Path of Titans had me wondering who hasn’t wanted to play as a dinosaur? Whether watching Jurassic Park or playing through the opening of ARK: Survival Evolved, who hasn’t thought of the wondrous possibilities of playing as one of these magnificent saurians, chasing down herds of herbivores as a predator or foraging in forests during a time when nature built everything large?
Admittedly, playing as a dinosaur isn’t new in video games, but those games haven’t quite scratched the itch of being a terrible lizard living 65 million years in the past! Enter Alderon Games who’ve decided that it’s time to take us way, way, way back into prehistory to live out our dinosaur fantasies.
In theory, Path of Titans is an open-world dinosaur MMO based on the template established by games such as Conan Exiles with its open-ended scope. The game is a survival MMO, in which you play as either a carnivore or herbivore, and try not to get killed in an unforgiving world.
Alderon Games were kind enough to provide us with a Founders key to test out our survival skills but, before we take a dive into prehistoric shenanigans, it must be noted that Path of Titans is still in active development. As such, not all of the game’s features have been implemented yet and it can feel barebones. With that in mind, we’re covering this as a preview, rather than a review, as it would be unfair to attach a score to a game that has yet to hit v1.0. That said, we’ll cover its current state, implemented features, and potential.
I earlier suggested Path of Titans takes its cue from survival/crafting games such as Conan Exiles but, of course, you aren’t going to do any crafting. What you do get is a massive map for you to try to survive in. After choosing from one of twenty-six dinosaur variants, you can play in either a multiplayer PvP mode or a single-player adventure mode. The multiplayer mode features a brief tutorial on how to survive in the primeval past, whereas the adventure mode just dumps you into the single-player world with no fanfare whatsoever leaving you to figure it out as you go along.
Now, as with games like Conan Exiles and ARK: Survival Evolved, you have to make sure you’re constantly fed and hydrated – think managing hunger and water meters. There’s a stamina bar to limit your time spent sprinting or swimming – assuming your chosen dino is capable of such things – but it primarily governs various attacks such as claw swipes and bites that have brief cool-down times before you can use them again.
You start off as a juvenile dinosaur and get to grow into an adult by gaining XP in the world, unlocking new attacks as you age, and watching your size increase. Each dinosaur has its own pros and cons and while many people will most likely start their journey off with the iconic T-Rex, they’ll soon discover it can’t sprint, making for a rather slow trek if you want to anywhere. You’ll also discover the typically docile triceratops is a pretty formidable herbivore opponent when you’re hungry.
The game’s quest system is incredibly simple and repetitive though. Whether you’re a herbivore or a carnivore, you’ll still find yourself having to collect flowers and acorns or deliver branches to specific places (for nests?). Each region of the map is full of these cookie-cutter quests to grind for experience, while the class-based quests roll around with similar objectives each time – typically sending you to specific areas of the map or tasking you with killing a certain amount of a specific critter.
Right now, in terms of quests, that’s all there is to do. Their only purpose is to provide you with XP and “Marks”, which functions as the currency that you can use to buy those new attacks or, better yet, customise your dinosaur’s skin. Oh, and you can customise your lair as well. If you head on over to a Home cave, you can expand its rooms and customise them with placeable props, such as different plants. It’s weird.
One of the Path of Titans‘ bullet-point features is that the servers will support up to 200 players on a map, along with AI dinosaurs and other critters. Right now, the functioning servers support a much smaller total population of players and AI dinosaurs have yet to be implemented.
So, whether you’re into SP or MP modes, the game is. . . quite empty. At the moment there are only four small critters to hunt, who pop out of the same sort of burrows, with a randomised location. This currently makes the prehistoric era feel lifeless.
Even jumping into the MP mode, you’re left with the same empty real estate. The chances of actually seeing another player, if you’re not willing to use the chat box and join a group, is incredibly random. It took me well over 4-5 hours before I randomly ran into another player-controlled dinosaur. An encounter that ended just about as well as you’d expect. In the rare event you encounter another player, it’s also a toss up as to whether they’ll just run from you or attack you on sight.
If you’re willing to brave the MP waters with strangers, you can group up to complete quests or hunt down other dinosaurs. Right now, there’s a whole bunch of cave camping going on. Although the official servers aren’t at full capacity just yet, plenty of player servers are up and running.
Another positive is that Path of Titans already supports mod support and there’s already a new bunch of content you can download, ranging from new maps to new dinosaurs. However, it seems these can only be used in private- or player-servers and not the official one just yet.
Sticking with positives, the game looks quite nice with some lush environments on display. The stars of the show, however, are the dinosaurs themselves, which are wonderfully modeled and animated – with a nice little helping of head-tracking for your saurian based on your camera position.
On the right path…
When I started Path of Titans, I wasn’t sure what to expect and my initial impressions weren’t entirely positive. However, after a good couple of hours of playing – coming to accept the random luck element when I was predated by larger dinosaurs – Path of Titans presented a rotating gameplay loop that felt rather sublime and addictive. There’s a tranquil sense of getting somewhere without any form of real pressure right now. It provides an intriguing and compelling sense of satisfaction as I simply spent time exploring the world and watching my Allosaurus grow.
That said, Path of Titans still feels very much like an evolving demo. There’s an assortment of niggles and changes that need ironing out, such as server issues causing rubber-banding and lag, and a map that could do with named markers for easier navigation.
There’s still a long road ahead for this game but I can’t wait to see it branch out of this preview stage and morph into a more feature-complete version. Specifically, I’m looking forward to environments full of AI-driven dinos as I feel there’s going to be a lot of potential for user-driven dynamic gameplay. You can be certain we’ll be keeping an eye on this as development continues.
A preview code for Path of Titans was provided to gameblur by the publisher.