|Torment: Tides of Numenera|
|release date||February 2017|
|Genre||Role Playing Game (RPG)|
Sometimes they come back. The old-fashioned games come back from an era when the trees were greener and the pixelated figures on the screen more soulful. Crowdfunding and support for old players still give a chance to implement unusual projects that are far from current trends. In the late 90s, several iconic RPGs were released that did not have much commercial success, but left their mark on the industry and the hearts of fans. Among them is the unusual game Planescape: Torment, which could go into oblivion without a worthy replacement. But inXile Entertainment has decided to revive the classic with a spiritual successor, Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Somewhere in the distant future or in some Ninth World, everything is completely different. The changing God revealed the secret of immortality. He transfers his consciousness from one human body to another, living hundreds of lives and changing the reality around him. After changing the carrier, empty bodies gain their consciousness and try to find their place in this world. The Forsaken are not ordinary people, they have special talents and attract special dangers. You are the last of them, the last Outcast.
Your consciousness awakens in an unusual dark place. Trying to orient yourself, you determine the basic parameters for your personality, break the barrier of reality, and land inside an ancient structure. Your appearance, reminiscent of a meteorite fall, attracts the attention of local residents. And as soon as you come to consciousness, you meet two of them. The fall from the sky and the rebirth impress the natives, but they turn out to be experienced people and not the simplest. Therefore, the first squad of adventurers is quickly formed, which sets off to explore the isometric world of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
The hero is trying to fix one ancient device, for which he starts looking for an assistant in this matter. Trying to find a master, we plunge into the ups and downs of local life, perform various tasks for local persons and factions. As we progress through the story, more details are revealed about the world of the Changing God and his «children», who play an important role here. Legendary heroes, founders of ancient cults and brutal killers — they are all the embodiment of an immortal creature or its rejected carriers who left a mark on history. Humanity itself lives on the remains of many ancient civilizations. And although the general life is reminiscent of the pre-industrial era, ancient artifacts and various technical devices have found widespread use. These remnants of technology, numeneres, are used in all areas. They are searched for, studied and new areas of application are found for these fragments of the lost past.
An unusual combination of eras is expressed in the overall style of the game. Powerful machinery sits next to poor shacks, airships soar above stone palaces in the sky, and certain districts resemble landscapes in the spirit of «Roadside Picnic» — steel hangars, unknown technical structures and strange anomalies.
Our adventure itself is based not on the usual fights, but on dialogues and wide variability in actions. The very first meeting with an unfriendly company can be resolved in completely different ways — direct conflict, subtle dialogue, persuasion, threats. And this immediately affects relations with partners — there is an internal conflict in the team and the problem of trust. The interconnectedness of actions in the course of the development of the game will be felt more and more sharply. Many actions have consequences that affect other events, the relationship of partners, or the development of another quest. Side quests can form a chain of related events, and as you complete different tasks, you will unravel a common mystery.
Variation is present in everything. There are different ways to achieve the same goal, but the goals can be different. If the former are determined by the characteristics of the hero, then the goals depend on your preferences and your personal vision of the situation. Actions affect the flows — a kind of balance in the spirit of the dark and light side, only in a much greater variety.
The possibility of developing the situation through dialogues depends both on the attentiveness of the player and on the abilities of the character. As you develop a conversation, you open up new phrases for manipulation, but the success of their use depends on the skills of the hero. Each action requires the application of the efforts of one of the three main parameters — strength, agility, intelligence, plus additional specialized skills. You put effort points into an action, and the more you put in, the more successful it is. At the same time, failure is not always critical, there are other ways and possibilities. Threats require force, persuasion requires intelligence, and some quick manipulation requires speed. Operations with different devices are performed according to the same scheme. For example, you have found an ancient mechanism and are trying to start it, researching various aspects and performing manipulations, relying on specialized skills related to mechanisms, natural sciences or other characteristics.
The desired items or characters may be close to each other, but require a lot of effort through the dialogue system. So you need to read a lot, and you need to delve into everything. At the same time, there are few real actions. Some kind of static flat world is around, but life is in full swing inside, behind the lines of the dialogue menu, a stormy, variable adventure develops. The world of the game is so unusual and multifaceted that trying to understand it with your head drags you into this text adventure. Fortunately, everything is written soundly and cheerfully, there is irony, somewhere pathetic mysticism, but everything is in place, everything is accurate and accurate. In this regard, the game is more successful than Pillars of Eternity, where the pompousness of some dialogues within the framework of a hackneyed theme became boring. There are more dialogues here, but it is read only more cheerfully. So you are waiting for how the new character will surprise you, and what unexpected development the next situation will receive.
On the other hand, there are really few dynamics in the game. Some events are accompanied by some movement of the little man on the screen, but others are presented strictly in text form. There are even classic text quests where everything develops through dialogues against the background of simple illustrations.
There are also fights in the game. But, to be honest, after several hours of intense adventure, the first real battle even caused me a slight dissonance. It turned out that the slightly pumped hero looked completely helpless in the fight with opponents, which was compensated only by the rest of the team members. And although many parameters and skills are associated with dialogues and manipulative methods, the combat system also turns out to be quite deep and varied. Turn-based combat and reminiscent of the first Fallout or the new XCOM games. There is a possibility of action and movement within one turn. There are additional skills and various artifacts with a lethal effect. Opponents strike at each other, changing positions to encircle or put the opponent at a disadvantage, imposing various penalties. By investing effort points in strikes or special moves, you increase the chance of them being implemented.
Swords, clubs, crossbows or technical devices are used as weapons. The arsenal is diverse, although there are few varieties of this or that weapon, and they are not needed. There is no constant fever and the search for a new sword, the complexity develops in stages and there are few combat moments. There is also its own «magic» with the possibility of imposing favorable or negative influences, the ability to heal, and so on.
The battles in the game are called crisis, which clearly conveys the essence of what is happening. If the situation has not received a different resolution, then the sword is the last argument. Sometimes such an outcome is much harder, and it is better to think over the strategy once again, invest in persuasion or deceit. And sometimes even in battle there is a chance to resume negotiations with the enemy.
The locations are not large, but they are saturated in terms of quest places and characters. Tides of Numenera uses the Pillars of Eternity engine and looks about the same or even slightly worse. In Pillars of Eternity, there was an extremely scrupulous attitude to every nuance, and all the landscapes were drawn to the smallest detail. Here, some locations look pale, while others are pleasing to the eye.
The game has a pleasant musical accompaniment. But there is practically no voice acting, single dialogues are accompanied by voices, and those are partially. However, the game is still developing through the text form, and all texts are translated. Without Russian adaptation, only some phrases-descriptions for objects in separate locations remained, which is not important when passing.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is an interesting adventure in a world that attracts with its originality and strangeness. Unusual images, vivid characters and mystical technologies — partly this is a modern «Alice in Wonderland», in a playful way, taking us deeper into the rabbit hole. And all this with a high variability of actions, where each act has different consequences. There are many ways to solve game situations, and most are implemented without the use of force. The emphasis on dialogue and manipulation affects the leveling system, which also looks unusual and places special emphasis. But the combat part is thought out no worse. This is a great role-playing game and a real masterpiece, which, unfortunately, will not appeal to everyone. A narrative that develops through variable dialogues with a rare change of background, hour-long pauses between skirmishes — this will not be to everyone’s liking. Tides of Numenera feels more like an interactive book than the visually rich adventure that the general public is used to. But connoisseurs of classic RPGs should not miss this game.