Torment: Tides of Numenera - Where it came from

Torment: Tides of Numenera – Where it came from

In Articles, Gaming by Rodion Schizmin0 Comments

Welcome, dear fans of the classic role-playing games. Take a seat and make yourself comfortable. Today we are going to speak about something really significant. Without exaggeration, we are only a couple of days away from the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera. If you have not heard about this game, this guide is for you. If you have waited for this for many years, you can certainly refresh your memory and look back at the good old days. Here is everything you might need to know about Planescape: Torment and its successor, Torment: Tides of Numenera.

What is this strange Planescape: Torment?

Torment is not your average CRPG game. Of course, it contains all the necessary inherited mechanics of classic RPG adventures. Deep story, well-written characters and a profound battle system are all present in the game. However, Planescape: Torment was among those games that at that specific time blurred the line between standard entertainment for kids and art. Torment was dark, smart and complex as a book. The one that you can reach through your screen. It did not scare you away with the lack of gameplay, at the same time luring you with the deepness of its world and story.

The game became a kind of the apogee of the RPG genre. It looked similar to its contemporaries with classic features like isometric view and an active pause combat system, which emphasized tactics. But Torment put less accent on battles, giving players something different. It provided you with freedom of choice and freedom of action like you have never seen in games before. Torment felt like a novel with you as a direct participant.

But accent on storytelling and choice is present in many modern games. For instance, Telltale Studios made their name by creating such games.

Huh, Telltale Studios.  Yes, many studios mark non-linearity as a feature of their games. However, for modern gamers, it is hard to understand the freedom, which Torment gave. There were no contrived dilemmas leading to the same outcome. No over emotional scenes to attract the player.  You can play another interactive quest, but, unfortunately, you are just an observer, not a participant in these events.

Questions raised by Torment were extremely uncommon for the genre at the time. In fact, they are a rarity even in today’s games. The game stared into your soul, it made you think, empathize. Player’s choice leads not only to the different outcomes in the plot. The decisions reflected the character and the world around him. The player began to dive into its dark and unusual game setting.

Interesting. And what kind of world was that? It seemed that the setting is based on DnD.

True that, the game immersed players in a dark world of Planescape, which is one of the settings in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. This fantasy tabletop game brought us iconic titles like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. The world of Planescape, however, was much tougher, mature and more odd than classic fantasy we have seen in the other CRPGs.

Dungeons and Dragons system was the heart of the original game

Planescape’s universe consisted of many planes and they all crossed each other in different ways like a pattern. Scary, weird, funny, eccentric, angry and unusual creatures inhabited these planes. There were evil fiends and warriors of justice, planewalkers from evershifting planes and almost machine-like creatures from the lawful world. Try to imagine an alley giving birth to the buildings inside it or a horde of rats possessing the collective mind. The gods could walk among men, while men could master powers greater than divine. The hero wakes up in Sigil, the city of doors. It serves as a center of these planes. The player’s goal is to travel across them and seek for answers and truth.

Who is our hero?

Actually, it is hard to call him a hero. Let us stick with the main character. And he is pretty unique. When the game came out, it was hard to recall something similar in other RPGs. Forget about paladins saving the world from evil. The character wakes up in the morgue, covered with hideous scars and tattoos.  He has no clue about his identity and why he managed to appear in that place. In addition, he seems to be immortal and every new scar is just another fading memory from the previous life.

The player determines the nature of this man and the game perfectly combines a unique and original character with the nonlinear approach of storytelling. The protagonist had lived many lives but cannot remember them. He might be the mad villain in one of them and an almost saint in another. You play as his new self and your actions determine if Nameless One can change the nature of his immortality and escape his vicious circle of life. This character seems outlandish and unique even now. Imagine what a revelation was such an approach back in 1999.

What do I need to know about Torment: Tides of Numenera?

Torment: Tides of Numenera is an ideological successor to Planescape: Torment. The game is a creation of inXile Entertainment, famous for their Kickstarter tactical RPG Wasteland 2 and humor-filled adventure, Bard’s Tale. The dev team partly consists of creators of the original Torment and they intend to improve old mechanics and bring in a bunch of fresh ideas. The game has changed the setting but left the commitment to the principles of the original. Serious moral choices, complex philosophical problems, and nonlinear plot are all keystones of the new game. If Planescape was, for the most part, a fantasy world, then Numenera is more odd. It is an award-winning science fantasy universe and suits new Torment great.

What can you tell me about Numenera world?

Our adventures will start in the ninth world. This world’s society is at a stage of the late middle Ages with knights, dominion of the religious orders and a different worldview. However, this realm is much older. Eight civilizations before the current one have reached peaks of scientific thought only to sink into oblivion due to unknown disasters. Now, people take the old technological advances for magic and scientific dogma for the mystical sacrament. Brutes and scholars, mystery godlike beings and zealots live in this world and the player has to forge his own way in this society.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is surrealistically beautiful

What should I know about the gameplay?

Torment: Tides of Numenera made a couple of changes to the mechanics compared to Planescape. It employs a turn-based combat system instead of using active pause. It is great because the fighting system was one of the few flaws of the original game. Also, now you have more options in making your character unique. Background, character, traits and appearance are yours to change. If you tried it in Early Access, you know that even the character creation can turn out to be an hour-long mini-game itself.

When can I grab my hands on Torment: Tides of Numenera?

Torment: Tides of Numenera will be released on February 28th on PC. You can purchase it on GOG and Steam. The game is available in multiple languages such as English, Polish, German, Italian, Russian and French.

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