The long awaited spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment is nearly here. But can it do to reinvigorate the genre after over fifteen years? It can play with your morality.
Numenera is set billions of years in the future, after multiple civilisations have come and gone, and all that is left is a war-torn land with nothing but danger and destruction. Relics from the past have become artefacts that contain magical abilities, and some scholars theorise that they may hold the truth behind the worlds past.
The player takes control of The Last Castoff, the final vessel for a man who long ago managed to transcend humanity and travel between hosts. However, he loses his memories every time he moves host.
Now, the player and their band of merry men must explore the world to find The Last Castoff’s master, as well as discover if life truly has purpose.
There are a lot of heavy themes at play, a large amount of them dealing with the concept of life and how much one’s life is worth. And this shines brightly in the segment of the game we got to play, simply called “The Bloom”.
The bloom is a giant creature that has found a home inside a massive cavern, and slowly inches along it year by year. This being is so large that many have colonised it and made it their home (As you do).
The player wakes to find themselves deep inside The Bloom, and is told to retrieve an item for a man who will let them speak to the “rulers” of The Bloom, and thus the adventure beings.
From the very start of this segment, the game thrusts the concept of putting a price on one’s head by allowing the player to purchase a slave. Once the salve is bought the player can choose to do whatever they wish with him. Send him to pickpocket people, make him tag along, set him free, or even kill him if they so choose.
Other people’s lives are in your hands.
The wide range of side missions we encountered also forced us to tackle difficult moral and ethical choices. There is a woman with no eyes who holds a key item, and she requests to help her regain her sight. Now you can go against her wishes and attempt to steal the key item from her, but that choice may not work out for you.
The game wants you to experiment with morality and keeps you in a constant grey zone as to where your actions stand.
We played the game on PC and didn’t notice a single issue. The game ran smoothly and load times were incredibly short. However, the console version did have some noticeable slowdown, and would take longer to load segments of the area. For those who have the option for both, PC seems to be the better option.
Torment: Tides of Numenera looks to be a solid return to the long-forgotten franchise, playing with mechanics and ideas not often seen in modern video games. Torment: Tides of Numenera releases some time in 2017, although PC players can check it out now on Steam Early Access.