The spiritual successor to the cult classic RPG ‘Planescape: Torment’ came out yesterday, ‘Torment: Tides of Numenera’ by inXile Entertainment, and if my initial impressions are anything to go by, this game is something special. For most of you that don’t remember ‘Planescape: Torment’, it was based on the weirdest parts of the D&D universe, so just exploring what the game had to offer was most of the fun, and the characters were all wonderfully written. ‘Torment: Tides of Numenera’ continues this tradition.
In Torment you play as the Last Castoff of the Changing God. The Changing God gained immortality by creating new bodies every so often then casting his old ones aside. However when he moves from one body to the next, his old bodies gain consciousness with no memory of being the Changing God, and if they survive being fully grown infants, they become mostly normal people. Normal people with strange daddy issues. It turns out that a monster hunts the Changing God and his castoffs, The Sorrow. You need to need to stop The Sorrow from killing you, and confront your ‘father’.
Most people now think of RPGs as games were you get cool loot from killing monsters, level up to better kill monsters, and then every now and then make decisions about what monsters to kill. Torment is not that game. That is not to say there aren’t monsters, loot and leveling up, but more that this game is about talking to people and exploring. Even in combat it encourages you to use your skills in ways to end the fight without directly attacking the enemy. Pretty much it is a very large choose your own adventure game, and one that is easy to get lost in. I just started, and all I can think about is the people I met and the different decisions I could have made.
Because of all this, you will need to get a good pair of reading glasses. This was a Kickstarter game (of which I was a backer), so while there is some recorded dialog, most of this game is text based, and there is a lot of text. Just about every character with a name has an expansive dialog tree, and you will want to read it all in order to better inform your actions, or just not miss out on something cool.
The weakest parts of ‘Torment: Tides of Numenera’ are the visuals. While the backgrounds are wonderfully detailed and strange, the character models are low-res and muddy, and even those cool backgrounds sometimes get jaggy and muted. Also, the combat isn’t super interesting, but since combat is not the focus of this game that is okay.
There is a lot more to talk about with this game, but I am just going to say, if you like the idea of walking around and talking to people with interesting backstories, and then thinking your way out of problems, you should give ‘Torment: Tides of Numenera’ a try. The fact this game is so strange and weird makes it even better. If you want to just shoot or hit stuff, this game probably isn’t for you. inXile Entertainment did a great job of capturing what made ‘Planescape: Torment’ the classic it is and channeling that in to Torment. Maybe next time they can upgrade the graphics a bit.