You can play Torment: Tides of Numenera for free until Sunday

…and if you haven’t yet, then you probably should. We named Torment: Tides of Numenera as one of the best games of 2017 for a reason, you know. You can play Inxile Entertainment’s fascinating RPG until Sunday at 9PM BST through Steam, and pick it up for 60% off until Monday.

Oh go on, here’s a peek behind the curtain – I basically named it one of the best games of 2017, by chucking loads of my voting points at it. And it turns out I wasn’t even playing it right.

Embarrassingly, I only found out you could click on characters to talk to them in the middle of combat until I was near the very end of the game. I’m told that nearly every fight can be avoided with some well placed words, which is both an amazing accomplishment for an RPG and a galling realisation for someone who’d have loved to play the game that way.

Speaking of structurally ambitious yet successfull accomplishments, if you’re on the fence you should check out Alec’s choose your own adventure review. Even if you’re not, you should read it anyway because it includes sentences like these:

“The central reason for Tides of Numenera’s being is a riposte to RPG convention – that this should be a game where story, and exploration of what that story means, is of infinitely greater importance than spectacle and action. Not for this the lurid sex scene, the legendary weapon or the explosive magical lightshow. Plenty of combat (turn-based and party-based) is available if you so wish, though I found it to be rather functional and with far less fascinating consequences than talking my way out of or into trouble.”

Yep, I really need to replay this. Especially seen as the devs have since added a new companion – a blob of goop whose abities change based on your moral decisions.

The 60% discount currently puts the base game at a bargain £14/$18/€18, and the same deal applies to the maybe-not-quite-so-much-of-a-bargain fancy editions.

34 Comments

  1. Antongranis says:

    I considered getting this, but it seems to have gotten a mixed reception. A data-cap means i rather not download something i might not play much. Is it worth it, fellow commenters?

    • arienette says:

      Definitely. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clearly made on a bit of a budget and the pacing is off (but when isn’t it with these games).

      But it’s commitment to weirdness, fascinating pieces of text and non-violent solutions make it unlike other games of its ilk.

      Don’t expect a masterpiece, do expect to be frequently thrilled.

    • Xelias says:

      I would be leaning “no” myself. The game is well written but could do with an editor cutting 20% of those words. Gameplay-wise it’s a bit fidly and doesn’t feel polished. The game is missing it’s third act (There’s Three “main zones” where the game clearly feels like it aimed at four and a bit more).

      Outside of that, your companions are very passive and don’t interject with the plot (except for one). And a bunch of stuff has been cut (sadly, really interesting ideas that got me interested in the game in the first place, like unlocking a “mind labyrinth” during the game… That ended up being like, 4 rooms and a half.)

      All in all, the writing is good, the gameplay is mostly bad. But It’s worth it if you just like the outside fluff. Things that aren’t related to the main plot are usually cool because they are pretty much self contained.

    • bacon seeker says:

      If you like this kind of game and especially if you like Planescape Torment, its worth a try. It’s not as if there are too many games like this to play them all, even if the genre has picked up a bit. Plus I doubt it’s that many GB to download.

      • Antongranis says:

        I have a 60 GB limit. Eh, i dont think i am going to bother with it. A good story never makes up for sub-par mechanics.

        • Evan_ says:

          Makes me wonder if you played Planescape: Torment. That’s one of the games that makes you swallow those words above. And don’t think I could name two more.

          It costs pennies, and it takes less than a gigabyte.

          • Antongranis says:

            I havent. I worry i would have trouble enjoying an old game like that, being largely used to modern games and thier convinience. Has it aged well?

          • fuggles says:

            With the mods to sort out widescreen and high resolution text, then yes. It’s not got the best opening area though.

        • Hoot says:

          Or you could just buy Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition which has native widescreen and 1080p support.

    • TheOx129 says:

      I’d say it depends. How do you feel about an RPG that has 1) combat mechanics that feel like an afterthought at best, 2) a plot and side quests that feel more episodic than part of some singular journey, and 3) good writing that nevertheless could’ve done with some editing?

      Personally, I really liked it and felt it a worthy spiritual successor to Planescape, even though I don’t think it hits the same highs and it’s certainly a flawed game at its core. On a semi-related note, I very much hope Disco Elysium succeeds at what it’s setting out to do, because playing Tides of Numenera made me realize how much I want a CRPG that has minimal to no combat.

  2. draegdrwg says:

    I’m sort of tempted. Numenera is a fascinating setting.. how well does this run on laptops? I know it has pre-rendered backdrops but being 2d doesn’t necessarily mean anything these days!

  3. Phantom_Renegade says:

    I played it a bit and really felt like this needed two things. One, someone to make the combat fun and two, someone to remove the George R R Martin wannabe from the writing team. God damn is everything long winded and boring.

  4. girard says:

    From folks who have played it – what exactly is different about the “Legacy” and “Immortal” editions? Are they essential story DLC whose absence makes the core game alone feel incomplete, or would I still be getting a full experience snagging the core game for $18?

    • Viral Frog says:

      I haven’t played, but I do know those are just a bunch of optional things. Soundtrack, forum avetars, a couple novelas, ring tones, world map… basically a huge waste of money IMO.

      I hate the way they arrange these “Edition Upgrades” on Steam. Makes it ridiculously difficult to find out what’s even included.

  5. Eleven says:

    I really loved this game. It de-emphasised mass-murder as a standard RPG gameplay mechanic, had a storyline brimming with off the wall conceptual SF, and just occasionally failing an event was more interesting than succeeding at it. I would have liked it to be longer, but that’s hardly a failing.

    I can see why it’s not to everybody’s tastes though, the story is somewhat uninteractive and the combat sections are a bit forced, but I’d very happily kickstart a sequel.

    • xalcupa says:

      Agree here. Really enjoyed it as it stands out as something different. Combat is ok (had maybe 3 combat situations in the whole game), but not the focus of the game at all. I think you would be doing yourself a disservice in not trying it out as it represents a decent attempt at innovation in games. World and story writing is adequately interesting and has a wibe of Cthulhu (mouths anyone?). Most party characters are interesting and overall well written. Recommend to go with a “chatty” charisma character as the game really shines there. Hope you give it a chance!

  6. dylandekoe says:

    Oh god, Rhin, my girl. Curse you for reminding me.

    For all it’s flaws I don’t think there has ever been a game that got me the feels as much as that particular sub-story did.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m pretty sure Rhin was written by Patrick Rothfuss, when he was in between other ways to avoid writing novels.

  7. Nolenthar says:

    It was also added to Origin access, who got other great cRPG recently such as Tyranny or Wasteland 2 so I would advise to anyone unsure to like the game to pay a month of origin access (3£) and give it a try.

  8. dethtoll says:

    If I hated Planescape Torment’s clunky-awful combat and ridiculous edgelord fantasy freakshow setting, will I still like this?

    • hfm says:

      Your comment as a thinly veiled insult-come-question has more edgelord in it than the Planescape campaign setting ever did.

      • klops says:

        I don’t see that completely as an insult hidden in the form of a question. There’s a clear question:
        “I hated that and that part of the 90s Torment. Is the one made 20 years after similar in those aspects?”

      • dethtoll says:

        So do you have an actual answer, or are you just going to sound like every PST fanboy I ever met, scrambling to be first to scream “you just didn’t GET IT” because I didn’t like your favorite?

        • Hoot says:

          Sure, I’ll chime in. You just didn’t get it, mate.

          You seem to have some major self esteem issues though (or you’ve just been burned by a PST fan in the past?). It was enough to say “I didn’t like PST” without the denigration. Turns out it was ironic given how “edgelordy” your initial statement was.

          In answer to your question, as if it wasn’t abundantly clear to you anyway, is no. If you didn’t like PST, you won’t like ToN.

          But then again, I loved PST and still didn’t like ToN. Not even in the same league, tbh.

          • dethtoll says:

            lmao

            “i don’t like PST’s bad combat or stupid setting” “YOU HAVE SELF-ESTEEM ISSUES BLARRRGGG”

            sorry i don’t like ur gaem i guess?? but thanks for proving my point about PST fans

  9. drvoke says:

    I hesitated to buy this game before because of the mixed Steam reviews. What a fool! I’m happy there was a free weekend or I might not have ever played this very wonderful game.

  10. InternetBatman says:

    The worst part about the incomplete nature of the combat system is that I think that type of system has a lot of potential. It’s really fun to run PnP games in systems like d6 where you choose from 30 skills, only a few of which involve combat.

    However, TToN also showed the problems with them too. If you play a while, you get a team of characters that are Godlike in their respective skills and the game loses its challenge. By the end of the game you could throw points around like it wasn’t a problem.
    Even worse, combat became a game of wait for the skilled party members to do shit, and then wait for 30 mobs to attack. PnP games with this problem can get around it by making bosses that can permanently kill a non-combat character on a good crit.

  11. someone132 says:

    I heard a lot about Numenera, and followed its development eagerly, but as someone who could never find the time for the original, I put it off until it released and the mixed reception somewhat dampened my interest.

    Now, I am about 3 hours in, and I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the maps look nice and unique, the soundtrack is better, and a lot of the worldbuilding and side stories is very interesting. At its best, simply going from NPC to NPC, reading their stories, discovering memories, etc. while that OST is playing is a very chill experience.

    On the other hand, I remain amazed that a $4,000,000+ game shows no character portraits during conversations, even though it has a patch of grey UI to the right seemingly geared just for that. (UI in general is weirdly unappealing, a bland generic-white-font-on-grey mess.) Same goes for the visions you get every so often, and which comprise approx. half the intro. I don’t get how they failed to either transport you into them outright as a scripted mini-level, or to at least show the relevant stills during the process. One paragraph of description is nowhere near enough, especially when each sentence in it talks about different things entirely. It’s especially baffling given that they bothered to draw many great-looking loading screens.

    Worse is that the dialogue system design so far is rather unsatisfying. You constantly get the “again” options to re-ask the exact same things, all of which feel utterly pointless when you can just scroll up the conversation to see that. Yet, you usually can’t press them further when the other characters idly drop references to something you have know idea about, and you simply have to trust the game to give you another chance to learn them. It’s even worse when they casually mention doing something weird or screwed-up, but you can’t press them on that either.

    As in: you can ask the first arms merchant (who for some reason mainly sells the most generic weapons possible: I know it’s not geared for combat, and I purposefully avoided picking any combat skills, but I still hoped it would have a range of weapons integrated into the lore, not a bunch of plain daggers and wooden shields) about his settlement, Sagus Cliffs, and in his response he mentions some Endless Battle and the Bloom. These sound like interesting things…nope, can’t him ask anything else. “Levies” mention that they serve “Slave Families” but you can’t ask the very reasonable inquiry why rulers chose that name for themselves. (Nor can you ask what makes the ridiculously taxing process of their creation superior to recruiting normal guards in the first place.)

    Out of your first two companions, one has “living tatoos” and the other, Callistege sees herself across all dimensions. Can you ask who else has these powers? Nope. Can you ask her if “you” also exist in these alternate worlds? She casually mentions killing the other companion in another timeline: can you ask how often she died herself? Nope. The two companions argue for and against “Order of Truth” and “Cult of the Changing God”, but neither are willing to say anything concrete about what either does, speaking in generalities regardless of whether they support or condemn them.

    Then, the Reef is weirdly tiny, and this supposedly very dangerous place in practice has one way to get yourself hit by an obelisk, and where you forced to choose between the two companions, or abandon both. The latter actually doesn’t seem that bad of an option, as you soon find out their reactivity is limited at best: I couldn’t fathom why the self-styled explorer and Order of Truth member Callistege had no reaction to the caged floating octopus thing, or “The Genocide” character, or the tentacle word execution.

    In fact, with the execution, you can ask several rubbernecks the exact same two questions (“What’s happening?” and “Why are people watching?”) and get very similar answers, when you logically have no reason to ask “What’s happening” more than once. Yet, you can’t ask how often these executions happen, how severe the crime must be to warrant it, who invented the whole thing in the first place, can’t ask them what was that person’s crime, etc. Well, at least the person’s traitor buddy soon tells you what the crime was, but you again can’t ask him what those secrets were, for instance, or who was the buyer. (You also can’t ask Callistege’s opinion on this, but that’s seemingly to be expected.) This makes me really suspicious, to the point I hope there’ll be an option to release the poor guy by telling the lawmakers who the real criminal was.

    In all, I might still buy it once this period ends, just to see where it goes. Even so, I doubt I’ll ever see it as more than a 7/10 game.

  12. aweigh0101 says:

    Replay (or just play) Planescape: Torment instead of wasting time reading the million words of this turkey.

  13. TFAJB says:

    im from 2035, the game is now considered as cult, enjoy the game.

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