Torment: Tides of Numenera Reviews

Now that inXile's Torment: Tides of Numenera has had nearly two full weeks to sink in, more online sources are doling out their impressions. As such, it's time for a third round-up of reviews.

GameSpot gives it a 9/10:
Torment wants you to dig through its hamlets and delve into its dungeons on your own. It isn’t about cutting down waves of foes, it’s not about being the one true hero, and it’s not wish fulfillment. Narrative is an end in itself. Story is the everything, and the play that backs that story, while minimal, gives the experience a weight that’s too often lost in other games. Torment defines itself as codified opposition to current trends, but that’s also not all it is. Using pools of points to set limits on its players and driving player expression through curiosity are novel additions to one of gaming’s oldest genres.

Polygon gives it an 8/10:
Torment doesn't sugarcoat it: You can shape events but you can’t change the world — and your actions always have consequences beyond your control. It’s depressing, but effective. Torment: Tides of Numenera is relentless in how it treats its characters and the Ninth World, but that’s what makes it so fascinating. Aside from some issues with encounter balance and my yearnings for more detail, it’s a beautiful, challenging game, content to be ambiguous, rich and confounding in ways that few other RPGs have ever pulled off.

Telegraph gives it a 4/5:
It’s slightly too short, a bit technically ropey in places, and extremely heavily front-loaded with some very dense lore, but once you work your way through the initial overwhelming lack of direction, what you’ll find is an exceptionally rewarding RPG filled with deep systems, a ton of genuine replay value, and a lot of love and care.

RPG Codex doesn't score it:
If inXile ever wants to stick its snout in the crowdfunding trough again, it needs to regain the trust of its fans. After a betrayal of this magnitude, that is going to be a tall order. A good start would be to come clean: to candidly explain what went wrong and where, how that five million in crowdfunding money was spent, and how a group this good could have such low standards for the quality of their work, and ultimately produce so little. They had the budget. They had the talent. They even had a ready-made isometric cRPG engine and asset production pipeline. What happened here?

IXCM gives it a 9.5/10:
Torment: Tides of Numenera is an infinitely complex game which no review can truly capture. The sheer number of side quests, characters, dialogue choices and endings require that the game be played multiple times. Brian Fargo and his team have created an absolutely stunning experience—I just wish it was as technically sound on Xbox One as it is on Windows 10.

Hardcore Gamer gives it a 2/5:
With frustrating tech, unappealing appearance and a lack of quality of life streamlining, Torment: Tides of Numenera might actually be my biggest gaming-related disappointment since I bought an Atari Jaguar. Some of the complaints mentioned here, especially exploration (wrongly as load times weren’t this bad), could be leveled at Planescape: Torment, but many years have gone by with many new ideas to make gaming experiences more engrossing. To throw these out wholesale does a disservice to the modern gamer. Additionally, Tides of Numenera manages to find some brand new ways to be obnoxious. I’ve waited for patches and gave this game an inordinate amount of chances to no avail. If the writing weren’t so well done, I would be okay with giving it a low score alongside a few wisecracks and forget about it. Because inXile is telling a story that demands to be seen through but made it so tiresome to do so, I cannot help but feel a frothy, incandescent rage. This could, nay should, be so much better.

Absolute Geeks gives it a 9.2/10:
Torment: Tides of Numenera is not a game you play to win. It is a game you play to explore, to learn from. It is a game that will challenge your intellect and present you with an extremely rewarding feeling when you find that you’re up to the task. It pays strong homage to its forebears but at the end of the day, it is an extremely unique game that is all its own – one that might just set the tone for the genre in the coming years.

Trusted Reviews gives it a 4/5:
The result is a game that packs meaning into almost everything you do. It doesn’t surpass the emotional heights of its late 90s forebear, but Numenera’s incredibly distinct world and unique approach to gameplay offer something really untraditional to sink your time, thoughts and choices into. For RPG fans this is super exciting, and will be sure to entertain across multiple playthroughs over dozens, if not hundreds of hours.

Nerd Reactor gives it a 4/5:
While I did love the original Planescape: Torment, I will say that Tides of Numenera does share the seat with it. Even though I had some issues with the amount of text along with the okay combat, I really enjoyed the game for what it was. The storyline was completely unique, and with an abundance of colorful party members, and NPCs, it really made me enjoy the game. I would recommend this to hardcore isometric RPG players.

GameGrin gives it an 8.5/10:
Torment: Tides of Numenera is certainly not for everyone, and its reliance on world interaction and a quirky, abstract but grounded world gives it a distinct feel. If you want a thought provoking, interesting world to spend some time in then you can do far worse.

Slant gives it a 3.5/5:
Tides of Numenera still doesn't quite have the emotional resonance of Planescape. In the latter game, the Nameless One says, “Updated my journal,” a routine reminder that the player is controlling what feels like a distinct soul; that phrase has been replaced here with more clinical mantras like “Making a note.” Moreover, technical problems, such as the choppy gait of your avatar, might stick in your mind as you try to simply appreciate Tides of Numenera's humanistic tapestry. Yet Planescape would also feel more focused without some of its ridiculous combat scenarios (city thugs served as frequent pests in broad daylight, with townspeople stupidly acting as if nothing was happening). By not littering the proceedings with superfluous action, Tides of Numenera makes a stronger and admirable case for an open dialogue in a world that's predisposed to repeating histories of violence.

TrueAchievements gives it a 4/5:
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a game unlike many others. In many ways its tale more closely resembles a book than a game. Much of the content in the game is told through text, from descriptions of the environment and the world to the deepest feelings of the characters. The writing creates a story worth discovering which captures your imagination and leads you on its journey. As a game it's also a success, allowing players to make real choices with an array of major and minor effects. Through making choices, you can shape your hero to be someone who truly resembles how you feel which allows you to connect with the hero on a deeper level. The only negatives are the lack of substance to the companions' stories, dismal combat that you can luckily almost entirely avoid through savvy conversation choices, and performance issues. Ultimately, Torment is a game for anyone who's a fan of a good book, an epic tale, or that simply wants a fresh take on RPGs that consoles have never seen. It may not be a great novel, but it's certainly a very good one.

And TechnoBuffalo gives it a 3.5/5:
All of the weird history and deep choice combines with some incredible environmental art to make for a truly alien atmosphere. Certain things will look familiar, like swords, stairs, ladders, capes. But some of the creatures I fought, the buildings I came across, and areas I explored were some of the most imaginative I’ve ever seen. One area takes place inside a living thing that doesn’t obey the laws of logic, and navigating its halls means witnessing some truly bizarre art. It’s a bit like walking around inside a Heironymous Bosch painting and talking to the inhabitants.