I’ll be honest, this sort of game really isn’t my cup of tea, but, even so, I can still appreciate what a superb game, Torment: Tides of Numenera is. Torment is what can only be described as an old school classic RPG, one which doesn’t focus on action at all, but good old, reading, lore, and character development. The story, of this, is based around the earth, 1 billion years into the future, where someone has discovered how to become immortal, but in doing so, transfers from one “shell” ( body ) to another. You play as the last cast off from the God, in search of answers as to what is going on.
From the outset, it’s hard to say anything other than I was overwhelmed, but in a bad way, as to what I should be doing or how to do it. That’s because everything seemed so deep. For example in my character setup, just a few minutes into the game I had to make choices based on the following I simply just didn’t understand.
“ Intellect: Choose a damage type and then make a weapon attack. Deal “weapon damage” of the chosen type, along with bonus effect based on the type. “
Now I’m sure when you have been playing the game for many hours, or have played another game in a similar genre, the above makes perfect sense, but to the uninitiated, playing for the first time and just 20 minutes in, it means nothing and is confusing. The game for me simply threw too much at me soon. It’s far deeper than any RPG games I’ve played on a console.
However, fairly soon you are presented with your first combat experience which is turn based. As turn based systems go it’s actually pretty good, and my first major fight, was quite a thrilling affair. Not quite knowing what I was doing, mixed with a let’s try stuff attitude made it so. Players can actually avoid combat too by dialogue. Spending “effort” points in dialogue ( or combat ) can convince enemies to give up fighting altogether, especially if one of your character traits is good at convincing others.
In one of my fight sequences, I dispatched 3 of the 4 enemies and then spoke to the survivor to convince him to give up, give me all he had, and set him packing.
For the next three hours I then didn’t have any combat, and in fact, just read a lot, and I mean A LOT of text. Conversations have many choices, each having their own consequences, and with so many in game NPC’s to engage with, to understand the world you’re in, it meant for a lot of reading. Despite the fact I was spending an awful amount of time just reading, it was very clear that the script and narrative are written superbly. The prose was engaging, interesting, and fleshed out the environment, and excellently built character development, but was very long winded.
The graphics were fairly good, but nothing particularly great stands out. The environments were depressing both inside and out, which is how it’s designed to be, but there was the occasional great touch in explosions in some combat spells. Character detail was sparse, and this game is certainly not going to go down as a graphical powerhouse.
The audio I really enjoyed and had a great soundtrack, with excellent in-game effects from the environment too. There is no online element, which is a shame as playing this game co-op would have been epic, but even without, the story and experience the player on their own will have will still be magnificent.