Titan Souls is a huge tribute to to overhead games, such as The Legend of Zelda, however it takes huge steps to help differentiate itself from being a clone of anything that has come before it. This game has a feeling of epicness, and that is not done through dramatic storytelling but through a feeling of strict isolation combined with a tense buildup as you approach the next massive Titan battle.
What’s crazy is that Titan Souls does the “one hit death” mechanic correctly. When you face a Titan for the first time, you generally die immediately. As you keep coming back, you slowly learn its pattern and last longer and longer. There is nothing more satisfying than learning, and subsequently mastering, a section of any game and this is what Titan Souls does best.
In order to offer a good balance for your own inherent mortality is the simple, yet complex, boss weak point system. Just like your character, once you find and hit the weak spot, the Titan does in a single hit. This allows for unique battles that offer a variety of ways to take out a menacing foe. It makes it so you have to think outside the box and makes this game feel more like an action-puzzle game than an adventure, which is not a bad thing. Titan Souls also only offers a single weapon, a bow with a single arrow. This arrow can be charged, offering a much quicker shot, better aiming and giving off a feeling of power in each shot. Using your own inherent power, you can also pull an arrow back to you once shot; another aspect of strategy as that also can hit a Titan’s weak point.
The other aspect of Titan Souls is evading enemy attacks. You can run by holding down a button and do rolls in order to quickly dodge attacks. Both are necessary to master as quick evasions are necessary for survival.
One part, that could either be seen as a good or bad thing, is the seemingly unbalanced feeling when going up against different bosses. Each section of Titan Souls allows you to go up against Titans in any order. Some bosses I felt like I was lucky, as I beat them relatively effortlessly, while others took me to a rage inducing level that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Those were the fights where I felt like a master of all things gaming when I conquered them as I felt like I truly earned the victory.
I also liked the ability to defeat bosses in a variety of ways. One example is a boss that is encompassed in ice. When it slides around the room chasing you it hits switches that cause fire to quickly pop up in the center of the room. The Titan slides too slowly to hit the fire itself, however you can melt the boss two different ways. You can try too roll in the perfect line in order to shoot an arrow through the fire and hit the boss, which is extremely tough as the Titan constantly chases after you. The much easier way is to shoot an arrow and focus drag it to you when the boss is in between you and the fire, which is much easier to do. This type of thinking outside the box makes Titan Souls approachable and a highly intelligent experience.
Having fought a soul clone of the character and getting the end credits showed me that I had died 106 times to get to that point. I also found out that there are apparently 18 Titans to defeat and I had only conquered 13! Once all 18 are defeated you fight the true final boss and the game can finally be considered beaten in normal mode. That was a nice little touch and it allows me to go back and enjoy the massive over-world more as I search for the remaining Titans.
Titan Souls was the first new game in a long that truly immersed me in the game, likely due to the slow grind necessary in order to properly master and defeat each Titan. I highly recommend, when playing this game for the first time, that you avoid looking up boss tactics online at all.
The aspect that makes Titan Souls enjoyable is going after seemingly impossible to defeat boss and having that lightbulb go off as you learn the patterns of it. Going about each battle that way makes Titan Souls one of my favorite gaming experiences this generation thus far.