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TORMENT: TIDES of NUMENERA

The game begins with you looking at your own body. It is dressed in a form-fitting dark suit made of a material you cannot name.

As you awake and begin to move you realise that the figure-tight suit may not be all it at first seemed, in fact you are in some kind
of cocoon and as you realise this it begins to rip and you begin to fall .....

Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game about decisions and actions and as you fall the first series of options appear onscreen.
As you fall do you ? Look at the horizon, Catch the Wind, Guess how far you have left to fall, or Dive into the ground ?
Whatever you choose you will eventually crash land at the beginning of the adventure, and from now on all decisions you make
will impact on the game.

Characters have a Stat's Pool for Might, Speed and Intellect all of which are regarded as Effort that they draw on when an action is
required. 

 

You are in a huge cavern and the ground on which you stand looks very reminiscent of one of those Pinhead Impression toys and in
fact as you begin to move, by using the mouse point and click method, the floor indeed does pop up in front of you. Somewhere on
the path you will see a small ball of twinkling light and it is this that you should head towards - it will appear on every path at some
point. By clicking on the light you interact with it and receive the next series of options.

Eventually you reach a mirror where you view a series of doppelgangers, one of which you will choose after viewing its stats, as
your character for the rest of the game. There are three choices: Glaive; Jack; Nano.
Glaives: Elite warriors such as Scouts, Guardians, Warlords etc.
Jacks (of all trades): Explorers, Adventurers - Indiana Jones, Han Solo types.
Nano: Magic using Mages, Wizards, Sorceres, Witches etc.

 

Characters have Abilities and Skills, the first of which you select 2 from the 5 on offer (different for each type) and the second you
spend the points you are given on distributing them as you want. Then you have a hard choice 1 from 16 for your Exploration skill.
If you choose to be a Glaive there are specialist weapon skills only you can learn. It is around this time that you discover that your
body is actually in the "real world" finishing its healing process from the original dramatic fall. It is in a resonance chamber in a
Crystal Sarcophagus and that you are actually in some kind of "dream" state. 

After reaching the Gates, which are shaped to look quite like the organ from Phantom of the Opera, you get to go on Quests, joining
up with two other adventurers, Aligera and Callistege. 

At this moment you are still reeling about what has happened to you and this feeling isn't eased when you find out that there is an
entity knamed The Changing God who transfers him/it self into new bodies. Unfortunately for him/it these new bodies are now in
short supply, unfortunately for you your body is the last available to him and thus you are now the last of the Cast-Offs. To make
matters even worse something known as "The Sorrow" is out there killing all the Cast-Offs.

In case you are confused, watch the Story Trailer HERE

 

TIDES of NUMENERA is a classic role-play game set way in the future where many things have changed and many other things
are still surprisingly the same, in fact much of the technology hasn't evolved but as a player you can accept this because despite being
futuristic the story itself is old-school science fiction, very edgy, superbly scripted and elegantly visually designed.

Unusually and despite the possibilities for action in a game of this genre  there is very little actual combat, in fact you can usually talk
your way out of it, not always but more often than not. To get the best out of this game you have to be a certain type of player. This is
more of a cerebral adventure than it is a macho action game and this may be off-putting for players who believe sci-fi is all Star Wars,
though it could be food and drink to Azimov and Heinlein fans as the story is the more important than the fighting.

As I said earlier, Nunenera is all about the choices you make from the options open to you. It is story-driven and it is you who drives 
the story. It is deep, dark and intense a lot of the time but there are also some lighter-hearted moments which turn pretty dark and pretty
ugly, pretty quickly if you make the wrong decision.

There are a lot of hours play in TIDES of NUMENERA, at least 30-40, many of which are spent exploring and discovering the mysteries
within. Although you are on a path, of sorts, the game isn't entirely linear, you have to search for openings, and I don't mean cracks in the
wall. Talking 

The designers Chris Avellone and Colin McComb, both worked on Planescape: Torment, and although this isn't a sequel per se it is
derived from the possibilities opened by the Planescape science fiction world found in TSR/WotC/Hasbro's Dungeons & Dragons but
without as much combat. Given the chance this could be one of the best sci-fi games you have played but you really have to get yourself
involved deeply with the characters and investigate the story as if you were a great detective.

Evocative and provocative TIDES of NUMENERA is a work of art on all counts.



 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015