Torment: Tides of Numenera

Who: The Dev studio and the Creator of the setting.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is a Sci-Fi Fantasy RPG made by InXile entertainment. Besides the attention Torment has gotten, InXile were also well know for the release of Wasteland 2. Torment: Tides of Numenera is set in the RPG universe of Numenera, created by Dungeons & Dragons veteran, Monte Cook.

What: Spiritual Successor.

This has been lauded as the spiritual successor to Planescape Torment, released in 1999 put out by Black Isle Studios and Interplay. It is considered by many to be a timeless classic for the CRPG genre. Many games citing it as inspiration can fall short of capturing the strangeness of the Planescape setting and the depth of story Torment weaved. It was a game that is one of my personal favorites and set an incredibly high bar for anyone claiming to come near it quality.

When: A bit behind schedule.

Put up on Kickstarter in the early months of 2013, it had originally been slated for release in December 2014.Sadly the world would not see full released version of Torment: Tides of Numenera until February of 2017. This was after a reasonably length period in Early Access, where players could enjoy the first main area of the game.

Where: Demon Robots and where to fight them.

Set in the Ninth World, Numenera is a interesting setting. It doesn’t deal with the what would we look like in a hundred or even a thousand years. The Ninth World takes us millions and millions of years in to Earths future. The continents have shifted, forming once again a massive super landmass. The planet is littered with the remains of other great civilizations that had climbed to their apex and then fell, for reasons lost to time.

It is a world where humanity has returned to find itself as the dominate race in a world that forgot them. They have clawed their way back to a era of medieval resemblance. The planet around them holding mysteries of vast technological advancements that when used, resemble magic.

As of this review, the game has been released on Windows, OS X, and Linux. For consoles it is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For computers it has both Steam keys and GoG keys available for new purchases and backers of the Kickstarter.

Why: Should I give them my money? Or keeps my shins to myself?

I get excited about video games. In the past, my close friends have accused me of just blindly buying in to hype. My history with the predecessor of this game, Planescape: Torment, marks a formative period in my expectations of video games. The fact that this so-called spiritual successor was placed in one of my favorite settings of current table top rpgs, meant the bar was even higher.

I was not let down.,

They promised a game where every choice you make will have the story unfold in a different way. I have done three different play throughs, with very different characters, and each time felt like a different adventure. The set pieces are all the same from scene to scene, many key events trigger regardless of how you play, but how you react to them and the repercussions of that reaction are what shape the game.

If you are looking for a combat game, you could do worse. But be warned, combat is a bit awkward. Even on my third play through, I found myself making foolish mistakes because the system for fights was less than intuitive. It is something that they have assured their fans they are working on.

The characters are colorfully written, each has a distinct goal, and a backstory with a problem. Each of them needs help some how, and it is up to you to decide if and how they get it. It could have done with more interactions between the NPCs, the few they have scripted are fun, but they just leave me wanting more.

Lots of people have criticized the game for the lack of character customization, and I can see their problem with it. However, I feel it is a throw back to the original Planescape game, where you played a hulking Frankenstein looking guy. At least in Tides we can choose gender.

Many people are furious this game is being as highly reviewed as it has been. They feel because lots of material that was promised in the Kickstarter didn’t make it in the game, the game doesn’t deserve praise. I disagree. The game is fine. Not just fine, excellent. It sets a modern standard for CRPGs, and Wasteland 3 is going to have to blow my brains away to out shine it. I speculated to some friends that inXile would likely start releasing the cut content in small free updates. While I do not know the future of it, they have already promised some of the cut content will be put out.

In the end, this was an excellent game. While marred slightly by a clumsy combat system, lack of creation options, and some promised features that didn’t make the cut due to various legitimate reasons. This game is elevated by its beautiful depiction of the Ninth World, the astonishing level of choices you have in how the story unfolds, and the well written narrative and NPC companions.

A spiritual successor that deserves the CRPG crown and sets a new standard.

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