Torment: Tides of Numenera is a story-driven, isometric 2.5D turn-based RPG developed by inXile. It is a "thematic successor" to Planescape: Torment, a critically acclaimed RPG released in 1999 by Black Isle Studios published by Interplay, the creators of Wasteland, Fallout, Fallout 2, and other noteworthy RPGs. Planescape: Torment is famous for its writing prowess, having some of the deepest, most original, most satisfying writing in video game history. This has led to strong hype for this game, at least from seasoned PC gamers. We named it our most anticipated game of 2015 in our 2014 game of the year awards, yet it has just come out at the very end of February 2017. It suffered from numerous delays, making one wonder what kind of development struggles it underwent, and how much harm was done to the final product.
Planescape: Torment is a game where every character encounter, every conversation is memorable and meaningful. In Planescape: Torment and unlike most other video games (especially larger scale ones, and it is a large scale game), every character that you can have a conversation with isn't just a quest-giving bot, it is a uniquely written, fleshed out character, written with care and utmost attention to detail. They all stand out positively. In addition, the world of Planescape: Torment is dark fantasy, weird and mysterious, and filled with strange encounters and interaction. Not just character interaction, but interacting with the world itself; objects that seem to contain some amount of sentience, portals to other worlds, phenomena of all kinds. Its setting surpasses expectations and is one of a kind. Character encounters aren't just with humans and common humanoid species, as the world of Planescape has many portals to many other worlds, bringing with them unique and at times bizarre lifeforms which the player can interact with.
The world building, character development, story depth and originality, and overall writing quality of Planescape: Torment is above what video games are usually thought capable of. It is a philosophical story with heavy thematic elements, and it is expertly directed so that it never becomes incoherent or out of control. Planescape: Torment also contains an incredible amount of role-playing, a level of role-playing that only a few games reach.
This is not nostalgia speaking. Personally, I played Planescape: Torment for the first time in 2014, and have played it a twice so far, and plan additional playthroughs. It is at the summit of video game excellence, and it easily claims our #1 spot for the greatest story in video game history.
That is what Torment: Tides of Numenera strives to live up to. It calls itself a thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, and is made by many of the same developers, including original creators of the Planescape D&D setting and the Numenera setting. Thus, it has pen and paper (PnP) roots, which only raises expectations for role-playing, gameplay depth/diversity, and world building. The narrative is text heavy like Planescape: Torment, resembling novels opposed to cinema.
Those are strong promises that Torment made. The ambition is apparent. But does it live up to its own hype? RPGs with the level of role-playing that Planescape: Torment offers are extinct, the last trace of it being Fallout: New Vegas from 2010, and the writing quality of Planescape: Torment has always been a very rare thing in gaming, to say the least. Does Torment: Tides of Numenera bring excellence back to the desolate RPG video game genre? Does its writing quality live up to its predecessor? Is it a worthy spiritual successor to one of the greatest games ever made? Continue to the next page to find out!