Titan Quest: Eternal Embers PC Review

Titan Quest: Eternal Embers doesn’t improve something already good.

By Fragnarok, Posted 14 Jan 2022

Titan Quest: Eternal Embers is the third expansion to THQ Nordic’s 2006 Titan Quest, though designed by new developer Digital Arrow. Eternal Embers takes players towards the Far East, changing the setting to an Asian focused theme. This includes adaptations of real mythology like the Jade Emperor and Dragon King of the Four Seas. However, some of the expansion also takes players back to Egypt, leading to a total of four new major questlines. 

Titan Quest, Eternal Embers, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Digital Arrow, THQ Nordic

Designed to be played after Atlantis, Eternal Embers requires players to use a character on the Legendary difficulty setting. Players can now make this selection right at the character creation menu, and even have some options to quickly get to level 70. But this also means that going back to older content - including the other two expansions - will wind up being extremely pointless. It can also make it more restrictive to play in online multiplayer, as other players will need to have reached the same level.

If opting for this instantly powered character, players will need to manually distribute all of their stat and mastery points right away. The game will also provide chests with a few suitable options for level 70 weapons, armor, and potions. This is paramount that players make their build right away, as even the first batch of foes can be dangerous without allocating said points. However, there is also the option of quickly teleporting back to Helos to train or purchase items. This should easily be the best option for those that are either new to Titan Quest or haven’t played in some time.

Titan Quest, Eternal Embers, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Digital Arrow, THQ Nordic

The big addition to Eternal Embers is a new Mastery in the form of Neidan. The Neidan option can even be picked by lower-level characters not yet in Eternal Embers zones. This art concentrates on potent alchemy, leading to buffs and elemental attacks. It also cross-classes with all the other masteries, including those introduced from older expansions. Early skills of Neidan include increased health regeneration, lowering enemy defenses, and lightning damage. Later options include summoning a terracotta warrior and an explosive that lets loose a random element. 

How helpful Neidan winds up depending on the other selected mastery and player’s style. Neidan mostly provides protection and some damage. Players may find it fitting best with another tough mastery like Defense or Earth, though others may find niches with Rouge or Hunting.

Titan Quest, Eternal Embers, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Digital Arrow, THQ Nordic

Titan Quest is greatly showing its age as a game over 15 years old. Almost all of the animations remain floaty and non-threatening, making it a bit hard to parse incoming damage and dangers. Even with the improvements from Anniversary Edition, Eternal Embers doesn’t do enough to change graphics or presentation; though doing so may make it strange jumping between expansions. Still, it does heavily raise the question of why release an expansion for such an outdated product without serious revamps.

Though the building architecture has a distinctive Asian aesthetic, most of the enemies, items, and terrain is more generic. It often feels like Digital Arrow is modding existing Titan Quest assets rather than making anything new or polished. This is especially apparent as large chunks of the expansion happen in the wilderness or inside caves, making the larger setting irrelevant. Outside of visuals, this also means lots of encounters often feel like remixes or full rehashes of past Titan Quest fights. Still, if it includes previously fun battles then the fights themselves will still be enjoyable.

Titan Quest, Eternal Embers, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Digital Arrow, THQ Nordic

In all, Eternal Embers offers around 15 hours of new content, spread between exploring, combat, and questing. But very little of it will feel fresh or impactful. This will be most jarring when the expansion suddenly steers back to Egypt, the original Act 2 hub. It comes off as less of a nostalgic callback and more of a lack of ideas to totally flesh out the Far East. Even once the players get their footing with the Egypt setting, they will just as soon be wisped back to the Far East for one final boss fight.

Eternal Embers can be great fun for hardcore Titan Quest fans. However, despite having all sorts of quick onboarding options Eternal Embers is not the right place to start the whole experience. Players should pick up Titan Quest on its own, and if they like it try Ragnarok, and then Atlantis. Only then after having Atlantis fresh in their minds should one consider purchasing Eternal Embers for its zones, battles, and Mastery features.
 

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): THQ Nordic
Developer(s): Digital Arrow, THQ Nordic
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Adventure, Greece, Historical, Mythical
Release Date: 2021-12-04

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