Nothing New in this ARPG
It seems like there has been no shortage of ARPGs (or Action Role Playing Games) to hit the market lately. One might say that has something to do with the recent-ish release of Diablo 3 and other developers trying to get a small piece of that pie. Personally I welcome the competition. I love the ARPG genre and would love to see it expand so I can get my hands on more click-and-loot fest goodness. Taking said games online as much as possible also seems to be a current trend with a good number of hybrid ARPG/MMO style games hitting the market. I’ve recently been taking one such title, The Lost Titans, for a spin. But it’s not quite on par with those high-profile releases. Read on to see why.
Aesthetics - 7/10:
The first thing that will jump out at most people is the art style. A lot of folks will likely label The Lost Titans as WoW-alike or a WoW-Clone, as has become tradition since World of Warcraft hit the market. I tend to try to shy away from such labeling. The Lost Titans employs the same over-the-top cartoonish and exaggerated style, however. Weapons are larger than life. Colors are rich and overly vibrant. There’s not a lot of minute detail.
Even with this “also-ran” aesthetic, graphically The Lost Titans looks really nice. Basically it is composed of 3D objects placed in a 2D world. You’re playing from an isometric top down point of view, as you tend to do in these types of games. But worth noting is that all of the objects in the environment, such as trees and rocks etc. are, well… fake for lack of a better word. When your character is on auto-run, he’ll run right through them. Kind of kills the immersion factor of the game a little, but it definitely reduces the potential pathing issues immensely.
Gameplay – 6/10:
The story is pretty simple. It’s based very loosely on mythology. There’s a war between two titans, and the one who is your leader has been defeated leading to chaos and invasion and all that loveliness. You play as a newly graduated ‘Warrior of Light’. You’ll start by creating a character, which consists of choosing male or female, picking from a handful of facial options and hair colors and finally choosing between Ranger, Warrior or Mage. Then you’re presented with a couple of really short and easy quests which act as a tutorial of sorts and also represent your character finishing “Warrior of Light Academy” or whatever it’s called. Seriously, they’re almost pointless they’re so easy. They basically consist of a series of “Go talk to
Speaking of monsters, some of the most annoying things I’ve seen in this game, or even any game I’ve ever played, are the monsters in the wilderness. When you finish the tutorial and get to the first ‘real’ area, a town being besieged by Archers, you literally walk through a field littered by dozens Archers just standing there. You get into town, talk to your target, and he sends you back out to kill a handful of them. So you go out, pick a couple out of the dozens standing around frozen, kill them, and then head back into town. Everywhere you go, if the monster isn’t aggressive, they’re just standing there. Generally they huddle in large numbers, just standing around, no actions, no animations, nothing… just waiting to be attacked. Once you get into the dungeons the monsters tend to be agro, which removes this annoyance, but still, the first monsters you’ll see in the game are just static and pathetic. Did I mention TLT is kind of easy?
And speaking of dungeons, as an ARPG, you’ve probably guessed you’ll be spending a lot of time in them. Most of the quests involve sending you into a dungeon of some sort, killing X number of a certain monster and/or a boss and finding someone if you’re really lucky. You’ll go back and forth to the same dungeons multiple times. You can change the difficulty of the place after you’ve completed it once, but honestly, I found no difference between ‘Easy’ and ‘Nightmare’, I breezed through both without much of a challenge.
As you level up you’ll get access to higher levels of gear, naturally. You’ll also earn stars which can be used to upgrade your skills making them more powerful. Each piece of gear you have can also be upgraded to a set level, depending on the item. I came across some that had a maximum upgrade level of +4 up to +20. All in all, there are some fun systems to help improve your character and abilities and help make it feel you’re actually progressing as you play. Levels come fast and easy, gear drops fairly regularly. There’s a definite constant sense of accomplishment, which is key in an ARPG.
Polish – 6/10:
I have to admit, for a browser-based game, it plays amazingly well. The only thing you have to download and install is a very small plugin which takes all of about ten seconds to download and install combined. After that, things flow very smoothly and well. For a game based in a browser, the graphics are surprisingly good. Sure, if this were a $60 console title I’d be a bit disappointed, but for a free to play game, where most developers tend to tone things down, it was actually pleasantly surprising to see such nice graphics. There are also some fairly annoying issues with the text boxes as far as display and translations go, but really, we’ve come to expect that with every game that gets ported from overseas lately.
Innovation – 4/10:
There really is no attempt to reinvent the wheel here. It’s an ARPG in every sense of the word. It gives you what you’d expect from a game of this ilk in the exact ways you’d expect it without anything added, changed or innovated. Unless you count the fact that it is played in a browser. I did give them a couple points for managing to fit it into such a small download and install process. That was somewhat impressive. Other than that, there really isn’t much here you haven’t seen before.
Naturally there’s an item shop to try to get you to crack open the wallet. It’s kind of shoved in your face a little too much for my tastes. You instantly get a “quest” to become a “VIP” player, which is a status you buy. You’re also fairly constantly asked if you want to buy gold. I’m far more likely to spend money on a game when it isn’t constantly being shoved down my throat like it was here. However, if you’re capable of overlooking the shop and all the repeated reminders that it is there and you should throw money at it, there is a lot to do in The Lost Titans without spending money. It’s repetitive and will get boring fairly quickly, but it is free, so that’s ok for a while.
Longevity – 4/10:
All ARPGs come with a certain degree of repetitiveness; it’s the nature of the beast. The Lost Titans seems to be quite a bit more so though. Maybe it’s that you’re sent back to the same dungeon multiple times in a row in a quest series. I don’t know, but I definitely felt like I was doing the same thing over and over more than in other such games. Also, as I mentioned above, there’s not really any sense of challenge. Even when I took on a dungeon set to the Nightmare difficulty I was never in danger of dying. Between that and how easy the quests are when you just constantly click on the target’s name and auto-navigate from point A to point B, it all just becomes a long brain-numbingly boring repetitive grind fest.
Social – 4/10:
There really isn’t much point in being very social in The Lost Titans that I could find, other than just the need/desire to talk to strange people. As I’ve pointed out a couple times above, there is little to no challenge to be found in the game, so the need to group to accomplish things is taken away. Plus, as a browser game, most people don’t tend to play such things for the social aspect. At least everyone I know who plays browser-based games, they tend to be a quick five to thirty minutes here and there during breaks at work or school type of thing. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, and I’m betting there are people out there without PCs capable of handling Diablo 3 or Torchlight or MMOs who use browser based gaming as a way around that. But really, when it is all said and done, there really isn’t much social action to be found in The Lost Titans, and you won’t miss or need it either.
The Lost Titans was mildly impressive from a technological point of view as a browser-based game. It has decent graphics as well, given its confines. But if you take the “browser-based” criteria away, there really isn’t much to be impressed about here. It is a standard, bland Action Role Playing Game that doesn’t bring much of anything new to the table. It has generic classes, generic enemies, a weak story, little to no challenge and an incredibly heavy-handed helping of repetitiveness.