First of all, I enjoyed the game all the way through.
The story was engaging, Sagus Cliffs was especially well polished, and I'll never forget the idea of the House of Empty Time. The execution was flawless, as well as the actual execution nearby, perfect launch of the setting.
I remember being torn over the fact that in order to keep the Magmatic Annulet, I'd have to destroy the hopes and dreams of the Iascar, something which I wasn't willing to (Blue and Gold - as most people, according to another post.) do and the joy over finding the helmet and realizing there might be an other way.
The world beyond the Endless Gate, the enterance, and Inifere was mildly unsettling - and I'm usually immune to this by now - but the possessed cultists along with the music managed to take it up a notch, and when the disembodied maw appeared, the deal was sealed.
It managed to evoke feelings beyond "we have a serious problem", along the lines of a genuine, panicked "we need an exit stat".
Inifere's poetic ramblings were, as I believe it was intended, on par with Ravel's, but I'd loved just one more voiced line to unsettle me.
For days I came home in a different mood, expecting to immerse in a way I haven't since 16 years, and I wasn't disappointed.
Second: I wasn't a backer - I've been living under a rock while the Kickstarter was still running, and PayPal a non-option for me in later backing - but I pre-ordered a "physical" copy as soon as I could. As weird as it sounds, I want to thank each backer - if I'll meet one of the many of you, I'll buy you a beverage of your choice - as without your actions, none of this would've been realized. I've walked the Necropolis with this in mind. Though to be honest, I only got to 162 tombs.
I'm aware of how hard it is to coordinate a large number of creative people, as well as the intricacies involved in developing a software product.
There are people most teams, especially in projects like these, who give their best, give it all, and it becomes much more than a job.
TTON is still receiving mixed reviews: I understand those opinions, see the backers' rational complaints, and acknowledge the game's faults - but I want each and everyone who gave their hours of thought to this game to know I'm grateful for what they've done, and their effort has been worth it; never doubt that. The other aspect of this is the simple fact: no great work is ever done, and the greater it is, the truer this becomes. Remember Citadel Curst Prison, then remember how PST itself has grown since it's "completion".
When I play games which I expect to enjoy, I keep little journals of concepts, ideas therein, cross-referencing them internally and with my memories of other works, if appropriate. Over the years, I usually focused on software and game design issues; TTON and PST, and the BGT and the MM series were the ones where I kept a detailed game world journal about the story, and about what I think is missing, or I believe is an oversight, a missing point in the narrative - not necessarily a plot hole. Quite obviously perhaps, I also keep a detailed journal about the concepts and creatures, and story elements - something which might be obsoleted by the Codex, as I've read the recent good news - but that has no place here.
However, what I believe might have a place here, are some of my observations along the way, polished slightly to make them presentable.
I'd like to read your thoughts arising because of them, be that your opinion, or some association stemming from these. I've thought long on where to post them; it is not a review for certain, but it is quite long and encompasses a lot of the game, so I've decided upon as close to the source as possible, settling on this very forum. I've categorized them according loosely into what I believe is a Bug - these are likely true problems to a relatively objective observer as well - and in increasingly subjective other categories. I'm not quite so secretly hoping some of these get "fixed", or modded into game, get confirmation regarding their deletion, and perhaps reason thereof. If some arise from misunderstandings or missed branches, I'd like to know them as well; though the eventual second playthrough hopes to get rid of the second kind of error, the first kind may remain.
Obviously, spoilers galore, so those of you who haven't finished at least one playthrough, and despite that have read this far, stop now.
- Manth Pa told me Crooked Qeek is dead, moments after I gave her a cypher while playing as a Male castoff.
- Asked Ch'kekt to take me to the old sticha lair; yet, he greeted me and told me 'Sanctuary on other side of not-nest." Did not ask him to take me to the Changing God's Sanctuary at all.
- Ruining the Clock in Circus Minor, entering the fathom, then fixing the clock has a graphics glitch: the shadows are clearly shown, yet the text clearly indicates they are gone.
- Dhama of the Bloom allows you to implicate the ghost lady as the Adversary, even if she is no longer there.
- The Necropolis enterance lacks a 'tab key' indicator for the three light globes.
- With a high (4) intellect edge, and an extreme amount of bonuses, it is impossible to click on the effort selection screen. Exiting, retrying, and randomly clicking around makes it possible to proceed.
- Anchorage's pilot confirms the helmet you find IS Arechi's helmet, yet you cannot give it to the Captain before examining it.
- In the M'ra Jolios mere, the beggar, Tidesinger / Neme says "emigrate" when she clearly means "immigrate".
- Tidesinger is never introduced as Neme on at least one path, yet when she snaps the air-breather bracelet on you, she is mentioned by name in the text.
- If you talk to the Nychthemeron at night, and touch the cage's smooth side, Canadu cries out to you to stop. If you ask "Do you remember me?" the creature attacks you, then Canadu relates the day/night behavioral information. From this moment on, the behavior of the creature revers to the "day" version through the conversation.
- Why can't we discuss the Peerless infestation with Salimeri? It isn't implied she is aware of it already. Given how she directs Qorro around, she might not care at all; still, mentioning it should be possible. Form there on, it is absolutely not a simple exploration quest. Furthermore, Sn'erf should be interested in how the Peerless spread around.
- Salimery, who worked with Adahn on the crystal chamber revealed Aligern travelled with TCG, yet you cannot question him in this regard. It is later explained they only crossed paths once, whereas TCG taught Aligern how to use the frame.
- You can ask Talira Kyo, who has been tortured for who knows how long about: "Why are you crying?". Take a wild guess. Could be justified if it gives a proper Tide change, or perhaps, if you've let the chiurgeon drones install that numenera analyzer.
- You can bring the Sorrow beyond the Endless Gate in your head. The Sorrow is demonstrated, in Inifere's memories, to be unwilling or unable to enter the Gate. Later on in the story, you can even bring it into Miel Avest. I've purposefully defeated the Sorrow Fragments in order to attempt to prevent an 'infection' on the first playthrough, but there was evidence the Sorrow still lingered. Given this, shouldn't there be *some* reaction from the Sorrow to the horrors of the Endless Gate, or your travel through it, even if in the finale?
- You cannot tell Jenkins the Jinxed that you've found his gravestone in 5-4-2-1.
- You can drag Aligern, Matkina, and of all people, Rhin into the Endless Gate. They say nothing. They do not doubt, do not tremble at the entrance. Rhin would be traumatized for life there, and the other side would likely render him into a mental wreck instantly. It'd a welcome option to leave Rhin, guarded by your companions behind, or something akin to this. On second playthrough, I cannot even begin to bring myself to bring her along knowing what awaits in there, and dismissing her in the valley isn't a great option either, nor are the previous options in Sagus Cliffs.
- You can ask Walks-without-fear, the previous Memovira, who he is even after it is clear due to Matkina being in the party. The dialogue tree needs a little more polish here.
- When you shut down the catena in the Bloom by transferring its intelligence into yourself, the speaker still babbles something - even though there is no intelligence there anymore. Additionally, the wall display's flavor text does not change on your way out, it still registers as something active; even though near the Memovira fortress' entrance, it is clear the catena is truly dead. The voice might be a subystem which wasn't merged, but the display cannot be explained.
- Matkina should say *something* when you first command the Bloom with the tendrils. She saw what the Memovira is capable of, seeing you do it should evoke a response.
- Why can't I ask or use the Bloom, in it's 'heart', to get information about the other castoffs who were 'saved' from Miel Avest? Their fate is never resolved, save from the case whereas every castoff gets ... solved.
- Expected to be able to ask Anchorage's pilot about the 'Compass of the Navigator' oddity.
- The Phobit you rescue in the crystal dimension does not make another appearance. I'd need to double check this.
- You cannot get a reward for intentionally clearing the Crystalvores in Ascension, instead of letting them lay dormant there, to awaken when the power eventually runs out. The option whereas you intentionally destroy them to protect the remains of the Oracle is nonexistent. The Builder is not worried anymore, which could mean they've grown immune to the issue, or simply stopped caring, but reporting it and receiving this information would be nice.
- If one of my dominant tides was Blue, why can't I attempt absorb TCG's copy? I understand TCG's tides where Silver/Blue from the last memory at the very least, but the pure lust for knowledge should at least allow an attempt, even if it were to fail. I initially wanted to acquire all the knowledge, but I now understand the dual, open ended nature of the story in this regard - TLC vs. TCG - and even like it, but I still miss this option, as it would be in line with how I played.
- We learn that the Tidal atonement experienced by TLC has irreparably driven apart Aligern and Callistege. Even though they had their problems, something could be at least tried to remedy this, or at least to convey them the theory.
- Why can't I try to lock back the Resonance Chamber? Someone might barge right in! This was my knee-jerk reaction when I left. Later in the game, I've realized there was a good story reason. Indeed, I've found Memovira thugs later on, and cleared them out. It should be possible to hire someone. Ultimately though, they'd have to fail of course.
- The 'Fatherteller" oddity would be of use for Rhin. Since for TLC, it shows him/herself, it would also be logical to try it on Matkina: if it shows TCG, or TLC, it kind of spoils the end though, but I'd still welcome the option, it can be made ambiguous still.
- Why can't you tell the Dendra O Hur who is from the cannibal race that there is a meat merchant who can *grow* perpetual meat? He should think that is not sufficient, as it is not real cannibalism; they probably need the secret of being able to continually regrow, but still.
- Could you use the Magmatic Annulet to bypass the Speaker Phobit in Ascension?
- The First Castoff's personality. You see the memory in which she was given the mask; it is she who helped build Miel Avest. How has she fallen so far? How can she possibly be the first, and still survive? The first body cast off should not be as resilient as the other ones, considering the original goal was to resurrect TCG's daughter. The process had to be incremental. In the end, this also falls apart a bit: the Sorrow, in at least one ending, mentions casoffs losing their immortality by losing the connection to the labyrinth. This might refer to the regenerative abilities, but still. The Eurogamer interview explains a LOT, with her original incarnation murdering older castoffs, but some of this should have really made it into the game.
Plot Holes / Missing Info
- The Tabaht were the slaves and the masters of the Underspine. We never learn its nature beyond that it actually helped TCG place the explosive charges on itself, ie. it wanted to die. My impression is that it was some kind of über-labyrinth, which may have even contained the Sorrow. Miika is said at the end to be damaged by some Tidal weapon, which means the Tabaht used, if not abused the Tides.
- Why is there a perfect painting of the Sorrow in the TCGs old "lair"? I've never managed to learn this tidbit.
- In the Endless Battle fathom, the 'living the illusion' sound effect overrides everything, even after their originators have been freed, or killed.
- The Inspiring Presence sound effect is maddening. Once I realized I can make it stop by travelling to another screen, I played specifically to always be able to go to another area after a reload. It even affected Meres, ruining the atmosphere ! Fixed in 1.0.2, thank you very much!
- The CLACK noise every time you switch screens or activate a conversation is extremely annoying after a while. It should be toggleable.
- Maybe it is the above issues, but the music generally peters out. When you meet Qorro? It is as if war machines are about to tear you apart. The next great musical moment is beyond the Endless Gate, IFF you fight the cultists. Some areas have entirely suppressed music, specifically, some fathoms. Again, the patch notes for 1.0.2 mention this, so it is probably fixed! Thank you!
Addendum/Edit: I was in the process of making this post while 1.0.2 came out - some details might be outdated. I'll do my best to correct them if I have the time; fixing grammar.