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|Index||31 reviews in total|
After playing adventure and computer roleplaying games for almost 2
I can clearly say that this was one of the best, if not *the* best
experience I had sofar.
The game sets itself appart from other games of the genre that (over-)used classic medieval or tolkien-style fantasy. Instead it introduces us to a completely new fantasy setting originating in the Planescape universe of the AD&D pen & paper roleplaying series. The story is extremly interesting, non-linear and full of surprises until the very end of the game. Characters and quests are very well developed and although the game has countless side quests and interesting choices for the player, I never felt that I got lost in the game or stuck. The game features lots of dialog that truly contributes to the storyline, immersion of the player and presents content and choices that are truly part of the game advancement rather than a tedious cosmetic add-on found in many other hack-and-slash roleplaying games. The combat system is interesting and well balanced. While combat and character development do play vital roles in the game, they are by far not as excessive or repetitive as in most RPG games like e.g. Icewind Dale or even the classic Ultima series. Every dungeon crawl is followed by at least one interesting NPC encounter. Quite often long and complex quests that are not related to combat, such as investigating a crime, create a good balance between combat and dialog/exploration that may be somewhere around 50:50, which I felt very comfortable with.
Although at the very beginning things might look a little bit confusing for newbies, this game is both interesting to the RPG veteran and still suitable for the occasional or less experienced player. The reason are the many new elements of the game, the lack of really fatal mistakes in character development, absence of hardcore puzzles and the length of the game itself. This game can be completed in reasonable time, while still offering many hours of entertainment and an almost unprecedented depth of the story. The trick lies in the removal of almost all redundant and repetitive tasks that you find in many other RPGs. This makes Planescape such a dense experience. Every hour of gameplay is full of interesting content and when playing, unlike in most other RPGs, I never felt forced to "work" towards a goal. Instead, discovery, achievement and story-telling are combined in a very clever way. Even after you complete this game you will not regret the time you have spent on it. The biggest problem will rather be, that you find yourself looking forward to a sequel. A true piece of art!
... it would be Planescape: Torment, bar none. Never has a
Playing Game (RPG) - or from any genre if I may be so bold to argue -
surpassed the level of inspiration that can be seen here. Storyline,
and sounds are all executed to perfection. It is one thing to have a
masterpiece in one's mind, but to turn it into reality as well is no small
feat. And here's a result of one such success...
The story is quite simple in nature, but the implications complex and thought-provoking: You play the Nameless One, a horribly scarred character who wakes up with no recollection of his past (much less his present and future). Sure, been there done that, typical amnesiac fare. Well it is in a fundamental way. But if you've never experienced actually _playing_ such a character before, making all the decisions, coming to terms with the consequences, then this game will be an eye-opener.
The plotline of PS:Torment unfolds as you dig in further into your past, and as you do so, uncover characters who would either help of hinder you in your journey towards a destiny that slowly but surely becomes clearer and more life-altering (actually, it alters much more, say, several universes? Sheesh, you _did_ expect some world-saving action as well, right? Well then, you won't be disappointed...). And you as the main character is not the only one with any semblance of personality. Many of the characters you'll interact with are so three-dimensional you can't help but truly care about them (care to either hate and/or love, that's up to you); this is a refreshing change from the archetypical cardboard-cutout, "battle-fodder" companions of typical hack-n-slashers. The emotional impact of this process is heads and shoulders above most of its "role-playing" peers (the "smash-hit" Baldur's Gate included).
In terms of audio-visuals, PS:Torment scores equally well. The setting of this game - Planescape - is in a fantastic locale consisting of multiple planes, or universes if you like. In the game's own terms, what we call a "multiverse". Think of it as a collection of worlds, each corresponding to a specific set of beliefs. Heaven and hell and everything between, in short. But this is no old-fashioned quasi-biblical fable - your main character will be dealing with denizens - human, demonic, angelic, robotic (yes, you heard right) - who each will play a crucial role towards the success/failure of your quest. And the game never forgets to help you understand the grand scheme of things in this strange, fascinating land. You'll find that it's not all philosophy either - the artwork, music and sound impresses like no other in creating a totally absorbing world of its own. A memorable soundtrack coupled with superbly rendered alien landscapes are just a fraction of this game's strengths that by themselves would be sufficient for many other games to earn countless plaudits.
Would PS:Torment appease the hopelessly-addicted hack-n-slasher fan as well? Why not? Depending on its difficulty level, this game offers a variety of powerful enemies - in terms of quality as well as quantity - to test one's mettle against. But to be fair to fans of the more cerebral (or charismatic) approach to conflict-resolution, there's no shortage of non-violent solutions either. I'd say both options are equally rewarding. Take it from me as a fact: you can be extreme and kill almost _everyone_ you meet, or practically _no-one_ and still finish the game. Which gives even more credit to how well-thought out this game really is.
Are there gripes? Very little. With a plot so multi-faceted and full of alternate endings (much of it depending on whether you choose to be good or evil, lawful or chaotic - yes, PS:Torments allows the freedom to choose one's moral and ethical compass), it is understandable that not _all_ subplots get resolved in the most satisfying manner. But in the final analysis, they don't figure much at all. Remember the saying that only the journey really matters in the end? The main plotline engages the player enough to ensure that the momentum is carried all the way to its epic final act.
On a more technical note, the gaming interface is well done, though it may take a slight bit of time to get used to especially for newcomers to the computer RPG genre, particularly Bioware's Infinity Engine game series. Even then Infinity is considered by far one of the most user-friendly of interfaces. But once you're accustomed, most likely you'll get sucked right in till the end of at least another chapter. Or two. Or till the end of the game.
Overall, a solid, one-of-a-kind (Bioware has decided there'll be no "franchise" of this title) computer gaming experience not to be missed, especially by those looking for a perfect balance of role-playing action and thought-provoking storylines.
10/10 (mind you, this is the only one title that gets this rating from me, and there are already precious few 9/10's on my list).
The computer role-playing game industry was supposed to be dead. If it
wasn't dead, surely it was dying. As advances in CPU speeds and 3D
accelerators continued the push for 3D games that would showcase these
technologies, seemingly groundbreaking games such as Half-Life, Unreal,
Quake III Arena threatened to become the final nail in the computer
Then Interplay and Black Isle Studios brought them back. Fallout and Baldur's Gate were the first twitches of life the CRPG genre had seen in years, and Planescape: Torment signals the full recovery of the breed.
Fittingly, PS:T is centered around The Nameless One, an immortal whose memories decay in each brush with death. You assume the role of The Nameless One just as he pulls himself off a slab in the Mortuary once again. It's up to you to re-discover who you are, or were, and piece together the story that placed you in this situation.
It's quite a story, and a good one at that. Although the game features stunning graphics and incredible audio, it's the detailed and involving text that immerses you in the Planescape multiverse. Book reviewers often describe a title with an excessively compelling story as "a page turner" or "one you won't want to put down." Moreso than any other computer game, PS:T falls into that category. This is as close to an interactive novel as anything produced to date.
You not only play PS:T, you read and write it as you go along. Decisions made at one juncture have a real and concrete effect on the outcome of later events. This game rewards reason and favors experimentation and the thoughtful solution. If your idea of a good time is hacking and slashing your way to glory, you may want to steer clear of this game, unless you're ready to see your style of play undergo a complete transformation.
Technically speaking, PS:T isn't as 'cutting edge' as the latest Quake-clone, but that's not such a bad thing. PS:T is a world unto itself, with incredible artwork, detailed animation, immersive audio, and tons of replayability. Most folks, once they've played through PS:T and witnessed the ADJECTIVES! ending, will immediately start the game again, just to see the outcome of the path not taken.
Personally, I believe that Black Isle should be commended for such an outstanding and original effort, especially in these days of "what can I kill next" mediocrity. The merits of PS:T cannot be overstated, though any attempt to describe the experience is doomed to miss the mark. It's a great game, there should be more like it.
Planescape: Torment is one of the best, if not THE best video games I've ever played. Interplay did a great job with the voice acting, but didn't rely on it as too many of the games coming out do. Without giving away too much, the storyline is basically thus: Your character (the Nameless one) awakens on a stone slab in a mortuary. You have no recollection of your past, and in fact no memories at all. Your first interaction comes right from the onset from a floating skull named "Morte". Morte helps explain a bit as the game progresses, and mainly serves as a VERY lighthearted companion throughout the game. He is the source of most of the comedy throughout the game, and by reading this, you may have gotten the impression this game is comical. Far from it. In fact this game is anything but. Your quest will take you across several different planes, and will be a long one. If you're the type of person that likes a short lived romp in the arena fragging and killing other players, then this will most likely not be your type of game. However, if you are an Anime fan, or a fan of great Sci-Fi and Fantasy, this is your type of game. Some people may be turned off by some of the elements, and there are a few somewhat adult oriented elements through the game. These range from some scantilly clad women, to a few sexual innuendo's by Morte and a few others. So, if you're a parent that doesn't want your children seeing this sort of entertainment, I'd suggest against this one. However, everything said and done in this game can and will be seen on regular network television, so your children should be safe. That said and done, I can only give this game the highest regards in my opinion, and as I am a very picky game player, I can only hope this will spark your enthuiasim into this game. The game is based on the AD&D set of rules based in the Planescape realm. It is and RPG, and I can only stress that you will need time to get into the game, and once in it. You will need more time to quench that desire to go even further into the games' storyline.
This game is nothing short of a work of art, plane and
Torment is set within the wonderfully unique Planescape setting for (A)D&D, one of the most original roleplaying settings to ever be created. Put simply, the "normal" world, real and standard D&D, is called the Prime Material Plane... And Planescape is a long walk away from the nearest Tolkien-ish elf or dwarf. The Inner Planes are infinities of pure elemental power, of the four basic elements of alchemy, along with life and death energy, and how these all mix. The Outer Planes are the infinities created and shaped by belief -- heavens and hells of all kinds, related to the various "alignments" of good, evil, law, and chaos; and all home to the gods of any pantheon you could name, as well.
This is quite a backdrop to place the events surrounding a single human, but the game does it excellently. Torment is mostly (mainly because this is where you'll be building up a lot of early levels and getting used to the game and quests) set in Sigil, a curious city built in the center of a ring, floating above an infinitely tall Spire at the center of all the multiverse (maybe). Sigil can only be reached through magic portals, and these portals can be found in almost any bound space (like a doorway), and can be used as long as someone has the proper key (an item, a thought, a song they're singing at the time, a gesture, etc). These portals go *every*where.
Now, the actual story... Waking up, with no memory of who he is, the Nameless One finds himself in the Mortuary of Sigil, surrounded by zombies and a very strange skull -- which flies around about 5 and a half feet up, has eyes, and a wit sharper than a magic sword. The game just flows from there, into a tale of self-discovery and the most compelling objective I've seen in an RPG, so counter to what one does in most: the Nameless One wants to find a way to die. His mortality has been taken away, and while this gives him a phenomenal healing rate and some strange powers -- as well as great potential for incredible power in more "traditional" areas such as warcraft, thievery, or wizardry -- it is a curse in disguise as he loses his memories and will eventually lose his mind totally every time he takes wounds enough to kill anyone else of similar skill (read: level and hit points).
The best part of the story is learning it for yourself, but it's not spoiling anything to relate the matter of the Nameless One's immortality and healing speed, or similar. The writing itself is some of the best I have seen, and make it an extremely compelling story unfolded through all the dialog and related writing. Unique items and spells are full of history in their descriptions, and just getting some of these unique spells provides an opportunity to experience the skilled writing, and helps so much to make one of the characters a very real figure.
Ah, yes, the characters. There are a number of companions you may eventually gain, though you are limited to a total of six members in your party. Morte is the skull already mentioned, and he is perhaps the most interesting character (after the Nameless One, of course). Talk long with him every time something related to him happens in the game, and you will learn of the depth of the character. Dak'kon is a githzerai, a member of a race once descended from humans but now much different. His story is very nearly as deep as Morte's, and has direct consequences on his strength in combat, through his blade. Annah is a young tiefling woman, strong-willed and valuable, related somewhere in her family history to the tanar'ri -- demons. While her story is not as important, it provides some very human depth to the Nameless One and the overall tale. Ignus is a mad mage who wields fire like anyone else might use a dagger. His story is far from essential, but it is another interesting facet of the Nameless One's history (it seems everything in this game ties into the Nameless One's history, somehow). Fall-From-Grace is a succubus, a demonic temptress who has turned away from evil and chaos. Instead, she wields the healing magics of the priests. For the story, she is not as important as others, though just the quirk of her nature is interesting. Nordom has to be the most unique character of all. "Backwards modron > Nordom" he states as soon as Morte makes a sarcastic observation. Some explanation is in order: a modron is a semi-robotic creature of pure law from the regulated clockwork plane of Mechanus. Nordom, being a backwards modron, is a rogue, a modron who has been infected by chaos and made into an individual. He and Grace are perhaps the only ones not already tied up in the Nameless One's past. Finally, the last character you may add is Vhailor. Strange, to say the least, Vhailor is a suit of armor inhabited by an undead spirit devoted to Law and Justice. His story is important almost solely for the ending -- but that's all I'll say.
The final act to Torment is excellent. The story is revealed finally, but not too much -- the authors knew where to stop before ruining it. There are a number of different ways to end the game, with some varying amounts of satisfaction depending on how much you liked the other characters.
A beautiful game. I'm on my third or fourth time through it, and I still love it and am still finding new things.
Well, what can one say about something near perfect? Just one thing, go
buy this one, you won't be sorry. The game is unique among computer rpg's,
there is nothing quite like it (well, maybe the Fallouts are along the
lines, but Torment has a lot more emotion to it).
So, if for some reason you have not experienced this game, correct that mistake now, while the game is still sold.
This was the most fantastic game I have ever played. And that's saying a lot. I have been a huge fan of the Planescape setting for many years now, and this game brought Sigil to life like I never thought possible. The game was pretty much exactly how I pictured everything to be... The buildings, the speech, the entire atmosphere. It was amazing. I have never been so immersed in a game before. The characters were deep and I found myself truly caring about them. The story was so engrossing and unique... so deliciously tragic. I loved every bit of it. Finally, the music added just the right flavor to set the mood of every scene and place. I just can't put into words how wonderful this game is. It is truly my favorite game ever! Thanks to everyone involved with the game for bringing the world of Planescape to life so beautifully!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I buried myself in Planescape Torment the day I got it. To this day I
still play it. I returned to this game most recently after getting
bored with Morrowind.
Planescape Torment is the story of a man. This man cannot remember himself, his past, where he is, or even his name. He is... The Nameless One
You find that you are not just any man. You have just awoken in the morgue(the mortuary). You were a scarred, dead body. You are hunted relentlessly by shadows of the dead. Every time your body is broken and renewed your mind is further undone. If this cycle of death and resurrection continues, all that will be left of you is a mindless shell. This game is completely like any other, in the fact that the entire plot is The Nameless One seeking his death. Being immortal, in many cases you have to die to advance the plot/get an item/finish a quest.
Nameless One: I have one foot in the grave, the other in hell.
The voice acting in this game is the best in any game to date. Almost every actor was/is a famous movie actor. When I started playing Halo 2, I almost had a cow when I realized that the Arbiter is Vhailor. Likewise for KoTOR. There's Fall-From-Grace reincarnated as Bastila Shan. This game has Homer Simpson, Jarod of The Pretender, Sheena Easton, Assistant Director Skinner, Q of Star Trek, and many others from cartoons that I grew up on.
I can honestly say this game is the only one where I truly cared for the welfare of my party members. Besides Doom 3, this is the only game that I was genuinely afraid of some of the villains. The Transcendent One has the scariest voice I have ever heard (Imagine a voice deeper, raspier, and more terrifying than Darth Vader.) I've never made it through the endgame without involuntarily shaking from exhilaration. I can remember thinking that maybe I really should follow Annah's advice and get the heck out of Fell's shop before the Lady decided she had tolerated his presence for far too long. The first time I crossed the Lady of Pain, my heart nearly stopped - I had just come face to face with a character that is soooo powerful that in the pen and paper D&D she has NO stats. She IS the trump card. Even the God that stood up to her was destroyed and banished from this plane of existence. Needless to say, it involved loading my last saved game.
The graphics and detail in this game are THE most amazing animations ever seen. These cities look like a snapshot out of the real world. When people talk of the "Ground Leveling spells" they aren't kidding. The final and most powerful spell The Nameless One can acquire essentially calls down aid from the great dungeon master of all and obliterates everything within sight. Almost every spell above level 5(in a 1-9 system) involves an entire cut scene.
Within the lowest levels of Sigil, and all across the multiverse, you encounter unique and interesting characters. You meet a fallen angel that would condemn an entire city to death, a fiend cursed to do good deeds until his death, undead shamans that could unleash the entire power of hell on your character, never-ending hordes of sentient, hive-mind rats, flesh eating ghouls, an enormous pillar of screaming, screeching skulls that were so loud and unsettling I was forced to turn the sound off, and hideous demons that would beat you to within an inch of your life and then hand you a contract that would give you your life in exchange for your eternal soul.
Those who are on your side could pass for true people. Fall-From-Grace keeps a diary, and scolds you if you try to read or take it. Annah threatens to put her daggers in the back of your skull if you try to take them. Morte is more sarcastic. "In case you haven't noticed, those are my teeth. Unless you're a dentist, HANDS OFF." And I found out the hard way that they WILL turn on you if you provoke them.
Another game has never made me question my own existence or delve so deeply into a philosophical discussion that I forget I'm talking to a computer. Each character has their own beliefs and values which affect their actions and dialog.
Ignus: Ignus wishes to BURN!
Transcendent One: The weak suffer. I *endure*!
Dak'kon: When a mind does not *know* itself, it is flawed. When a mind is flawed, the man is flawed. When a man is flawed, that which he touches is flawed. It is said that what a flawed man sees, his hands make broken.
Vhailor: "While we await, mercy and evil seep into the hearts of more victims!"
Not all are so serious or profound.
Nordom: I estimate Fall-from-Grace to be found attractive by the male sex of over 321423 separate species. Give or take 5.
Fall-from-Grace: Simple minds... simple pleasures...
Nameless One: Well I, for one, plan on discovering the secrets of the multiverse by rubbing cottage cheese on my belly and eating vast quantities of fresh-water fish. Mmm... cheese.
I have never been so absorbed and immersed in a game. When it all comes down to it, though, the only thing that matters is that which can change the nature of a man. I have never spent so much time thinking about one question.
I think that this is a really strong release from Interplay. It`s much more emotional than their other games, that`s why I like Plane Scape Torment so much! I would say that this is the best spent money ever, the game seem to last forever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Everyone who has played this game will agree that it contains the best
storyline ever developed for an RPG. If anything, it should be classified
Adventure/RPG. Planescape : Torment is based on AD&D rules, but you don't
have to be a follower of AD&D to step into the game and enjoy
You play The Nameless One (slight spoiler : you will never discover his true name) in his epic journey to discover who he is - or was. From the very beginning of the game you will be drawn into an atmosphere of suspense as you begin to uncover the background of the amnesiac who awakes in a mortuary with no idea who he is, and discovers he is immortal.
There is barely a boring moment in the game. Unlike most RPGs, you won't get tired of hacking and slashing your way through hordes upon hordes of monsters in every shape and size imaginable, although the game does have a unique Bestiary in which every monster species and NPC you meet is catalogued with an impressive picture and summary. You will spend most of your time meeting the colourful characters of the planes, and discovery the mystery that is you.
A major plus point is The Nameless One's relationships with his companions - Dak'kon, a proud, tight-lipped Githyanki who has somehow been bound to you, Morte, a floating skull who will be with you early on and spices up your journey with his wacky sense of humour, Annah, a theifling with a stony exterior, Fall-From-Grace, the pillar of wisdom and patience, and many others. You will come to know and love them as they share your joys and torments.
Although the story far surpasses that of Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale (which utilise the same game engine), the combat effects are on par, if not better than these games. From the lowest first-level spell to the ground-levelling ninth levels, the amount of effort put into the animation is obvious and very much appreciated. Certain spells had whole CUTSCENES every time you casted them. The character animations are seamless and realistic. Combined with the fact that the viewing point in the game is much closer to the ground - hence every character appears larger - this makes for life-like, immersive role-playing.
Critics would say that the game is too unconventional, that the main character is too sinister to be accepted among casual gamers. Granted, the box cover seems a bit too intimidating and the Planescape setting itself makes for some serious thought. For me, however it just makes the game even more interesting. So the hero isn't your typical Casanova. Big deal. And when was the last time you played a game that had its own slang and colloquial expressions?
In short, Planescape : Torment is a game you simply MUST get if you like RPG games. It is proof that mere sales does not ensure a great game (Icewind Dale had better sales, but was lacking in both story and visual effects.). It will be one of the most memorable games you'll ever play.
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