STAFF REVIEW of Torment: Tides of Numenera (Xbox One)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017.
by Brent Roberts

Torment: Tides of Numenera  Box art When I was growing up I had a fondness for the types of books that were written in a 'choose your own adventure' style. I loved how it gave you a choice in how you wanted to experience the story and the freedom to feel like you were writing your own journey. Because of my youth at the time, I didn't know at these types of stories involved multiple story arcs and conclusions, but the whole aspect has been found in some of the most successful video games ever made. Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is developed by inXile Entertainment, is one such title. Now, you may be asking who are they and why should you care. I will provide you with all the answers you seek, and more, because this could easily be one of the best sleeper hits ever found on the Xbox One platform.

Black Isle Studios developed a game way back in 1999 called Planescape: Torment, and what was brilliant about this game was that it relied heavily on story telling, but to make things smooth, Black Isle Studios did something absolutely brilliant, they modified the in-game engine found in Bioware's Baldur's Gate. This was a stroke of brilliance and it paid off. Now, many decades have passed and the successor to Planescape has finally been released and it's called Torment: Tides of Numenera. I have to touch on this because it's one story that has to be told and explains how it came to even exist.

Starting as a Kickstarter back in March of 2013, the game was originally supposed to launch in December of 2014, and it was delayed to February 28, 2017. While that number of years’ for a delay is impressive, Torment also set a record on Kickstarter as it was the highest funded video game of all time on the platform raking in a titanic 4 million dollars, meeting its original goal in only the first 6 hours of its inception on the Kickstarter platform. It was clear that the public wanted this game badly. Normally when we hear a game is being delayed we are fed the traditional corporate line about putting polish on it, or fine tuning this or that, but for a game like Torment, the sheer amount of content found within would take even the largest big name companies years to pull off, and when I say amount of content, I say that because this was one of the largest RPG's I've played in a long, long time.

When you first start off you'll have to decide what type of character you want to play as. You can play as a Glaive, Jack, or Nano. These are your traditional classes and after you've selected one you get to decide what type of abilities you have, and I must point out that Glaives are the only ones that can receive individualized weapon class training. While you can still use weapons in the other classes, the Glaives get the bonus to attack while the Nanos get the bonus to magic. The Jack class is stuck right in the middle and takes a little from both sides. This class is more focused on traps, and while ranged combat could be an option, they can easily hold their own toe to toe.

As you create your character you will also see three colored pools from which you can draw from to increase your abilities. These pools are Might/Strength, Speed, and Magic, and they are talents that you can draw from to make tasks easier. For example, if your character has to move a large object you can use some of your Might/Strength pool to make sure you move it without hurting your character. Using the LS, you move the slider to the right and you will see an increase in percentage chance for completing the task.

The trick here though is balance, because you will have to replenish your pools through the use of items or by resting, so be weary that while you may use your pools now, there may be instances lying around the corner that require the same pool. It's always good to save after you complete a task so that should you need to buy an item from a vendor to increase your depleted talent pools, you can do that, go back and then interact with that other task.

You also have skills to select from that you can increase your knowledge which in turn will grant your character bonuses for what you need to have done. For instance, spending some points on the ability to have a bonus added to your unlock skill will mean that chests, and other secrets, will be easier for you to open. Once you're done with your abilities and stats, your character is created and the story finally begins.

The history behind your character is rather convoluted. The focus of the story is your character, who is called a Castoff. There was once a man who was obsessed with leaving a legacy on the planet. To accomplish this feat this individual created a sort of biological shell shaped in the form of a person to which the individual could transfer his/her consciousness to the body so death would never claim them. This greed became self-indulging and growing, ever constant as this individual would stop at nothing to try and find ways to improve their biological vessel; however, this came at the expense of discarding husks (his former shell) as one would discard a useless tool. Over the lifetimes the individual came to be known as The Changing God.

While it was thought that these humanoid style chambers would just rot into nothingness, this was not the case as somehow the original consciousness grew and developed within the vessel. This constant drive to cheat the inevitable caused the awakening of an ancient evil called The Sorrow. This creature of evil and death is driven by one thing, and that is to maintain the balance between life and death. While this entity seeks out The Changing God, unfortunately it is also searching for all the biological husks that have been discarded over the many centuries, and this means you as well. This is a rough, and I do mean very rough, backbone of Torment's story. The reason it's so sparse is because from this small amount of information, it's up to you to continue and write the story you want to write. This is found right in the beginning of the game.

Remember when I mentioned the 'choose your own adventure' books? Well get ready to read because you will read many novels worth of text throughout Torment. Seriously, the amount of text you will read reminds me of classic RPG/adventure games where it was nothing but one text box after another. Now, you may be thinking I'm bringing this up in a negative light; however, it's one of the greatest strengths of Torment. The story work and pathway development are so strong that you really wish you could experience the entire game in one playthrough. This is because in Torment your actions not only permanently shape the interactions you may have with others in areas of the map, but your own companions as well. Some may like what you do and not, but while we have seen this type of quality in some triple 'A' RPG games, Torment takes this to a totally new level in multiple ways. Not only are your game experiences locked in, but so are your rewards and items as well.

Case in point, towards the very beginning you'll come across a group of treasure hunters or bandits, or whatever you want to call them. If you diffuse the interaction without any form of violence coming to bear, then you net 25 xp per person. However, if you fight and kill everyone, then you gain over 100 xp plus gained loot from the fallen bodies, all of which you can sell for cash.

One thing to note about confrontations, it's turn based. These moments allow your character to have a move action and a combat action per turn, and once they are done it moves onto the next character and so on. So sometimes being a pacifist, or talking your way out of things, could be bad for you and yet sometimes it can be very good.

Another example would be a small side quest I gained when I first got to the center of the first town. I saw a group of people standing around where I could see someone suffering. I talked to a person nearby who told me that they were part of a team and he escaped and that he had a "safe and foolproof" plan to get his captive friend freed. Now, hearing the details of the plan I countered his idea by letting him know I would talk to the crowd and get them unified. He thought that my option was a "hail mary" and he discarded had any potential for success. Sure enough I combed through the crowd and talked to the few available people and proceeded to provide them inspiration through my chat selection options, and after the last one was convinced, the crowd unified together and set the prisoner free.

Now, I could have gone the crazy plan route and had a totally different experience. This selective interaction is constant as the northern star and a major positive contribution to providing entertaining experiences that provide tremendous depth. All of this is observed in a three-quarter angled view that allows you to zoom in and out, and for the most part all looks quite beautiful. All the different areas have their own distinct feel and thankfully the game has the music and special effects to match, but that is all second chair to the story and plot delivery system.

All this beauty does come with a price. Granted the text is the primary aspect that you'll be dealing with in every area of the game, but every new region requires the game to load not only all the text, but all the possible story branches and decision events for that area at that time, and in turn connect it to the other areas that you may not be at yet or those that come from where your choices will make deep everlasting impacts on your gaming experience. Because of this the loading times are very long and while the game is mostly loading a seeming library's worth of text in every region, be prepared to do a lot of waiting and reading.

Other minor gripes include random freezes and crashes that occurred, but they were far and few between. I also found the movement control felt a bit sluggish while maneuvering my character around the map, but that's about it.

Torment: Tides of Numenera has a galactic size amount of content done in a method that allows players to write their own story, and while other games give an option or two, this game gives far more options. Sure, this may not have the HD graphic renderings that fans find on other big titles, but that doesn't mean that this experience falls short at all. Despite a few issues with the gameplay, loading times, and some random crashes, Torment Tides of Numenera provides one of the deepest and most entertaining RPG experiences you will find on the Xbox One. If you like turn based RPG games with more depth than a black hole in space, this game is a must have for you. What will your story say about you? Pick up a controller and find out.

Overall: 8.8 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 51,145
Forum Posts: 725,924
Xbox One Titles: 3,264
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,114
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 15,868
Screenshots: 34,691
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

PGA TOUR 2K21 Gets NBA Team Logo Gear

PGA TOUR 2K21 Gets NBA Team Logo GearAchieve baller status and represent your favorite NBA teams on the course. NBA team logo gear has arrived in PGA TOUR 2K21, bringing sports crossover swagger to the links for the first time.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
1 Replies, 8149 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 24191 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 30221 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 23288 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 22540 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 47142 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 49308 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 43913 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 72125 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 31043 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 71030 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 56512 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 110504 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 80029 Views

Happy Birthday, Me.
Post by SnoochyBoochy
4 Replies, 96614 Views

© 2000-2021 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics