Torment: Tides of Numenera shows there appears to be a bit of a CRPG (computer role playing game) renaissance going on at the minute with so many coming out over the past few years, not forgetting other successfully backed Kickstarter projects such as inXiles’ other project, Wasteland 2. We also had the great Pillars of Eternity come from a successfully-backed project. There is a lot of good to be had from Kickstarter and so on as it appears to be bringing back old-school style RPGs in a day and age when everything has to be full open-world 3D titles. Even getting enhanced versions of Baldurs Gate 1 & 2 and Icewind Dale have played their part. There was a new expansion for Baldurs Gate Enhanced which came out March 2016, so many years after its original release. It is a great time if you love a game with an in-depth story that you can get your teeth into.
The one I’m reviewing here is finally out today after the 2013 Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been playing it a fair bit for the past few weeks. It follows the old formula of hand-painted environments with 3D-style character models and superb effects for magic and so on, much like its spiritual predecessor Planescape Torment.
The story of the player character known as The Last Castoff is that of rediscovery of yourself, you are the last vessel of an old being known as the Changing God. Essentially, this Changing God jumps from body to body making him eternal and immortal. Little did he know that when he cast off the body he was using, they were re-awakening with no memories of what or who they actually were. Now this has lead to an entity known as The Sorrow wanting to destroy the castoffs and also the Changing God. So it is up to you to find other people like yourself and eventually find said creator to warn of The Sorrow and stop it once and for all. Of course, it is never that simple – you will meet a multitude of characters on your travels, gain companions along the way and of course nothing comes for free so you will be doing numerous side quests to pry bits of information and items from various NPCs and factions.
Torment: Tides of Numenera – PS4 Gameplay – Combat 60FPS – Checkpoint TV
The gameplay mechanics are very intricate – the old adage: ‘easy to learn but harder to master’ comes straight to mind. As an example, instead of choosing the way your character is at the start (Good, Chaotic & Evil from older D&D games), your actions will determine who you are. This is done with Tides – each colour represents different aspects of your psyche and actions. Gold and Blue show that you like to help people out and learn as much as possible; Red is following your own passions and goals; Silver is how you want to be remembered and so on. It is a great mechanic and a nice way to build your character. Other characters that follow you will inevitably agree or disagree with you, not forgetting that you have multiple choices of what you can say during a conversation and they can affect the outcome and how people will think of you.
Now, the combat on Torment: Tides of Numenera is turn based, much like the old Temple of Elemental Evil (thankfully considerably easier to get to grips with). Starting the game, you will choose a class: Glaive, Nano or Jack (or Warrior, Wizard & Rogue), which sets the template for how you are going to play your character, that being one which can be levelled-up to get new skills and abilities. There is also the Numenera, long forgotten technology from by gone ages which can be used during combat to help win a tight situation and so on. These items are considered magical in the ninth age of the world.
Now I do have to say that I generally don’t like turn-based combat and was a little disappointed when I read an update saying that they were going this way instead of real-time with pause, like many of the older Black Isle games. I do quite enjoy the newer X-Com games occasionally, but always feel that turn-based combat tends to be a bit unfair, especially if you accidentally start a fight with a more powerful enemy and they get the first move. I find for the rest of the battle, you’re scrambling to keep characters upright and healthy to fight on as a priority over the enemy. I feel a similar way to the older Final Fantasy games – taking turns to move and hit each other just doesn’t seem right.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game.
Torment: Tides of Numenera – Gamescom 2016 Gameplay – PS4-Magazin
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!