[Review] Thank you for a great game!

For all Torment discussion that does not fit elsewhere. No spoilers allowed.

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[Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by Erasculio » April 30th, 2017, 12:10 pm

The good:

I’m happy Torment is not afraid of making people read. Often we see games restricting themselves to what they can show, or even by trying to add voice acting to everything, not realizing that often those are limitations, not boons. By believing that yes, players are willing to read through a game, Inxile was able to create a far more interesting and vibrant world than if they had to afford extremely expensive CGI videos or similar content.

Combat is almost never required. It’s great to see that there are many smart ways to avoid fighting. While it would have been easy to make a traditional RPG filled with enemies, boss battles and alikes, Tides of Numenera really feels like a successor to Planescape: Torment in how it allows players to avoid combat as much as they want to. The way the game uses stealth in combat, which often allows a “fight” to be won even when using a character with almost zero combat abilities, is really smart.

The unique setting is great. Using the Ninth World and its rules was a great decision – the scenario allows freedom to tell almost any kind of story, within a world filled with unknown possibilities and marvels to see behind every door. At the same time, not using a classic but outdated ruleset like D&D is great – it would not only be repetitive, but also D&D’s rules weren’t really that good when adapted to a computer RPG.

Sargus Cliff. It’s a large, open and bright area filled with interesting locations and characters, just begging to be explored. It’s no surprise that we find all the companions there – it’s the part of the game where it feels like any kind of story could be told. The following areas of the game have either much less content (like Miel Avest, where there’s significantly less to do) or less possibilities (like the Bloom, which feels a lot more repetitive and where just one kind of story is told). I’m glad that the game begins in Sargus Cliff.

Tides of Numenera is not trying to be a copy of Planescape: Torment. I have seen people complaining, “Where is the sarcastic sidekick like Morte?”, or “Where is the long lost love interest like Deionarra?”. Frankly, it would been an insult to Tides of Numenera AND to Planescape: Torment if the newer game were just trying to be a copy of the old one. To be a proper spiritual successor, Tides of Numenera needed to embrace a new world with different characters and a different storyline, and that it does amazingly well.

A great skill system. The “effort” system could have trivialized the skills by allowing everyone to succeed at everything, helped by items that heal stat pools, but it soon became apparent that skills were useful for far more than just stat checks. Perception, Anamnesis, the Lore skills and the Scan Thoughts ability provide a significant insight into the game world for those who want it, and it was great to feel that those insights were earned, not merely given.

The Bad:

The companions don’t talk much. I avoided two companions (left one at the beginning of the game and gave away another) so I could experiment with them in a different playthrough, but their dialogue almost never updates. I enjoyed how they would sometimes interject or comment in the middle of a conversation with someone else, but the loading screen tip telling us to talk often to our companions was simply wrong – they almost never had anything new to say. This is a pity, since some of the potentially more interesting companions also happen to be the quieter ones.

The item system could be a lot better than it is. The Ciphers are never that interesting or useful to deserve the limit in how many can be equipped or the Cipher Sickness. I don’t remember using any of them other than the ones granting permanent stat increases, but very often I had to move them around as the main character would get burdened by them. Likewise, the small lore bits seen in the Oddities were great, but the game never communicated well enough what they were for. Originally I thought Oddities were just flavored vendor trash, but after seeing one being used to help in a quest, I never sold another to see if any would be useful again.

The player characters have very low initiative. One of the few things I strongly disliked in Planescape: Torment was the combat, as the real time with pause system was way too chaotic and messy. The turn-based system in Tides of Numenera is a massive improvement, but often in a fight the player characters would only act after all enemies, leading to deaths before we could even act.

I had mixed feelings about the main storyline and about the merecasters – I liked the small “choose your own adventure” aspect of the latter and how unique they are, but they didn’t have much of an impact on the main game. Torment: Tides of Numenera as a whole is great, though, and a worthy spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment. Thank you, Inxile, for such a great game.

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Re: [Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by phimseto » April 30th, 2017, 3:35 pm

Thanks for this, Erasculio. Detailed reviews like this are always informative for us. We're happy that you liked the game overall!

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Re: [Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by Dork Mage » April 30th, 2017, 3:39 pm

Choice and consequence - you can always bump up initiative during level-up (at the expense of not boosting something else).

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Re: [Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by jsaving » April 30th, 2017, 8:11 pm

Cyphers are definitely too weak to merit carrying, but I'm not sure the devs had much of a choice given the other decisions they made. The game's combat system is so cumbersome that there couldn't be more than 10-20 fights over the course of the game lest players become too frustrated to continue. And once you're only having 10-20 battles over the course of the game, each strong cypher becomes an auto-win button for a *really* big chunk of the game, in contrast to something like Baldur's Gate where you fight so many battles that it would barely matter if you could auto-win a couple of them.

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Re: [Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by TTO » May 1st, 2017, 3:54 pm

jsaving wrote:
April 30th, 2017, 8:11 pm
Cyphers are definitely too weak to merit carrying
Well, really? Non-combat cyphers are useless but not weak; they offer a strong boost which is still rendered useless by how OP effort/edge points are. And as for combat cyphers, they are more powerful than character's abilities at the time when the cypher is found.

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Re: [Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by ThriceP86 » June 7th, 2017, 10:25 pm

I second the OPs comments and I couldn't have said it better myself. I even like this game better than Wasteland 2. Well, like does not really describe it. I ADORE this game! :D

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Re: [Review] Thank you for a great game!

Post by waltc » June 9th, 2017, 6:49 am

Yes, I am now very much enjoying 1.1.0...! Improvements are nice! Great game!

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