Current generation of consoles, so far, has been missing the large array of AA titles, which previous generation was a home to. Titles which were average at best, and never crossed the ever elusive, 50 point Metacritic mark. And the main reason for their absence was, and still is the rise of the indies. However, slowly but surely titles such as Alekheine’s Gun, and Styx: Master of Shadows, have made their way onto PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And with each and every year, both consoles have become a platform of choice for publishers who specialise in AA games, such as Focus Home Interactive.

Focus Home Interactive, has previously released big time ”hits” such as Bound by Flame, Farming Simulator 15, and last but certainly not least Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper, and is one of the publisher’s renown for making AA titles accessible for absolutely everybody. And now, after only publishing a handful of titles for the current gen consoles, Focus is back with yet another gem, The Technomancer.

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The Technomancer, for anybody who is not familiar with the title, is a third-person, action RPG, which is set on Mars, within the same sci-fi universe as the previously released Mars: War Logs, meaning it is filled to the brim with a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk aesthetic. In-game, player is given control over Zachariah, who is a cadet within the ranks of the Technomancers, however, becomes a part of the organisation as soon as the first plot-related mission comes to a close. But, not to spoil, what the game considers to be the core of its plot, it is better not to go into detail on what happens during the said mission.

Primary introduction, and first core chapter of The Technomancer, right from the get-go display all the negatives of the title. First is a round of dialogue which takes place as soon as player hits start. And not to be too negative about the spectacle, it has to be said that the voice acting, writing behind the dialogue, and animations of the in-game character models, all leave a lot to be desired. The dialogue is overlong, and in most instances could be summarised with a single sentence, rather than ten which the developers have opted for. Low quality, and the abundant length of rather emotionless, and monotonous dialogue wouldn’t be so jarring, if not for the fact that all in-game characters have worse facial animations than most majority of mid-tier PlayStation 3 titles. And to finish it all off, the entirety of The Technomancer takes place in a world which is so majestically drab, it can bore even the most persistent of players to tears.

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The Technomancer features a pallet of five colours, grey, brown, orange, black, and blue. And blue, which is the most eye catching of all in-game colours, only appears on the screen whenever player uses certain abilities, which Zachariah can acquire over the course of the playthrough. And said abilities, are one of the handful of positives which feature throughout The Technomancer, in-fact the vast majority of combat, and character related features are of reasonable quality.

In-game, players can customise all aspects of the three available weapon types. And all three weapons are assigned to three different fighting stances. When choosing the staff as the weapon of choice, Zachariah has a much greater range when it comes to hitting his opponents, and is capable of avoiding majority of incoming attacks, as when in that particular stance, he can make acrobatic, batman’esque dodges over opponent’s head. When wielding a short blade, Zachariah can no longer perform acrobatic manoeuvres, as in this particular stance he can only perform short sidesteps, however, to compensate for lack of agility, players can press L2, in order to fire a bullet at any enemy in sight. Third and final stance, which most would consider to be the ”heavy” stance, features a shield and a blunt weapon of choice. And in this particular stance, dodging is completely out of question, as shields becomes the focal point of the combat, and can be used as a form of defence, as well as offence, as it can be used to attack any opponent.

The Technomancer’s can be further customised with addition of skills, and abilities which can be unlocked every couple of levels. However, even when player unlocks all available skills and abilities, in-game combat, loses all its flair after about 2 hours or so, as most will quickly realise that the best tactic is to simply hit an enemy twice, jump away, then wait for the enemy to make his/her move, and repeat, until everybody is knocked unconscious, because in The Technomancer, you don’t kill enemies in combat.

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Once you complete any combat sequence, you’re given a choice, you can either leave all the faceless men, and women screaming on the ground in agony, with broken bones and shattered skulls, or you can be a baddie, and kill them all by extracting serum from their wriggling bodies. And most will probably extract all the serum they can, because well, there are no actual repercussions, as your companions never utter a word about your choices. At least not until they decide to leave you, because you’re too cool for school, and they can no longer be a witness to your murderous rampage. And this is even better when they decide to leave you halfway through a rather difficult mission, and you have to spend an hour on a single combat sequence, because enemies can kill you from across the room with two bullets, when you have nobody covering you.

In the end The Technomancer, will not only have you fight the in-game enemies, but it will also have you struggle against the game itself. As questionable design choices, poor execution, and mind boggling difficult spikes, will make even the more advanced players scream out in rage and agony, every time a stray bullet downs Zacharia, and erases 30 minutes of progress. And once the tiresome, and unnecessary dialogue in accompaniment of poor animations is added to the mix, one can truly say that The Technomancer is a AA title, through and thorough, as it is simply average, and will surely find its home in a multitude of consoles worldwide, once it drops below the £25 mark.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.