Titan Souls Review

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Posted April 17, 2015 by Chris White in Video Games

Developed by: Acid Nerve

Published by: Devolver Digital

Release date: 14th April

Available on: PS4, PS Vita, PC

 

Titan Souls is a game than requires an abundance of patience. If you want to finish this short and gruelling experience with your sanity intact, for God’s sake breathe, stay calm and don’t give up. About an hour into playing, I was shouting at my PS Vita screen, resenting every single second of my battle with Vinethesis, one of the botanical fiends of the game. “This isn’t right!” I kept yelling; time and time again I fell at the hands (or tentacles) of one of the Titans’ harder bosses. I toyed with the idea of quitting; I wasn’t even half the way through the game but I’d had enough already. I was furious. My blood was on fire and my tongue was poisoning the air with blue cursing. I always had a chance to walk away and play something else but for some reason, I kept playing. I kept fighting and I beat that damn plant. I don’t know why I kept going but I did. That’s the thing with Titan Souls; you get used to putting yourself through hell for some kind of acceptance in a world that couldn’t care less about you.

You start off in a world that exists between life and death. It is a world inhabited by nothing but these gargantuan Titans and it is your job (as a nameless boy) to destroy them with a single arrow and pinpoint precision. That’s it; I honestly can’t tell you much more about its message or narrative. I only ever encountered two or three lines of dialogue in my play through which felt pointless and out of place, giving me nothing to flesh out the weak and generic story that sat in the background, baring no importance to the game whatsoever. You don’t really need it though; in fact a story would only complicate matters and detract from the only thing that mattered: conquering this hell you choose to dwell in.

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In this top-down adventure which is very reminiscent of the old Zelda adventures of old, you are walking from one place to the next, discovering a new Titan and taking them down, finding their weak spot and stealing their soul. Gameplay is straightforward. As mentioned before, you have one arrow that you can fire at any point; however you need to be careful with your shot, otherwise you will pay the consequences. In the blink of an eye, your opponent will take you out so if you are without your one and only chance at victory, death will find you, repeatedly. Once fired, you can summon your arrow back but you cannot move in this process (which can take up to three or four seconds dependant on the force of the original shot) and this can give the Titan a perfect opportunity to kill you. The only other action you can give your little 8-bit hero is roll. This is an effective move that can help you dodge the various projectiles and attacks of some of the more dangerous titans in the game. In my opinion, the greatest idea in Titan Souls is the fragility and intensity of every battle. Yes, you can die with one touch but so can the titan. Once you discover their weak spot, you can take them out within seconds. I uncovered certain titan’s weak spots quicker than others. Battles can take seconds or minutes depending on your observations and awareness. I’m sure that at least two of the bosses in Titan Souls took me well over half an hour each but they felt like days. I guess that’s the charm though, if you can call it that.

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As for the world itself, I wasn’t blown away by the setting. Although there are different areas of the map, there aren’t more than ten colours in its palette and I was never amazed by my surroundings. If anything, the bland nature of this milieu was just something I had to traverse in order to get to the next titan. There are many save points where you will respawn from after death and in most cases, they aren’t too far away from the last boss that killed you. In some cases though, you can take a little longer to return and this can become infuriating, especially if you are fighting the same titan for a thirtieth time.

One of Titan Souls best aspects is the music. I heard many excellent melodies and movements that fitted beautifully into the game. There was full-on orchestration and minimalistic guitar pieces that make up the soundtrack, each one playing an important role in bringing this experience come to life. For the most part, I trusted the music to soothe me and help me to realise that what I was actually doing would be worth it in the end. When the harrowing nature of the game got too much, I could rely on the excellent score by David Fenn to make me feel a million times better.

Overall, Titan Souls is a good game that makes you a better gamer for it. It is quite clear that Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus are huge influences to the game but Titan Souls is still its own. If anything, it pays homage to these masterpieces and uses their best features to make it the game it is. I will never replay the game, despite offering me new features upon completion (you are given three new modes: no roll mode, no run mode and iron mode—a one death mode that restarts the game). I hated the experience just as much as I loved it. The ending gave me no sense of achievement and that disappointed me. I had been through a horrid nightmare and I received no fanfare at the finishing line, no applause and no reward but I somehow felt a great sense of achievement, even if there was nothing there visually. Acid Nerve have created something special, that’s for sure but for me, I want to enjoy the whole experience of a game and I didn’t find that at all. I don’t know why I persevered but I’m glad I did, if only to say that I conquered Titan Souls, even if my final death count was 295. My nerves, psyche and life will be better for never setting foot in the world of Titan Souls again but my pride and belief in myself will carry on into my future gaming endeavours.

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About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.