Welcome to The Overview. Where I speak about my impressions of a game and what you can expect from it.
Today we’re playing The Technomancer.
Before we start talking about all the good stuff like story and all that. Let’s get into the graphic settings since I’m playing this on PC. There many graphical options available to us here. SSAA, Shadows, SSAO, Anti-Aliasing, Particles, Texture Quality, and Anisotropy. Most options can go from low to high, but only Shadows and Texture Quality and hit the Ultra mark.
The game tends to hit a steady framerate between 50 to 60 fps in the more open areas in the game. The dips to 45 come out of nowhere though. It can occur in a place where nothing is really happening, or just from opening doors. The development team needs to do some optimization in patches to fix that.
The character models are acceptable and that’s about it. The game is incredibly dark; I mean to the point that it’s actually hard to see most interactions. I think the development team over compensated on the shadows for this dark and gritty world.
Now that the graphics porn is over and done with. Let’s speak a bit about how the game engrosses us. You play as a low-born Technomancer named Zachariah Mancer. Does that name sound too on the nose? Well… that’s the state of the world in Technomancer. People are named after their status in society. The world is filled with peopled named Jeremy Hunter, Scott Seeker, or Rick Sanitation. Well not really, but similar titles are given to describe the roles in life.
The Technomancer are commonly known as the Jedi of the world. They are used as a tool for combat during wartime and function regularly as militarized demi-gods. The closest comparison would be The Witcher when it all comes down to it.
At first, I thought we’d learn what it’s like spending the life as a Technomancer and molding our character during times of war. That’s cut short as soon as Zachariah is labeled a traitor and outcast from the city. So it quickly becomes a Technomancer vs. the evil trying to destroy him. A bit disappointing but it allows more freedom in the story.
Zachariah can switch between three different fighting styles while mixing it up with Technomancer abilities. We have full reign over how we wish to specialize and equip our Technomancer. Zach can wield a staff, sword and board, or equip a shank and a gun to act as a Rogue.
The combat is fast but the animations are stiff and anything but fluid. The fights often look well-choreographed but they lack a sense of impact. It’s a lot of blocking and dodging and watching Zach and his friends commit to the same combat animations. Which is strange for a game with three different stances.
Don’t expect to see cool finishing animations or anything remotely visceral either. Enemies will just fall over and that will be the end of it. It’s not an awful system though, but it reminds me of Alpha Protocol and less like The Witcher 3 or Dark Souls.
Let me tell the truth here. I actually had to switch the difficulty to Easy Mode. I didn’t want to grind through the often cumbersome combat to enjoy what the game has to offer. I was more interested in where the story would lead anyway.
There is a simplistic crafting system in place for upgrading items for Zach and his companions. You can apply buffs to armor, damage, etc. It’s not too in-depth but it will help for minor stat increases to weapons and armor.
With that stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the karma and reputation systems. This game operates equally to Mass Effect. You’ll speak with a wide-range of people and make a few decisions on how you wish to interact with them. You can be cruel, nice, or shades of grey.
Karma works like you would expect except for one caveat. You can gain/lose karma from making decisions in-game but you can also lose karma by killing helpless opponents for serum. Serum is how you pay for things in this world, but it’s also shunned upon to take the lives of others.
Reputation is something of a different beast. I’ve yet to see what positive reputation does but allow you to roam free in a city without getting attack. Negative karma just places you at odds with the many factions in the city.
Each decision affects Karma and Reputation with the people who recruit The Technomancer for missions. If you do something exactly as they say they will appreciate it. If you do things your way but still complete the objective, you may be deducted some reputation with that faction. I’ve yet to see the repercussions of allowing certain people to live to come back and bite me in the ass. So it’s uncertain if there are long-term effects to your actions.
The game is made up of a large multitude of companions. Oddly enough, you seem to get the bulk of them right after becoming a traitor. Your crew contains a weird makeup of people from the crazy doctor, to the no holds barred, say anything, Amelia Reacher. She’s probably my favorite character because she lets us know exactly how she feels.
There are a couple of snags outside of the lackluster combat and optimization issues. The dialogue camera is beyond basic. I guess it works fine for this game since characters only have one emotion when they speak. I played a fair amount of hours and loot doesn’t seem varied at all. You just keep picking up the same old crap and never really get stronger.
You can’t move your character for three seconds after climbing any object or opening doors. It’s one of the most frustrating things ever. Finally, companions only level when they are actually out on missions with the main character. Which wouldn’t be a problem if you could actually tell that they were increasing in level somehow in-game. You actually have to check their stat sheets individually to see if they’ve earned new stats. It makes no sense that you should have to do this and comes off as an arbitrary addition.
Traveling around the city becomes an annoyance after a few hours. It would have been nice to have some sort of mount to travel around these massive areas. The game also has the stupid idea that the main character should rest to earn bonus EXP. What is this? An MMO?
If not for the stunted combat system. This could be an awesome game. There is a lot of potential here for a great RPG. The world is filled with dark storylines and interesting people to communicate with. I enjoyed the actual conversations and the atmosphere of the game. I mean that’s all there really is to say about this game. The combat is a detriment on an otherwise interesting game. Luckily, it’s at a budget price of $45… but even that is a bit of a stretch for what you get.