Title: The Technomancer
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Windows, Steam
Reviewed on: Windows
Players: Single player
Written by Dragoon 30th June 2016
Triple A and Indie games dominate today's gaming market so it’s almost refreshing to have an obviously B rate game to review. These are games that don’t have the budget to fight with the big boys but at the same time aren’t made by a tiny team of developers with a pocketful of change. The Technomancer by developer Spiders is an action RPG that at first glance reminded me a lot of Biowares back catalogue, especially the Mass Effect series. Unfortunately this comparison was short lived as The Technomancer lacks any of the polish or charm those games had.
The Technomancer is a spiritual sequel to the little known Mars: War Logs, being set in the same universe. The game takes place on a colonised Mars that is run by powerful corporations. You take the reins of rookie Technomancer Zachariah and help guide him through the twisted politics of colonised life on Mars. The setting and the world itself are the best points the game has to offer, the environments are genuinely interesting and well realised. A lot of love was put into making the various areas of Mars feel unique and there are plenty of little details that help them come to life.
This is where the praise ends though, this interesting setting is squandered on some of the most bland and generic writing I’ve seen in awhile. The story is predictable and the dialogue is atrocious. It isn’t helped by the voice acting which ranges from mediocre to downright terrible. The worst offender being Zachariah himself who sounds so monotone and bland for a main character. You’d think a character who has the most lines in the game would have a good voice but that’s far from the case.
The story and dialogue could be forgiven if they had put all their focus on the gameplay but again that’s most certainly not the case. The game has a melee based combat system which reminded me somewhat of the one in The Witcher series, a hack slash affair that pretty much devolved into button mashing. There are three different weapon stances available to switch between on the fly but you’ll probably end up sticking with just one. The game encourages you to switch in the tutorial but it then removes this option by making you focus on a specific one when it comes to levelling up. There are also a few Technomancy spells but these mostly felt underwhelming and often went unused.
When it comes to combat this game is brutally hard. You barely do damage to enemies while they do Dark Souls levels of damage to you. Unlike Dark Souls though there are no patterns or windows of opportunity to exploit, you just keep swinging until you beat everything or die. Your only defensive options are a roll dodge and an awkward interrupt attack, they both rarely seem to work how you think they should. Even later on in the game, with the top equipment and skills, fights against the bog standard human enemies took way too long to finish and became a bore. The targeting system doesn’t seem to follow any rule that I could figure out so it’s quite common to have to fight it as much as the enemies.
While I mentioned the love and care taken with the environments in the game the same cannot be said for the characters themselves. The customisation options for Zachariah are quite limited, especially when it comes to his hair which pretty much gives you the option for a punky look or a buzz cut. The biggest issue is the characters faces though, the only thing that moves when they talk are their mouths so you just get to stare at their lifeless, deadpan faces as they waffle on. It’s genuinely creepy and reminds me more of a PS2 era game rather than a current one. The soundtrack is pretty generic with the usual kinds of tunes you would expect from a sci-
Overall The Technomancer is a pale imitation of the games it’s obviously inspired by. There was some potential for the setting, which has been unfortunately squandered. The environments are genuinely interesting and full of life but it’s a shame the same can’t be said for the game’s dialogue or story. The combat is awkward and unfairly difficult, even on the easiest difficulty setting, and battles take way too long at every point of the game. The voice acting is mediocre at best and the general sound design is too generic and safe. If you’re looking for an engaging action RPG there are much better choices than this game, if you’re a fan of the genre it’s worth a try but I’d have a hard time recommending it to anyone else.
Well realised environments.
Mediocre to terrible voice acting,
Cliché story and dialogue,
The Technomancer is technically inept, it’s a game with a decent blueprint that couldn’t deliver in the end leaving it with a disappointing 4/10.