Title: Torment -
Platform: Windows, Steam, PS4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PS4
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 12th March 2017
Remember Arkham Knight, it was fun right?
Well for PC users it was a buggy mess and even Batman himself had to spend a whole night just to get the thing to run at the lowest level of serviceable. It must be said in the grand meta of the console wars, console fans had been gift wrapped a trump card against the PC elites and when it came to multiplatform releases we found ourselves second guessing our choice on launch. So imagine my face when once again I’ve rolled snake eyes on the roulette table once again, made all the more poignant when I was betting high on the supposed winning horse.
It’s a real shame too as inXile Entertainment have shown some real strength with reviving the classic CRPG feel with Wasteland 2 and now Torment: Tides of Numenera. Set aeons into the future, Tides of Numenera sees humanity set back to an age of medieval technology and social workings, where advanced technologies are alien to but a few individuals.
The Changing God is one such individual who has mastered some of these machinations in order to grasp immortality via transferring their very being into another host to extend their lifespan.
As the most recently discarded host, you are the Last Castoff, a blank slate who desires to figure out who you are and what course should your future take while trying to outrun the pursuit of a being called The Sorrow.
Tides of Numenera is absolutely flooding with lore.
Fans of pen and paper RPGs and in particular Monte Cook’s writing will be in for a feast of delicious stories, interesting characters and expertly put together world crafting. There’s also a delightful level of agency handed to the player so much so that it’s perfectly doable to play through most if not all of the story without engaging in a single battle passed the tutorial. Which is great, cause the combat is atrocious.
While it’s world is outlandishly bizarre even by fantasy standards, Torment’s narrative is a very real one that attempts to question what it takes to embrace change and how one individual can affect the world.
It’s classic sci-
In fact there’s easily over several novel’s worth of text, dialogue and narrative to digest that makes it all the more painful when you look past the fantastic story to reveal a clunky and ugly mess. Several notable technical and design flaws weigh heavily on the overall experience. While long load times are no stranger to console titles, for something that looks rather undemanding of the hardware it's just utterly teeth grinding. The biggest offender however is just how shockingly bad Torment runs on the PS4, not quite Arkham Knight bad, (see there was a reason I brought it up, I’m not just unnecessarily bitter) but still offensively amateurish. While character models are hideously outdated looking, simply walking across the screen would have the framerate jerking to borderline slideshow quality with inconsistent fps drops plaguing the performance.
Casual RPG fans and newcomers should be aware that Torment will come across as a tad text heavy, it’s certainly an enjoyable read but
there are times you you would rather see and not read what’s happening.
The absence of a codex or waypoint system is refreshing but the requirement to pour over every bit of text becomes tediously draining on the experience when said text is presented through a cheap looking interface.
Tides of Numenera makes no qualms at being a rather niche experience, but the bugs, long loading times and clunky performance on the PS4 make it hard to recommend in spite of such unique aesthetics and gameplay. Longtime fans are likely to see past the bad window dressing and the undercooked insides to enjoy the narrative feast but newcomers and casual RPG goers will likely notice too many flaws to find fault with. I honestly hate that I need to damn the game on its technical flaws, if I had the grace of time on my side I would willingly wait on the devs ironing out the flaws. If you’re a fan of the 1999 classic then you’ve probably already got it, if you’re on the fence then wait for a few more patches if you need to grab it on PS4 or get in now on Steam.
Bizarre and visually visceral environments,
Impressive variety in alternatives to fighting,
Deliciously complex and in depth narrative.
Combat so horrible it feels like a punishment,
Awful character models,
Cheap and nasty UI,
Plagued with performance issues on PS4.
Eventually Torment: Tides of Numenera could be an 7.5, but till then it’s a 6.5/10.