I was lucky enough to be given a review code for Torment: Tides of Numenera on the Xbox One – developed by inXile Entertainment and published by Techland. It’s a fantastic RPG, which follows in the footsteps of computer RPGs – namely Planescape: Torment.
But you can see inspiration from titles like Baulder’s Gate in there, too. It’s set in a fantastic, futuristic concept of Earth. One that’s visually stunning. But it relies heavily on its brilliant storytelling to suck you in, and build the world around you.
If your ideal version of an RPG is Skyrim, or Fallout, then Tides of Numenera may not be for you. That being said, if you’re looking for a game to captivate you. Which draws you in with its fantastic story telling. That is set in a truly unique world – packed full of diverse characters and unique interactions.
Then these five points below will hopefully show you why Tides of Numenera might just be the RPG you never knew you wanted to play.
Tides of Numenera is beautifully narrated
Unlike your usual RPG, or video game for that matter, Tides of Numenera doesn’t use cutscenes. It also rarely uses voice actors.
Instead, the world is narrated and described through text. The action’s of NPC’s are described, as you read the dialogue. For me, it helps to build an even better picture of a character’s personality.
The tiniest actions are included, to build a picture of the world, and the people that you’re interacting with. It helps to weave the story throughout your interactions with the world, and the people within it.
It makes you feel as though every interaction, every action, and every choice, is somehow important to the story as it unfolds. It’s something I’ve never experienced before in an RPG – and I’m totally addicted.
It has the best aspects of a tabletop RPG
The previous point leads in to this one. In that the way that you play the game is very similar to a tabletop RPG, in its own unique way. Which makes sense, because the game Set in Monte Cook’s tabletop role-playing world, Numenera.
You’ll be given a list of decisions, actions or dialogue options to choose from. Often it’ll be multiple options for the same activity or actions. For instance, I was told to grab a load of eggs from some creatures tunneling under a city. In the actions, I could delicately take them, or just smash the egg sacks.
In smashing them, I destroyed the eggs. Had I decided to try and carefully remove them, I would have been able to take them intact. However, my destroying the eggs could have some real ramifications as the game goes on. Certain NPCs will be more hostile to me, making it harder to complete some quests.
So far, there always seems to have been a way around my poor decisions. Though it usually takes me longer to sort them out. It’s very much a game that takes a lot of thinking, and a great deal of tactics.
Your decisions impact the world around you
More so than any other RPG I’ve ever played. Even the smallest of decisions seems to have ramifications. If not immediately, then further down the line.
A lot of this is based on the Tides system. The concept is similar to games like Knights of the Old Republic, where your actions dictated your allegiance towards the light or dark side of the Force. The Tides, however, are far more complex and nuanced.
There are a number of tides which each represent a number of emotions. Some actions or dialogue choices will impact which Tides are most dominant in your character.
As the game progresses, people in the world around you will react to you, depending on the balance of your Tides. It’s both subtle, and noticeable, in its own way. You can find out more on the Tides, and other aspects of the gameplay, on their website.
It has a world worth getting lost in
There’s very little direction or hand holding in Tides of Numenera. I constantly find myself consulting my journal, exploring the world and talking to people within it. It’s brilliant, because it makes you feel like you’re actually a part of this living, breathing world.
Want to know where to find someone, or the best place to look for quest items? Ask someone. There’s no quest marker. So you’ll either have to wander around aimlessly, or swallow your pride and actually talk to people.
The game is driven by dialogue, so you have to be patient with it. Don’t go skipping through conversations, because you’ll miss a lot – and probably something quite important. If you’re prepared to take the time. To dedicate yourself to the game, and the world, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s a refreshing challenge
I was looking at picking up Mass Effect 4. But in the end I decided against it, because I wouldn’t have the time. But after playing Torment: Tides of Numenera for the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to realise that I do have the time. I just hadn’t found a game that I wanted to dedicate it to.
Games like Mass Effect, Skyrim, Fallout – they’re great. I love those types of RPG. But Tides of Numenera is different. It’s challenging, it’s all encompassing – in a way. It’s refreshing, but quite “traditional” at the same time.