Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by felipepepe, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. felipepepegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

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    Tags: InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

    What does one life matter? What can change the nature of man? And did Torment: Tides of Numenera, InXile's spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, deliver on its promises?

    For the past two weeks these have been the questions puzzling RPG fans - or at least those who aren't playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata or just waiting for Mass Effect: Andromeda, that is. The press loved InXile's latest game, but the audience seems less convinced. Sales have been poor next to previous big Kickstarter RPGs, anger erupted from cut content and the reception has been mixed both on our forums and on Steam (two places that rarely agree). Making a successor to the Codex's #1 RPG of all time is obviously no simple task, so esteemed contributor Prime Junta took the job of measuring InXile's success. Here's an excerpt from the full piece:

    The fatal flaw of Torment: Tides of Numenera is timidity. It is terrified of stepping out of the shadow of its ancestor, to proudly do its own thing. Instead, it imagines Torment can be captured in a formula. It apes its forms without understanding its substance. If Planescape: Torment is a monk struggling with a kôan, "What can change the nature of a man?" a red-hot iron ball in his throat which he can neither swallow nor spit out, Tides is a philosophy freshman crying into his red wine, in love with the profundity of his navel. Planescape: Torment's characters embody that central question: the succubus who took a vow of chastity, the enslaved warrior-monk from a people defined by their escape from slavery, the fragment of a collective consciousness who developed a sense of self. Tides' characters... talk about it. They're painted sticks parroting lines written for them, not flesh-and-blood characters living, breathing that question.

    For example, consider companion vision quests. I achieved the best outcomes for all of the companions I had with me without even paying much attention to them, as the game goes out of its way to make absolutely sure you don't miss anything. If you've forgotten to talk to your companion, they'll remind you. If you've missed a quest trigger, the character in the next step of that vision quest will react anyway, even helpfully asking you to bring that character to him if he isn't with you at the time. Keep clicking on things, and eventually you'll get a menu to click on, giving your companion ending A, B, or C. The conversations themselves are shallow, and it doesn't matter much what you say in them as you end up in the same place anyway. You don't have any reason to care, beyond shallow feel-good humanitarianism. This is only similar in form with Planescape: Torment, where companion dilemmas are also resolved primarily through conversation. There, however, you won't even meet one of your potential companions if you don't, out of pure curiosity, buy a trinket from a merchant and then fiddle with it, attempting to figure out what it does, and exploring the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon with Dak'kon reveals as many searingly painful truths about you as it does about him.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera
     
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  2. oldmanpacogender: ⚧ Master of Siestas

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    But first we must ask ourselves: What is an RPG?
     
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  3. Make America Great Again Zorba the Huttgender: ⚧ Arcane Weasel

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    That was quick. :salute: Junta
     
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  4. an Administratorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Good review, PJ :salute:
    (Also Nier Automata will be a better RPG)
     
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  5. Belegarssongender: ⚧ Learned

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    WTF IS THAT ARMOR DLC???

    ARE THEY EVEN FOR REAL?
     
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  6. oldmanpacogender: ⚧ Master of Siestas

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    Well to be fair who cares about counsuletards.

    And the biggest issue I have with the game is what did they do with all the money and time? It took them 5 years to produce a game that looks and plays like a indie studios fist attempt at mainstream success. I finished it despite the terrible combat/crises and supremely uneven writing and pacing but it was not worth what I put into it. Fucking 2012 kickstarters.
     
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  7. darkflashgender: ⚧ Novice

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    A damn shame. On the brighter side, it's a good thing I didn't spent any money in this project and I have more time to play Warriors of Destiny.
     
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  8. commiegender: ⚧ The Last Marxist Patron

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    Prime Cunta trying to get back some Codex cred. Risible. Half the shit he says doesn't even make any sense, like whining that it doesn't do what the KS promised. So? You can argue the same for every fucking game ever made that cuts and omissions are made, yes even for Fallout and PS:T. I personally have yet to see a game which allows you to ignore the main quest and live out a full simulation of being a farmer or a garbage collector, but I'm not going to complain about Underrail not having those options. Pro tip: cuts and omissions or 'failed promises' are not enough to whine about a game. The only time these are valid is when their omission affects the actual content that we do get which leads to the next bit.

    There are things to really whine about, like the abrupt ending and other parts which really appear to have been hacked off in order to get it out the door and while they will probably be put back in eventually, it's ok to criticise based on what is on offer, but jebus, a lot of the whining is retarded.

    And sound not being 'scary'? What the fuck? He thinks he's playing System Shock or Resident Evil? PS:T didn't sound 'scary' either, not in the morgue even.

    Can't even be arsed examining it further. Shit, Roxor would have been scathing but at least he would have addressed pertinent points for the most part.

    tl;dr Shit 'review' is shit.


    Who cares? It's just a bit of backer 'thankyou' DLC which you can disable. Stop being a fucking retarded edgelord wannabe. Bet you cried that you couldn't get the PoE achievement that was for backers only as well.
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Darth Roxorgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis, Hater of Eternity

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    Unique features in pnp numederpa, good joke.

    Also, revioo is pretty bad, it should have been a haiku collection instead.
     
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  10. an Administratorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Yeah there was also so much complaint about things such as graphics and sound. And the reviewer didn't write enough about companions and the ending sequence (just saying "it's like Mass Effect 3" is not enough)
     
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  11. Make America Great Again Darth Roxorgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis, Hater of Eternity

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    Truly, a review worthy of RPG Codex, 2017 edition.
     
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  12. commiegender: ⚧ The Last Marxist Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Yeah, was about to say..a whole paragraph from the 4 or so about graphics. Shit, this 'review' is lighter on actual content than a IGN or Eurogamer one. What happened to the indepth stuff that Codex has been known for?

    Even the graphic complaints fall flat as I rarely saw the things he's whining about. Most of the locations look better than I had expected them too, though of course they are a bit 'washed out' and not as crisp as PoE has.
     
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  13. Maxiegender: ⚧ Erudite

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    I trust Junta on this one because he has actually slogged through Numa twice

    Us mere mortals would suffer irreversible brain damage and lose the ability to write in succinct prose, whereas Junta
     
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  14. felipepepegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    To Numenera's 1.2M words, I present my review:

    Flowery prose
    Exposition for a mission
    A legacy erose
     
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  15. Make America Great Again Darth Roxorgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis, Hater of Eternity

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    You shoulda seen this review's first version... :M
     
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  16. an Administratorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    What was so interesting about that cobblestone screenshot?
     
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  17. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Numenera has a design intention that's different from most PnP systems. This includes stuff like GM interventions, use of XP in-play, consumables (Cyphers) as the primary tool for players to do stuff, Pools substituting for health, a three-level rest/recovery system, and character-building proceeding from the concept out (the focus, that is). Whether you like it or not is a different matter, but they are features that set it apart from other systems, and they're not reflected in the game.

    Not graphics. Visuals. Not the same thing. Planescape: Torment has far better visuals than T:ToN, even though technically 1999 graphics are obviously vastly inferior. Sound, too. And if you think the role Mark Morgan's soundtrack played in PS:T didn't have a major impact on the experience, you have no fucking soul.

    I wanted to avoid spoilers on the off-chance that somebody actually wants to play this turd.

    I also thought it wrong to inflict yet more walls of text on the world after what the game did. My original version was much shorter and in a different format, but most of the Codex editors thought it was too offbeat.
     
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  18. an Administratorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    He has around 38 hours in Numanuma on Steam.
     
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  19. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

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    It illustrates the paragraph next to it: hastily put-together maps with ill-fitting textures. Cobblestones don't work like that, it's clear that somebody just cloned a rectangular cobblestone texture on that part of the map and called it a day.
     
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  20. Ludo Lensegender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Mine's bigger.

    Show Spoiler
    Nice review.

    "This is a combat game for players who hate combat; a skill game for people who hate to fail; a story game for people who measure story by word count." This was particularly spot on.
     
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  21. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

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  22. commiegender: ⚧ The Last Marxist Patron

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    Well that's not even enough for 2 plays if you're really going for detailed analysis. Given his anal ysis, I think he was idling for cards for 20 hours before he realised there were none on offer.
     
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  23. an Administratorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Why would you review a storyfag game without talking about the story? :|
     
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  24. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    In case anyone's curious, here's my original submission (text only, no formatting).

    Show Spoiler

    RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenéra

    Somewhere, some time, in an office or on an online hangout, a group of veteran writers and game designers got together to discuss their philosophical, thoughtful, text-heavy computer role-playing game. In that meeting, they decided that the game needed a skill check. That skill check: Healing, Lore: Natural. The action: gently massaging the rim of a giant alien’s sphincter. The objective: getting it to relax, so you and your party can crawl in.


    Paging Dr. Freud! Paging Dr. Freud! Dr. Freud to the operating room! Thank you.

    By that point, the people who made that decision must have long since lost their way, forgetting everything they knew about what makes a game work. For they did know. They must have known: their previous work proves it. Kevin Saunders and George Ziets of Mask of the Betrayer. Brian Mitsoda of Vampire: Bloodlines. Colin McComb and Adam Heine, both veterans of Planescape: Torment. Last but definitely not least, Planescape: Torment’s creator Chris Avellone, drafted to the team to “review and provide feedback on all creative elements of the game, including the story, characters, and areas.” [link]

    Yet now they believed that word count is a substitute for prose quality.

    That relentlessly hammering on a single theme is a substitute for coherence of vision.

    That ownership of a franchise is a substitute for compelling ideas imaginatively and competently executed.

    That fanservice is a substitute for originality. (Adahn? Come on, people.)

    That players need descriptive text for something they can see on the screen.

    That lore dispensers make for compelling characters.


    Where is my ass? I’ve been feeling for it with both hands but can’t find it.

    That hand-holding is better than stimulating exploration and discovery.

    That giving away the main mystery in a massive introductory infodump will draw in the player.

    That item count is a substitute for item quality.

    That enemy count is a substitute for encounter quality.

    That a user interface’s purpose is to be pretty and animated, rather than functional and enjoyable to interact with.

    That root animation and cloth physics are substitutes for characters that respond crisply to commands.

    That a few hisses and gurgles suffice to create the soundscape inside the belly of a city-sized beast.

    That ambience can be a substitute for a soundtrack. (What a waste of Mark Morgan’s talent!)


    Red as the banner of the Revolution, too. They must’ve forgotten that part.

    That interludes relying on text and pictures will stimulate the player’s imagination even if the text needs an editor’s scissors and the art is ugly.

    That crowdfunding goals -- core and stretch -- can be quietly cut without backers noticing.

    That putting all the player needs to solve his problem within 30 feet of the problem gives him a sense of achievement when he’s clever enough to click on them.

    That an off-the-beaten-track RPG system is improved by discarding its core design goals and tacking on Health and the three defences in Every RPG Ever.

    That a mechanic that allows you to beat every skill check in the game simply by specialising one each of your party in one each of the game’s three abilities supports replayability.

    That a skill which allows everyone to hide in mid-combat under the noses of the enemy -- whether they invested in the skill or not -- makes for an interesting tactical option.

    That players enjoy waiting for minutes on end as continuously-spawning enemies march around the screen taking their turns.



    Fucking cobblestones, how do they work?

    That players won’t notice poorly-fitting textures, flat lighting, static backgrounds, or obvious polygons, when the point of using rendered 2D backgrounds was to permit lush, beautiful, dynamic maps.

    That a quest log and tooltips which exactly indicate what you should do next are a substitute for a journal in which you record your experiences to puzzle out your objectives.

    That fourth-wall-breaking vanity NPCs fleshed out with more content are a substitute for characters emerging organically from the setting.

    That colourful and weird are substitutes for vision, ambition, and craftsmanship.


    More words than the Bible. About as uneven writing also.. Could stand cutting about the Old Testament’s worth.

    Torment: Tides of Numenéra is a mystery and a tragedy. A mystery: how could a five-million-dollar Kickstarter executed by veterans of the industry result in a fiasco of this magnitude? A tragedy: that such exciting, off-the-beaten-track, and creative ideas could fail so cruelly in the execution, and that the hopes of so many people could be so brutally crushed.

    The brief flashes of creativity and intelligence the game occasionally exhibits only serve to set its general failure in high relief. Some Crises can be resolved several ways -- by talking, by interacting with the environment, sometimes in non-obvious ways. Some objectives have multiple ways to reach them, and many quests have multiple possible resolutions. Sometimes failing to solve a puzzle the “right” way gives surprising results. There are two somewhat-relatable companion characters in the game: one a Minsc with an Avellonian twist, another… a Lost Child who Shapes Gods. There are a few Meres -- choose-your-own-adventure text interludes inside a character’s memories -- which rise above the general amateur-hour level, notably one at the end of a long-running sidequest. These islands of quality are a credit to their creators because that standard was clearly not a requirement from the people in charge of the project. They are a sad reminder of what could have -- should have -- been.



    What happened to my mood lighting and parallax layers?

    Tides of Numenéra does not look, sound, feel, read, or play like a five-million-dollar labour of love by veteran industry professionals. It is not the Planescape: Torment successor we were hoping for. It is not even a tribute. It is barely even a pastiche, and only time will tell if we ever will see one. In the meantime, the Brothel for the Slaking of Intellectual Lusts remains open for business, as Ravel spins her webs in her maze and the Dustmen silently toil in the Mortuary, and in the Fortress of Regrets transcendence and a ghost of unrequited love await a grim planewalker scarred with a thousand deaths.

    ~ * ~


    I went over the Kickstarter pitch again, and almost got excited all over again. This game was going to be so beautiful...

    Valley of Broken Promises

    Live orchestra. Cut. Ruins of Ossiphagan. Cut. The Toy. Satsada. The Order of Flagellants and Austerities. Cut, cut cut. Lacunae, Hall of Lingering Reflections, another companion, another exit from the Castoff’s labyrinth, Voluminous Codex, the Oasis of M’Ra Jolios, player stronghold, Fathoms, foci, legacies, joinable factions, Italian localisation, all cut, every last one of them. Concept art where HR Giger meets the pre-Raphaelites turned into clumsy overpaints of photos. Teaser videos with animated elements, full voiceover, and moody, dynamic lighting turned into silent scenes on maps with ill-fitting textures and visible polygons, evenly lit in flat, cold 6500K straight from a 1980s corporate accounting department.


    Where did all this passion go?

    To make it worse, inXile attempted to sweep all these cut features under the rug, hoping that somehow the tens of thousands of fans who pledged for the project and cheered it on through every update wouldn’t notice, or wouldn’t care. When caught, they attempted to weasel out of some of them, claiming that the endgame area is the player stronghold, or that they didn’t really cut the Oasis, just decided to make the Bloom the second major hub -- this, after running a successful post-Kickstarter campaign specifically to “restore George Ziets’ Bloom design and fully implement it according to his original vision.” [link]

    If inXile ever wants to stick its snout in the crowdfunding trough again, it needs to regain the trust of its fans. After a betrayal of this magnitude, that is going to be a tall order. A good start would be to come clean: to candidly explain what went wrong and where, how that five million in crowdfunding money was spent, and how a group this good could have such low standards for the quality of their work, and ultimately produce so little.

    Or hey, they could always sell DLC armour for console players. Guess that’ll work too.
     
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  25. an Administratorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    What's a Skill Game?
     
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