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02-28-2017

Torment: Tides of Numenera

If there's one role-playing game I regret never having played, it's got to be Planescape: Torment. This PC RPG has gained a huge cult following over the years, and it's pretty easy to find people willing to sing its praises. From what I know about the game it sounds fascinating; dying merely sends your story down a different path since your character is an immortal being, and the setting requires you to travel between multiple dimensions to try and recover your lost memories.

Torment: Tides of Numenara is a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment that was successfully kickstarted in 2013. Although it's been delayed several times, it's nearing release and should be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on February 28. Planescape: Torment is well known for solving problems through means other than combat, focusing more on dialogue and other means of solving problems. Set a billion years in Earth's future, Torment: Tides of Numenara looks to continue that tradition, but accedes that sometimes mixing it up with bad guys is unavoidable. 

The trailer shows how you'll be able to deal with enemies when conversation fails you. Of particular note is the use of Cyphers, single use items with the power to turn the tide of battle. This power comes with a cost however, and hoarding Cyphers can literally blow up in your face if they react and explode in your inventory. Even holding too many will cause "Cypher Sickness," inflicting a stat penalty on a character with many Cyphers in their inventory. Fortunately, it appears as though the player will be able to devote skill points towards making sure this doesn't happen.

Up to three companions can join your party, and the player will have full control of them during combat. Each has their own unique abilities, and non-player characters will be able to use Cyphers too. Even if combat begins, you don't necessarily need to clear the map of enemies to proceed. Focusing on a leader might cause their underlings to cut and run, or you can try to talk enemies out of fighting midway through a battle.

Similar to Planescape: Torment, if you fall in combat, that doesn't necessarily mean it's game over. Dying transports you to the Castoff's Labyrinth, an Escher-like maze inside your own mind. Successfully navigating it can unlock new story threads, and returns you to life more powerful than before.

I hadn't been following this game closely, but everything I've seen here looks intriguing. The developers are promising "thousands of meaningful decisions that will make every playthrough unique." After nearly four years of development, it looks like Tides of Numenara will be worth the wait. Maybe I can even get a run of Planescape in before Torment launches on February 28.

Torment: Tides of Numenara - A New Take on Combat [YouTube]

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