A regular yet complex sci-fi RPG which tries to fill unmade holes.
Posted by Paul on 28 June 2016 at 10:01AM
The Sci-Fi genre in video games has been evolving and fluctuating in different paths. Focus Home Interactive releases Spider’s newest title, The Technomancer, a game that carries the story of a human base abandoned in Mars, where water is the most priced resource and a bunch of strange and weird cyberpunk tech is the every day life.
A GAME WITH TENSE COMBAT & INTERACTIONS
In terms of gameplay, the game feels a bit clunky. While controls respond effectively, animations are pretty much the same every time and it feels like an awkward struggle against AI enemies. The engine also makes character dialogues a bit strange when NPCs teleport in front of you in occasions and do their lines with very emotionless facial expressions.
The RPG elements are quite a lot. You have your regular level up system, which grants you different points to spend on base attributes, specializations, and a skill tree. On the other hand, you have your equipment load, both for armor and weapons that each can be upgraded in specific components with materials and resources you find in your travels, these upgrades are done on conveniently well placed workbenches around the map. Last but not least, you have skills and abilities which can be set to hotkeys for easier use in combat, each can be upgraded as well on the skill trees.
The progression in the game can feel a bit linear, at first. However, as you proceed you are able to obtain different side quests and take your path towards them. I mention the linear factor mostly due to path exploration and roaming. Your character can find hidden alleys that contain special loot, and sometimes find something even different, but overall you will be inclined to follow a main path to progress the story.
TOO MUCH PLOT, OR TOO LITTLE?
The plot surrounds the strange scientific experimentations of the first explorers of Mars. Generations into the future, we now have Technomancer, people who can control electricity and imbued it to weapons. The narrative in the game is very clashing; in the sense were NPCs blast you with paragraphs or plot the chance they get, while saying a lot but at the same time not explaining what the whole deal is.
It would have been more interesting if the whole back-story or your current adventure was based on a more subtle lore filled with mystery that you must uncover, but not get your companions make you read their whole text dialogues.
It is to say the game does offer a decent amount of insight for each NPC in what you would most likely want to ask them. Even though some really say their lines like they either don’t care or haven’t experienced the memory, the writing seems stable most of the time. Not to mention the intro to the game is a fantastic way to give a start to a sci-fi story, being clean, simple, and immersive.
THE VISUALS & SOUNDTRACK
The visual aesthetic of the game has a very small window of dynamic changes, making you see for extended periods of the game the same bland and desaturated color palettes. While this does strengthen the tone of the narrative, it affects attractiveness and sometimes even affects your time enjoying the actual game.
As for the UI design, it’s interesting to use simple icons and dynamic menus with the use a light blue referencing the electricity of the Technomancers. However, the amount of game systems and mechanics it offers for the RPG element can prove to saturate the screen making it tiresome to admire or follow a reading path.
The choice of music is interesting, the use of synthesizers (which on their default are not very well mixed with the other stems) gives the whole vibe of futuristic ambience and unique in comparison to other titles of the genre.
The whole idea of space travelling and venturing into the nothingness until you find a remote planet that can be habitable, is somewhat overused. However, The Technomancer plants this concept and nourishes it with an interesting mysterious setting filled with cyberpunk action.
It’s unique in it’s own way, mostly on the tone established directly from the beginning of the game and further on evolves as you develop your character and interact with the rest of the world.
It’s a game that could have been simpler in some aspects, and more complex in others, it does suffer from this balance and can make gameplay tiresome and repetitive, but for story focused gamers this can be a treat for fans of the genre.
- Interesting tone and setting
- Unique alternatives of the cyberpunk genre
- Contrasting choose of instruments for the OST
- Repetitive gameplay mechanics, as well as saturated menus yet with limited options.
- Overly complex plot that could have been managed differently