Review of my 1st play-through (some spoilers)

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svartelric
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Review of my 1st play-through (some spoilers)

Post by svartelric » March 31st, 2017, 2:48 am

So I just finished my first play-through, at about 40 hours with a Gold/Blue dominant Tide. Some thoughts:

COMPANIONS - I chose as companions Tybir, Rhin, Matkina and Aligern (before finding Matkina and after I sent Rhin home). I really liked them, in particular Rhin's story, personality and relationship with the Last Castoff felt really special. Matkina is a total badass, and was fun both as a character and as a combatant. Tybir's story was a bit diluted, but it hit home for me in the three-four occasions where it progressed, really touching. I managed to finish Aligern's quest too, but I had him in the party on and off, so I felt a little less connected to him.

AREAS - I really loved the variety of locations and the detail of the backgrounds, visually they felt really appropriate for the setting and for the story. As far as game hubs go, I wish that Sagus Cliffs was 1-2 areas larger, and that it would be explorable again after the Valley, maybe with some wrap up for some NPCs, or some follow up quests for the initial ones. I think it might have been interesting to offer more than one way to enter the Bloom, also. Speaking of which, it was a great area to explore and absorb, I really liked it. About the end, I can understand some of the complaints I've read, but I don't mind how the whole Labyrinth/Calm area is used, I actually enjoyed the extra work to get back companions and the interactions with the other Castoffs.

MAIN STORY - Great story. I don't get why people felt that the reveal of who the Changing God is so underwhelming, to me it was the best choice the writers did for the story. A great villain doesn't come from who he is personally, but from how he chooses to act based on what happens to him; basically, both in PS:T and T:ToN the Villain is an early version of the Hero, showing us how choices are what make the difference between good and evil, not our intrinsic nature. I liked how many themes and atmospheres were similar to PS:T, but significantly different: the never-ending war; the nigh-immortal protagonist; the many beliefs that drive individuals and factions to extreme actions and consequences; the quest for inner peace and redemption (protagonist and companions); the sense of helplessness in regards to the lack of knowledge (history, how things in the city works, superior entities ruling our existence). The only great difference, which I enjoyed and is tied to the difference in settings, is that PS:T was rooted in a world where rules are clear: rule of three, good vs evil, the Lady of Pain, alignment and the Outlands, etc. In T:ToN everything is blurred, leaving you without a "map" of what is best or right or good: you really have to go through some events, obstacles or quests by trial and error - and that's how adventuring in the Ninth World should feel like, in my opinion.

INVENTORY, JOURNAL - I like the restrictions on the companions' inventory, I like the variety in weapons and armours, although as someone pointed out, some character builds are left without a decent weapon until later on in the game. Aside from that I liked the possible upgrades to the Last Castoff and to the companions' equipment. Oddities and Cyphers were good, and the Merecasters were fun and interesting, I also think there was an adequate amount of those for the dimension of the game world. As for the Journal, I was initially very disappointed by the lack of the Codex, but seeing as we're apparently going to get it later I won't complain, for now.

CHARACTER OPTIONS & COMBAT - Some people thought that the game doesn't offer variety in character creation. I agree strongly that the descriptors and foci for the character are few and underwhelming, and that the classes don't seem to matter that much, at least not as much as dumping all your point in a single Stat. Of course I went for the Intellect route, thinking it would remind the experience with PS:T and being a max-WIS Nameless One. Skills and Esoteries were fun, some are OP in my opinion (e.g. any skill that moves a character across the battlefield) but in general they are well suited for the game. Crisis was very slow and buggy at release, seems better after the patch - also a few critical Crises (Miel Avest, Gullet) feel better now. Some extra fine-tuning would help, though, as it's never very clear where and how far you can move your characthers, or pathing in general.

ENDING - At first I was a bit annoyed that the ending was so tied down to my Tides and previous choices, but considering what I said above it makes sense. I chose to play towards a Gold tide, and the curiosity of the first time player added a Blue tide. That's fine, and it only encourages me to attempt a different path very soon; now, I don't know how hard or easy it will be to get a Red tide, or a Blue/Silver tide, but if I recall correctly, also in PS:T I was struggling to get certain alignment. And that makes sense too, after all, because most of us are driven naturally to doing good actions, saving people and being altruistic. I hope the options to go in a different direction are there and are implemented well enough, but we'll see. Having said all this, the Gold endings I was "allowed" to choose were appropriate: self sacrifice and saving others is consistent with my previous actions and with how I played my Last Castoff, and to be honest, with me as well. So, the game reflected well who I am through my choices, and gave me the corresponding output at the end.

In conclusion, I think the game is solid, it captures the elements I liked in PS:T and the right atmosphere from the Numenera RPG and blends them in one great experience. I think it holds a good re-playability, and the fact that we're getting patches and possibly extra content indicated that this aspect will be further consolidated. I hope Crises get worked on, I hope the Codex for the Journal is added, I hope more descriptors and foci are implemented, but for the rest, I'm really happy with the game and I can't wait to play it again.

VOTE: 8/10
Image <- Tanelorn, a small nostalgia blog.

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