Torment: Tides of Numenera is a unique experience. It’s setting and story are so unique in their characters, setting, and world building, that it’s hard to not get sucked into the world and wanting to know every bit of information that you can glean out of every NPC and object. The characters shine, and their personalities make you love every piece of dialogue they give you, and you are often disappointed certain characters only get a certain amount of responses. The game has problems, but the world itself shines through and through and encourages you to keep playing, even until the end.
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a traditional RPG, but one that seems to be focused more on dialogue, conversation, and story than most RPGs. The combat is there and clearly exists, with its bases clearly covered in that regard, but it seems to take a backseat to the story, and the game clearly wants you to explore diplomatic options before jumping straight into combat. The combat itself works when it needs to, although the game’s AI really bugs out when trying to move, which really drags out turns, making me more and more annoyed as I played. Waiting half a minute for an AI character to finally settle on the same space it was moving in a circle on is certainly frustrating, and it only served to feel like my time was being wasted on a bug every single time.
The graphics themselves are well enough, they show off the setting well enough, although I found myself wishing that they were a little more advanced so that I could see more settings in detail, but they were detailed enough that the settings were varied and the locales and people were presented in a way that made sense. Unfortunately, even though these graphics weren’t new in the slightest, the loading times for these settings were super long every single time I played. It was hard for me to wait at least half a minute or more every time I went to a separate room or location and really pulled me out of the immersion of the world out of just pure frustration. I would have really hoped that a game released on the PS4 in this day and age, especially with graphics that aren’t exactly pushing the envelope, would load a lot faster, as games with way more demanding graphics have faster loading times than Tides.
The strongest part of Torment: Tides of Numenera however, is its story, characters, and dialogue. The story and characters are masterfully crafted, the world rich and filled with the lore of a universe that has so much lore to explore and learn. This is a universe that has been around for such a long time and as such, has a lot of lore and concepts to explore. The settings themselves are widely varied, no two places being alike and every location you visit just gives you more questions. From a normal town on a cliff side to a sentient dimension made entirely out of flesh, the settings are widely varied and deeply interesting and is probably one of the things that really drew me into what otherwise could have been a normal RPG.
The characters you meet along the way are very well written as well, from the various companions you can get, to even one shot NPCs you might meet only once or twice. I found myself wishing that certain characters could have more dialogue and that I could interact with them more, like the golem that I found was piloted by a young girl. I got her to help me fight a large monstrosity along with my party, and her dialogue was pure gold, and I was disappointed when we finally took it down, as all her dialogue options were then done, and I couldn’t do more with her. This only serves to show how good the characters are that you meet along the way, and they are half the reason I stayed so invested despite the game’s frustrations.
The story of Torment: Tides of Numenera itself is not overly complicated, but interesting nonetheless. You are a Castoff, one in a line of people that have served as a past body of the Changing God. Once the Changing God moves onto another body, either by necessity or by choice, the empty shell gets a will of its own and becomes its own person. You play as the newest one of these castoffs and your quest is to learn about the world around you and to try and piece together things about the Changing God, your fellow castoffs, and the world at large. It’s quite an interesting concept and lends itself to the story quite well, as well as making it easy to tell the story from various perspectives since everyone knows of your sire. I won’t spoil any story points here, but it progresses quite naturally, and there are even some really good in depth side missions to do, but you have to make sure you do them before moving onto other locations, as some will lock you out of missions, which means you won’t be able to complete them later. The story itself is interesting enough, and while it’s hard to get a grasp on the whole world in one playthrough, the world itself is rich enough that you end up trying to absorb every detail you can.
To summarize, Torment: Tides of Numenera is an interesting story set in a complex and beautifully crafted world with amazingly written characters and masterfully crafted dialogue. Unfortunately, it’s bogged down by the loading times, glitched AI combat, and technical aspects that just lead to frustration and that pull you from the otherwise amazing immersion. The game is still great though and if you are a gamer that is into the setting, characters, and story as opposed to combat, then you will have a hard time finding a better option.
A Playstation 4 Review Key of Torment: Tides of Numenera was provided by Techland Publishing for the Purpose of this Review