Torment: Tides of Numenera makes it clear from the start that it is a little different from what we are used to playing by the big AAA developers, and inspired by Planescape: Torment. It is difficult to know if the title will find a player base in the current market because it does not present the typical adventure with a lot of action in real time, nor there is a back story along with any spectacular epic scenes. If this was released on PC only, it would find a bigger audience relatively well, but on consoles, as it only launched for PS4 and Xbox One raises the question of its commercial success. Although, this does not detract inXile Entertainment from developing the game, inspired by the rules of Numenera, a fantasy work by Monte Cook that presents a very dense and complex world, so much that it overwhelms. This is not the typical battle of the Good against the Evil. We are the Last Waste, a being of flesh and bone product of a megalóman deity known like The Changing God, that in an attempt to escape to the invoked death to a creature that now seeks to end this immortal and its debris – the bodies it leaves behind with each change of host.
In our journey through this world as one of these wastes we will meet new characters, dangers and details of this mythology that combines fantasy setting with science fiction, where ancient technology and relics of the past are intermingled with magic. The truth is that it is quite original and something new. Of course, we reiterate that it costs to enter and assimilate all its terms, especially if you are not fond of Numenera ; In the first hours you have to read and learn a lot of information: people living inside interdimensional beasts, characters with live tattoos or a robot with children are just some details of this strange place.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is based more on narrative. However, our character has personalization, and we can upgrade him to our preferences to enhance his strength or other skills useful for combat and exploration – the points are worth for actions. In fact, the creation of the character begins with our answers to some personality questions.
Although in Torment you can avoid confrontations by talking it out or can be solved in the most violent way, relying on our power of attack and luck, but also through dialogues. Depending on your approach, the threats or reasonings may prevent the blood from reaching the river. Torment dilutes the boundary between exploration and combat, in fact, the main attributes – strength, speed, and intelligence – are important in and out of a crisis.
It is not that the fight is bad, that it is not, but that this freedom to persuade enemies in the style Planescape: Torment , or to defeat first the leader of a group so that the rest of enemies flee, allows us to develop personages not so oriented To struggle; And it’s more fun than fighting . There are dozens of RPGs more worked on this issue than Torment: Tides of Numenera, more original and deeper. If we lean for action we can evolve our character to better resist damage, heal or improve offensive and defensive skills.
In addition to good equipment, there are very useful series of devices that act as magic: area attacks with fire or invoking creatures. They are very precious elements that are consumed with the use, and we are limited to the number that we can take with us. Too many cause a penalty state and even explode in your inventory. In combat, we also control our partners, with their abilities. However, it is not a game very oriented to accumulate loot and hundreds of objects, so we will not suffer from Diogenes syndrome buying dozens of items.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is overwhelming in certain sections that other RPGs forget – the script has more than a million words. In return, it is not as profuse in numerical data and parameters to fit our characters. This is neither better nor worse, but the developer chose to favor the conversational part instead of other sections of the game. So, you will not waste much time on the menus adjusting to the smallest detail, in this sense, it is a fun welcoming experience even for beginners.
But as we have said, Torment gives importance to everything related to the story. Depending on our actions and responses, multiple points will be earned towards one of the skills representing a type of behavior or personality. It is similar to a complex system of alignment that goes beyond the “good and bad,” which influences the world, the characters or the bonus of relics and weapons. Constantly during the dialogues that have a minimum of relevance, we will be marking our features and changing the game slightly.
Within its many virtues, there are aspects that may not connect with all players. Let’s face it, Planescape was never a game for the masses. So for example battles can be made a little slow, and there will be those who prefer an agiler and more heavyweight in the adventure; Not necessarily to the extent of plague struggles at every step – something that goes against his spirit – but not so focused on reading. It is simply a matter of taste, and we warn you that to fully enjoy Torment you have to enter into its context, be willing to talk to each inhabitant and collect all the data on the stage to unlock new lines of dialogue.
One of the shortcomings, which has also been commented during its Early Access period, is the reduced differentiation of the paragraphs that describe the situation of the phrases said by characters. It is not a minor issue since this affects almost all of its “playability,” so after reading for many minutes, we assure you that some more visual help that highlights what is important is missing. It is a fault that in theory has an easy solution, although it may require reviewing the entire text.
In the audiovisual is a small step behind Pillars of Eternity, however also depends a little on our tastes. The environments are somewhat less detailed than in that game, sometimes there is a palette of color not too attractive and little expressiveness in characters, Cities do not convey life or buzz, most inhabitants are in a static position. There is a loading section when passing between zones, it is not that they take a long time – about five seconds – but when you go through several maps, their number can annoy you. If it was a load in the background it would expedite this exploration, although by the characteristics of the game nor is it that it is usual to travel many screens at high speed.
On the other hand, there is a variety of environments: the world ranges from decadent post-apocalyptic zones to small mountain villages, installations, cities with futuristic architecture, grotesque locations that vaguely recall HR Giger designs – that mixture of casque and overloaded metal – and other more psychedelic. The music usually does not stand out too much, and the sound effects comply with the minimum required; There are voices, but obviously reserved for important moments.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is not an RPG for all players nor easily recommended to a majority audience, but of course that does not leave indifferent, and that is good news; The lover of this type of role getting a great treat cause inXile brought a game that stays true to its core.
Get ready to enter an exciting world with a lot of dialogue and an emphasis on its background; In fact, Torment works better as a graphic adventure, almost visual novel, than in the aspects that we associate with a role in the video games – the fight and collection of items. Avoiding confrontations with strategy achieves that you can minimize the least bright part of your content and exploit the strengths that differentiate this title from others.
Surely it will not become a classic in current generation as Planescape: Torment will and will not be remembered almost 20 years later like that, but its release comes to meet the demand of the roll player dice, paper and pencil, who has been desperately looking for this genre for many, many years.