  If you can find all of the pieces, then you'll be able to put them together to form a key, which will give you access to a secret temple.  This temple is much like the secret area from the Immortal Throne DLC, where you can fight strange creatures named after the developers, and also loot some nice equipment.

Conclusion

Overall, Titan Quest: Ragnarok was a mixed bag for me.  The intent and the design of the DLC seemed fine, but the writing left a lot to be desired, and the references to Norse mythology didn't work for me as well as the Greek mythology references from the main part of the game.  Worse, perhaps, is that it didn't seem like developer Pieces Interactive was trying very hard.  They basically added exactly what Iron Lore added for their DLC -- a new mastery, a new act, and a secret area -- and they stopped there.  Innovation and creativity didn't make the trip.

But still, the new mastery is nice enough, the combat works well enough, and the additional locations are effectively designed.  So the Ragnarok DLC gives you 15-20 hours of perfectly acceptable content, provided you just want to wander around and kill stuff, or if you've been looking for a reason to run through Titan Quest again.  If that's all you need, then Ragnarok is a worthwhile purchase, although you might want to wait for a sale before plunking down your money.