In this day and age, videogames are filled with countless lines of conversations, voice lines, and monologues, and developers spend millions in order to transfer such from paper, into audio files. Titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Uncharted 4, both of which have been released this generation, truly benefited from being fully voice-lined. In the case of Uncharted 4, immaculate voice acting gave the title a certain personality, so to speak, whereas The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has become much more approachable, as a title, due to fully realised voice acting. However, while some spend millions on voice actors and recording sessions, others such as inXile stray away from such an approach and invest their money elsewhere.

InXile, the developers behind the just released Torment: Tides of Numenera, when approaching the title from its early stages, had a difficult task at hand as, unlike other developers, they didn’t have countless millions to invest into the game. Originally, Torment: Tides of Numenera first made its appearance on KickStarter back in 2013, and after initially asking for $900,000, the Newport Beach based studio managed to secure over four million dollars. But as one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century states, where there’s ”Mo Money”, there’s ”Mo Problems” – Notorious B.I.G.

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Initially, Torment: Tides of Numenera was set to be released back in 2014 as the KickStarter page for the title indicates, however, as I mentioned above, a sudden increase in operational budget has also arrived with a plethora of so called ”problems”. And after years of slipping and sliding within the confines of developmental limbo, Torment: Tides of Numenera has finally made its presence known on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, today, on the 28th of February.

Despite it only hitting the shelves today, I had a chance to play it for over two weeks now, due to the early arrival of the review copy, and first thing that can be said is that Torment: Tides of Numenera is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an old school CRPG with more distinct and unique branches than a thousand year old tree. And in that sense, Torment: Tides of Numenera is truly unique, as to my knowledge, no other contemporary game has managed to execute the ”player choice” mechanic to this level. Everything the player does has impacts on the world around him/her, and the majority of the in-game objectives can be approached in numerous ways. In-fact, a vast majority of Torment: Tides of Numenera can be completed with barely an ounce of combat. Aside from a handful of scripted moments where combat is a necessity, players can go through the entirety of the game without drawing a weapon even once.

The way in which the story of Torment: Tides of Numenera unfolds is truly spectacular, however, in order for it to be fully comprehended by players, it has to be read out in its entirety, as unlike other titles of this ilk, Torment: Tides of Numenera features a minimal amount of voice acting. A broad majority of the in-game text features no voice-acting whatsoever, and players can spend hours without hearing a single word, however, just like a good book, Torment: Tides of Numenera can be truly appreciated after one has invested all his/her user agency into it. However, stating such, it has to be underlined that Torment: Tides of Numenera is not a title for absolutely everybody, especially not for the casual/modern gamer. And this becomes more and more apparent as the title goes on into its later stages.

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The matter of limited voice acting can be seen as an apparent issue by certain individuals, but ultimately the lack of spoken word within the world of Torment: Tides of Numenera, is not as problematic as the limited amount of SFX sounds which truly showcase how barebones the audio facade of Torment: Tides of Numenera actually is. Throughout the title, players will have a chance to visit a wide array of locations unique not only to the title, but the videogame industry as a whole, as the visual combination of steampunk-esque science, supernatural magic, and ancient architecture, creates a world like none other. However, despite its unique visual architecture, it is a world which seems to be on the verge of extinction, and it’s not because this is used as a plot device, but because the world of Torment: Tides of Numenera is extremely quiet.

During the early stages, players will march through and past public executions, cultist camps, marketplaces, underground societies, lairs, and last but not least, otherworldly dimensions, and despite the fact that such all feature a unique look, and equally distinct cast of characters, they all blend into one when it comes to the sound they produce. Yes, all in-game locations do feature background noises, which are ”unique” to each and every environment, if one were to listen to any of the background sound, he/she could never guess where they are, because all in-game sounds are very generic, and are not distinct enough to truly give the in-game locations a soul or a sense of place.

It has to be stated that the sound design and execution of such are major weak points, and a blemish on the entirety of Torment: Tides of Numenera, but ultimately, the positives outweigh the negatives in a major way, and, once the player gets into the rough of the title, all the negatives disappear within the abyss of joy which Torment: Tides of Numenera creates. And even the slight drops in framerate, which can occur from time to time on the PlayStation 4, are not significant enough to in anyway hamper the experience which Torment: Tides of Numenera is capable of providing to any and all players who decide to pick it up. As ultimately, Torment: Tides of Numenera is really a game like no other, and a game which should in the very least be experienced by all fans of the RPG genre.



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.