My TTON review

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My TTON review

Post by natzy » April 18th, 2017, 6:06 am

First of all I am not a native speaking English person and second, this is my first attempt of a larger review, so I'm sorry if it doesn't make any sense :)


If you ask anyone who played CRPG’s in the 90’s they will remember Planescape Torment (PS:T) as one of the best writing game ever.
It was a game that had mixed feelings just like the second one has now with the exception being that even the major media gaming magazines complained about the bugs and the shallow combat back in 1999. Time passed and it’s now considered the best in it’s genre mainly because it had a different approach from mainstream RPG’s. The person responsible for the way PS:T was made is Chris Avellone, the man that worked also on Fallout 1, 2, New Vegas, the recent Pillars of Eternity and even Torment Tides of Numenera (T:ToN).
I am not going to compare PS:T to T:ToN very much because it is set in another universe: Numenera as oppose to Planescape.


The end of the Early Acces

T:ToN has been in development for over 4 years by InXile Entertainment with Colin McComb as the Director, the company that developed Wasteland 2 and has the CEO Brian Fargo, the man behind Black Isle studios, responsible for the greatest RPG’s back in mid 90’s.Torment Tides of Numenera (T:ToN) was the most successful crowd funded RPG on Kickstarter with over 4 million dollars invested by the backers so, the expectation was high.
The game was first “launched” as an Early Access (EA) title in January 2016, first only for important backers, then for Steam, allowing players to use the feedback button included in the game and see about half of the entire final experience. Just like they did with Wasteland 2 except that the players were informed that only a small part of the game was in the EA. The main thing that most of the players are disappointed with InXile was the lack of communication with the players after the crowd funding campaign, not only the company delayed the game, but in August of last year they also announced Techland as their publisher, and the release of the game on console (they didn’t told the backers the game was intended for console release in the Kickstarter campaign, also players discovered there were cuts in the game and the company didn’t communicate with the backers until near release date). So, now you can understand that the user reviews were not great after release, even though the majority of the media gave the game high scores. Since then, developers announced that they will bring back content in a later updates for free, also they will include the much needed codex and improvement to the crisis system.

Fallen to Earth :
The game starts with you falling from the moon, as the last castoff, a leftover body of the Changing God (who managed to cheat death by throwing his consciousness to other bodies without knowing that a new one will emerge once he left for another body).
Entire falling scene is written without any images and you have the option to choose information about where you are and who you are but also, you can choose to accelerate the fall and end your life, right there, in your first 5 minutes of the game. That’s exactly what the game does, it lets the player choose how he will handle the entire game.
After the fall, you are given options to determine what kind of a character you are by resolving some situations using flashbacks from the Changing God. You will learn that even failing the tasks the game gives you, will serve as alternative results rather than the punishment most games give you nowadays.
I have to say that in the end of the first scene, the game really managed to choose exactly the kind of character I wanted to be, but the game lets you change the settings if you want. The classes of the game are 3 in number, as with 3 main stats The Glaive (warrior that uses Might), The Jack (jack of all trades - Might, Speed and Intellect) and the Nano (Wizard specialize in Intelligence). It’s not as simple as you might think since there are also other stats the game offers and gives the players the chance of trying different play styles if they choose to replay.
With the character build over, you now will meet the first crisis (encounter) were your enemy named The Sorrow appears, offering you a way to learn how the combat works and giving you your first chance to act as a pacifist without using your weapon, and you can do that in the hole game. I will remind you now of the first game, PS:T that has mandatory combat compared to T:ToN. The combat in the game is turned based while PS:T had real time with pause.
After you concluded the combat tutorial you will meet Aligern and Callistege, 2 of the 6 companions that the game has to offer and you can keep only one of them throughout the game. When you finish talking to your companions and exit the dome you fell in, you are then introduced to the bizarre world of Numenera, a world like no other set on Earth a billion years in the future. It’s a very interesting world I might add, set in the 9th World, an escape from the traditional fantasy just like its predecessor did. Right here, in the Rift of the Fallen Worlds you will encounter your 2nd crisis and have a lot of options to play it differently each time and from there on you are free to do quests is what order you fashion. But be advised! Some of them are timed quests and if you rest, you can end up failing them.
The game currency is shins and most of the objects you will find in the game are Numenera objects (basically everything that has lost the initial meaning of the object) that consist of ciphers and oddities. Ciphers are powerful items that mostly can be used only once, while oddities are mostly just for selling.
You gain Tiers by gaining experience up to 4 but each tier has 4 stages of advancement so we have about 16 Levels to advance our characters.
Just like in PS:T when you die, most of the game will get you to the Labyrinth of your mind, were you can interact with different dead people or other constructs of your mind. From the Labyrinth you can go back to the real world with your life restored so the game won’t end if you die. In a lot of times failure also results in interesting outcomes and can give you other items or different results.
My first play was completed in about 25 hours and the 2nd in 50h. The reason I’m saying this is because well, the way you play influences how long the game is, how much combat you will have and how difficult the game is because as it is now, the game has no difficulty levels. You will have to read a lot, everything you do or even see is described in detail.

Critical failure :
The challenges of the game in dialogues where you can use your stats are pretty easy to resolve, especially after the first city, so the game feels the need of a greater challenge in the future.
I expected more voice overs from the most important characters of the game, especially, since at the start the falling is fully voiced. I really hope they will add more, I know it's easier to image how the character sounds, but there are too few moments like these.
Another thing I didn't quite enjoy was the lack of a world map. The game takes you from one location to another and advice you to finish everything before leaving an area.
Of course I didn't yet talk about the interface that looks like a console one, without a log in battle or even in dialogue. We don't have a codex either but thankfully it will be added in the future.
Character portraits are somewhat ugly, but that, along with other minor aspects can already be fixed with a mod posted on steam.
The game has bugs, some of them require a previous load, some of them can make you laugh but, the game is more enjoyable then Wasteland 2 was first launched, that game was a mess, especially after the first part. So InXile seems to had learned from previous mistakes and improved the quality of the game, I only had minor bugs.
Critical succes :
What has made into the final game with all the cuts and delays it’s superb, It’s detailed world full of interesting characters to meet and the side quests are very interesting. We have a robot who wants to have children, an octopus (Nychthemeron) that can only talk at night, and you can make it night just for that alone, you will meet a cult that worships the Changing God and you can tell them that you really are him to sleep for free. We meet cannibals who eat the dead to preserve their memories or people that fight in the endless battle between the Changing God's army and the opposing force.
It really is a joy to read every interesting opinion that a character has. All quests can be resolved in multiple ways.
The most interesting part of the game comes after the first major city, in the Endless Gate I had a great time listening to Inifere and trying to solve all the possible outcomes. Also, that holds one of the hardest fights that can lead to game over screen if you fail, and of course if you choose to fight. After that , aside from Miel Avast, the next major hub will be the Bloom written by George Zeits who is responsible for Mask of the Betrayer from Neverwinter Nights 2.
The Bloom area is where the game really shines, it shows it’s full potential by using the setting, writing and the great soundtrack from Mark Morgan (same composer from PS:T, Fallout, Wasteland 2)
Some examples from the Bloom : a robot who collects hosts that are only beautiful, a spaceship that has smashed into the bloom - that is huge monster like where people live, trade and so on. You can also find out what different mows want and feed them people or even your companions in order to open portals to other dimensions. It all feels very alive, and well put together.

There’s a unique crisis system here that involves using your party members to distract a tour guide while you steal an important quest item, if you resolve to violence the battle will be almost impossible. The other companions you can find throughout the game are Tybir, Rhin and Erritis. Rhin is interesting because it’s a kid that can talk to Gods and Erritis, well, he is written by Chris Avellone and you can enjoy his full potential only if you choose a certain class with a certain ability. Tybir is just the funny guy in the game, and well, that’s about it. The characters while being interesting it can't compare to PS:T.
Graphics in the game are good, especially in the bloom area, I like that we are able to zoom in very close, about the size of PS:T characters.
I have read on forums that people think T:ToN is lacking in humor but that’s not true, the game has humor but a more mature one then the first.
The whole story of the game is great written and you can have different endings based on your choices and the Tides. The Tides serve as a kind of alignment system, but a more complex one, because it can change depending on what you say to a character.

Another great addition to the game are the meres : devices that can help you get into someone's memory and change the future, there are some that you need to interact because of the story but most of them are scattered throughout the game for the player to find them.
Conclusion: I will recommend the game despite it's flaws and cut content, it’s a rough gem that can suck you into the great written story, a story that was written by 6 different actual writers and it’s complexity and narrative, detailed characters, choices that matter and reactivity all over the place will make Torment Tides of Numenera a game hard to miss for anyone that likes a real RPG and don’t bother reading. Maybe some of you will want to hold on until patches and cut content to be added, but for myself that I waited so many years to finally arrive , it’s a good experience, especially since true RPG’s with real reactivity are hard to come by today.
Look out below! Above! Sideways!

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