Here is my review of TTON after my first playthrough of the game.
Technical info : I played GOG version on Linux, on a med-end PC, started with 1.0.1 and switched to 1.0.2 when the patch was released mid-game.
Role-play info : I played a "Charming Jack who Brandishes a Silver Tongue", finished with Gold/Blue Tides, and did a "low reload" playthrough (with perhaps half-dozen reloads in total).
The great and awesome
- The world building : The Ninth World is awesome, full of delicious weird and alive with so many details. Everything is weird but in not a silly or unplausible way, with its internal consistency that really gives the impression of being in an alien world - exactly how it should be.
- The writing, at the level required for a worthy Torment successor.
- Most quests, original and interesting, with lots of paths for completion.
- The background of the areas, beautiful, varied in theme/tone, rich with details.
- The overall feel of the game, which is really Torment-ish.
- The music : it's nice and match the ambiance of area, but not as memorable as PsT music was.
- The technical aspect : loading times are very reasonable, no major bug, performances are smooth, got one freeze (during the Crisis at the
end of the Bloom) which prevents me from putting in "great" but else everything worked well.
- The companions : they have interesting quests, backstory and personalities, the best companions in a CRPG in years, not as great as Morte or Dak'kon (but that was a high standard to beat).
- The Crisis system : the UI could be improved, so does the balancing, but the overall system is very interesting, and the variety of different Crisis is refreshing compared to repetitive combat of many CRPGs.
- The Castoff labyrinth : some very interesting things in it, overall nice art, but feels a bit empty.
- The amount of content : with some reviews I was afraid the game would be too short, but it doesn't feel that short (took me 30-40 hours), similar to PsT if you don't count the hours spent in trashmob fights (and Modron maze).
- The Meres : the content (story, writing, art) of the many Meres is good, but they feel (for most of the non-essential ones) too disconnected from the rest of the game, both mechanics-wise and content-wise.
- Equipement : the variety of Cyphers is refreshing, some Artifacts are nice too, but some categories (such as medium might, for Aligern) are lacking.
- The art of the character "sprites" feels a bit mundane and uninspired, for example the "visitants" look very much humans.
- The UI for menus (load/save/options/main menu) feels a bit shallow/cheap.
- The cut content... I really wish (no, not Wish) we could have seen more of M'ra Jolios, and that the Tides/Legacy system was more developped, but well. Glad to know "the Toy" will arrive soon.
- The balance of the game : it felt too easy for me, especially since apart at the very beginning, you can rest more or less freely.
- The economy of the game : you end up with lots of cash in the Bloom but not much to buy in it/after it.
- The level cap (Tiers 4) is reached too early in the game (before the end of the Bloom), it's not specific to TTON, but it's always frustrating to me to reach the level cap early like that. PST didn't have that flaw.
- Give us more of the Oasis of M'ra Jolios (I know that will likely not happen but had to include it).
- Add difficulty settings, I would say one easier and two harder than current difficulty.
- The Crisis feel a bit sluggish at times with all the movement of enemies, there should be a way to accelerate that.
- The Crisis UI could be improved in many ways, for example :
- When equipped with a ranged weapon, it would be nice to see the expected range of the weapon while previewing movement.
- When using an area-of-effect Cypher/ability, it would be great to have a preview of who will be affected.
- It should be possible to click to move outside of allowed movement range, the character just moving as much as he wants in that
- The cursor should reflect more what you are currently doing, sometimes it's not very clear if you did click on the ability or
not/canceled it or not/...
- Allow to delay your turn.
- Clicking somewhere on the map should move the view to that location, like in Infinity Engine games.
- We should be able to ask companions their opinion about various side-quests more frequently, that would make them feel more alive.
- Add a couple of additional Focus for more variety in replays.
- Have some items (Cyphers or Artifacts) that react to your Tides, and give different effects depending on them.
- Add a way to review previous conversations/interactions (scroll-back buffer like in Infinity Engine games, or full fledged logs entries).
Overall an awesome game, especially the world building and writing, thanks inXile and everyone who participated to this. The best CRPG I've played since PsT.
Would have been even better without the cuts (especially the Oasis...), but we should judge a game on what it is (brillant) not on what it could have been (even better).