I recently started playing Grim Dawn – a game based on the same engine as Titan Quest. I have been enjoying this game immensely – it reminds me of a combination of Titan Quest and Path of Exile and so hits all the right keys to make an enjoyable game for me.
In terms of setting, I see the most similarity to Path of Exile. Grim Dawn has grim-dark fantasy at the core, and it expresses this in a lot of ways. First, and most obvious are the environmental details – the first “town” is a prison, the buildings left standing are barely so, and finding a house with a dead body is far more likely than finding someone still living there. While this isn’t my favorite fantasy setting, it actually really works for Grim Dawn because no one is looking for a hero, which makes the protagonist untrusted, even as he saves someone.
Mechanically, it is very similar to Titan Quest – it has constructed levels (not randomly generated) which feel really good to adventure around on. It also has the dual-class system, which I really like to give some variety in how my character plays. This is where I just really enjoy playing Grim Dawn – its mechanics are exactly what I enjoy most about this type of game, and it satisfies that exceptionally well.
Grim Dawn did manage to surprise though – there have been a couple of instances where I’ve had to make some very tough choices. Whether they really mean anything, I don’t know yet, but certainly felt weighty. For instance, I found a young blacksmith just off the beaten path, and he described his mentor as an old, stodgy man who only cared about arming the military, whereas he really felt that protecting the common man was better. He paints his mentor in a very bad light, and then asks you to get his mentor’s hammer – to be a decent blacksmith, he needed that hammer, and would help you out if you got it for him. When you later find his mentor, you can talk to him, and are basically presented with three options – kill him and take the hammer, talk him in to grudgingly giving it up, or ask him to use the hammer to help you. None of these are clearly better than the others from a gameplay perspective (unless they are, and I just don’t know it), but provide an opportunity to build your own character a bit, and make choices that affect the world in little ways – not just the grand sweeping ways of a hero saving the world. These little role-play opportunities present themselves irregularly, but are really cool when they do show up and add a lot to the world.
Overall, I would say that I am about a quarter of the way through the game (just a guess), so I’m excited to see how the game evolves as I inevitably play it a lot over the coming months.