Torment: Tides Of Numenera is an isometric role-playing game that’s the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment. The game is set way far out into the future and yet has the look of a ‘years ago’ fantasy story rather than ‘years ahead’. However, if you can forgive that, you are in for a treat when it comes to the brilliant story and the shining personalities that fill the world.
Many years into the future in a time established as the Ninth World, there are numenera to be found and can be ornaments or weapons each with different stat boosts. You play as The Last Castoff of The Changing God, someone who cheated death through use of new bodies, this god unleashed The Sorrow which is in basic terms the grim reaper or death if you will, he did so accidentally and as such you both need to get rid of it, thus begins the adventure.
Along the way you will cross paths with many colourful characters with charming personalities, such as the aptly described ‘Overly-impulse Glaive who Is as Heroic as He Believes Himself to Be’ named Erritis or the ‘Hardened Nano who Fights With His Demons’ Aligern. The former being one to act first and ask questions later leading to some interesting conflicts along the way and the latter being a man who’s had a tough life and as such has changed him, he also has tattoos.
Tides Of Numenera begins with its take on character creation, instead of the usual menu popping up where you customise each detail of appearance and stats, you instead spawn into a dream-like world that offers a suggested character tailored to your choices. This suggested character isn’t forced upon you either, you still have free reign to choose skills, abilities and descriptor’s.
The vast amount of story is delivered through the art of conversation, simply talking to other characters which is in fact what you will be spending most of your time doing, scrolling through text, hours can pass by before entering another crisis, which is the term given to its combat scenario’s.
I have a lot of good things to say for games that offer choice to the player, allowing you to go forward how you want to, react to situations the way you believe you should or just want to. A huge number of fights, conversations and quests can have up to four different courses of action to take and these can differ based on your character’s class and skills.
A gameplay element that I have grown quite fond of experimenting with was its cypher’s system, cypher’s are powerful technologies that which work as single use potions and weapons. If you keep too many of them at a time you will be afflicted with the negative fettle debuff, forcing you not to simply collect these items and never use them.
The controls are surprisingly well mapped with every action or menu you need being available with the click of a button preventing you from going through menu to menu just to find what item your looking for or to read the latest journal entry.
Visually, the game looks like something that could have been released a couple of years ago, the level of fine detail is subpar when it comes to the current standard but not by a wide margin. The hand drawn art-style, level design and detail it does have produces a fleshed-out fantasy world that recreates a portion of the table-top feel. Whilst not as in-depth as a game of dungeons and dragons, I remember thinking to myself numerous times throughout my experience that this is the kind of adventure I want to play, more about the story and seeing the world you’re playing in.
Due to the hand-drawn art-style and diagonal top down view it allows free-flowing gameplay, rather than character’s being confined to squares or hexagons on the map, they can move without being restricted. This in turn allows for a smoother combat experience.
The ambient background music is often very subtle but sets the underlying tone for the fantasy setting, the soft ringing of bells that make you aware of your surrounding area being an aircraft dock or the thud of metal beams stomping away indicating the nearby factory, this all comes together to create the immersion of the world around you.
Voice acting is hugely welcomed and plays a big role in delivering depth to a character that being said, the voice acting certainly isn’t something to solely rely on with some of the dialogue sounding contrived more than free-flowing, that’s when you come to the double-edged sword in which not all the dialogue has voice added, in fact not even half of all dialogue has this.
Story – 8.5/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Sound – 7/10
Gameplay – 6.5/10
Game Design / Innovation – 6.5/10
Torment is a game with several highs with a few lows scattered here and there, delivering a fully fleshed out world with charming and memorable characters. Typically not the type of game I would play, I still found moments of joy as I travelled through the world on my quest to overcome. I would certainly recommend this game for any fan of the isometric story driven RPG genre.
Overall – 7.2/10 – GOOD
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin (Jester).
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Torment: Tides of Numenera on Xbox One however this does not in anyway affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)