REVIEW – A game that gets millions of dollars via crowdfunding has to be living up to its hype with giant gaps to come across as well. Let’s also add that this game is meant to be the spiritual successor to 1999’s Planescape: Torment, too. The weight is significant on the game’s shoulders, and to an extent, inXile Entertainment wasn’t able to fulfill expectations.
Let’s just say that after multiple delays (initially, the game was set to launch by December 2014, which got pushed to Q4 2015, then 2016, then eventually to Q1 2017), Torment: Tides of Numenera should have received a complete voice acting out of its five million dollars. A few lines were simply just text, which was awkward even from inXile. Previously, this team created something called Wastelands 2, which was good (and they already crowdfunded the development of 3, getting more money), but seeing the delays; something was bound to be off. If we compare the game to other similar genre titles, like Pillars of Eternity (which is another crowdfunded sequel), or even the second Baldur’s Gate, then you’ll see a difference without a doubt.
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With an RPG, expecting loading screens is not out of bounds, but good lord, what is up with Torment? I am not saying that they took way too long, but there are a lot of them. The situation could be better on PC, but on PlayStation 4, it’s annoying. You’ll see a lot of loading screens, as you will have to backtrack quite often, which not only makes Torment: Tides of Numenera long (it’s not a negative opinion, mind you), but also it’ll make you level up often.
That thought leads me to the next thought: maybe, just maybe – and this is a strictly personal opinion – maybe leveling up is overly complicated, giving you multiple options every single time. I know it’s a CRPG, but it throws a learning curve at you. If it were a flight simulator, I’d understand, but wow! Can you at least use your skills? Well, some of them felt too useful, and some I deemed useless. Sometimes these things make me wonder: why was this game delayed by two (!) years?
The game doesn’t deserve to be punished beyond everything, though. Torment: Tides of Numenera has positives as well. For example, the way the game is written is just outstanding! It also doesn’t lack content, either. For me, it took about seven hours to complete just the first chapter, and I also managed to die at the very beginning of the game, while falling. Everything has to start out somewhere, though…
What about the visuals, though? I think that the futuristic setting, which also seems to be poured down by a massive amount of cyberpunk inspiration also makes it enjoyable. It also feels a little psychedelic as well. It sounds like a very awkward mixture on paper, but trust me, it looks fine in-game.
The Last Castoff (our hero/heroine), the Changing God (the antagonist, which needs some punishment, and guess who is going to do that?), and the Unity engine do the job… but I cannot say the same about the console port. The user interface was just rushed over from the PC to the consoles, and if you have more than three options to choose from, you will have to click on the show more button, which made me think. „Really? This is their solution?” Despite the replayability (more choices, more endings), if the UI is awful, the experience might get hurt.
Only for hardcore CRPG players!
I can only recommend the game in its current state for those who liked Planescape: Torment in 1999, and can forgive the PlayStation 4 port and its flaws. The good story, the outstanding replayability (you won’t see everything during one playthrough!), and the likable visuals get tarnished by the bad user interface, the learning curve for leveling up (forget about using fast travel early in the game!), and the lacking audio. The animations aren’t perfect, and there is also a noticeable lack of sound effects.
I’m shot with the rating: the game has potential, but in its current state, it is no more than a half-way complete house. You have a roof above your head, but it’s not done completely. Sadly, Torment: Tides of Numenera is not the best in its form at the moment. Maybe it will improve further in the future. Until then, read this interview, which felt much better than the game itself…
+ I liked the visuals
+ The story is written nicely
– The audio in its entirety
– You’ll have to learn the game
– The user interface is just copied over from the PC
Publisher: Techland Publishing
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Release date: February 28, 2017