|Publisher||Focus Home Interactive|
|release date||June 2016|
|Genre||Role-playing game (RPG), action|
Over the past few years, Spiders studio has continued to release mid-level role-playing games made according to the same patterns – Of Orcs And Men, Mars: War Logs and Bound By Flame. And it seems that each project has a certain zest, but there is always a lack of polish and depth. And here is the turn of The Technomancer. Will the game be able to stand out from the general lineup of budget RPGs?
The new game addresses the world recreated in Mars: War Logs. Mankind partially mastered Mars, but as a result of cataclysms, it was isolated on the planet. People live under man-made domes that protect them from the aggressive environment and radiation. Those who were not lucky enough to fit into the social pyramid were thrown to the sidelines of life and became mutants. Water is the main resource for survival, and local corporations parasitize on this. In general, the usual enlightened bright future that you are used to from numerous books and films.
A special place in this system is occupied by technomancers – a kind of knights with their own order. These guys are famously wielding melee weapons and no less famously throwing lightning like a Jedi. And we play as one of the recruits of this organization, who is preparing to pass the final test to become a full member of the order.
After the usual showdown with bandits and mutated animals, the hero begins to slowly get involved in local ups and downs, where a conflict of interests of different groups has been brewing for a long time. In the course of performing various tasks, the struggle for power, social inequality, terrorism and other pressing problems are revealed.
The game tries to flirt with cyberpunk themes, so it escalates the situation by exploiting familiar social plots. There is the concept of karma and the rating of different factions, which depend on your actions. The simplest example is to take pity on the villain, arrest or simply kill. In addition to variability in key actions, there is also some variability in the way tasks are performed. Not all quests involve a banal raid with the destruction of everything in the way. Some problems are solved through dialogue and the power of persuasion. The latter depends on different skills that add new options to the conversation. This is primarily charisma, but other character abilities can come in handy.
The narrative of The Technomancer does not stand still, the story moves forward, throwing up surprises and a sharp change of scenery. And although the general surroundings of a desert planet with closed settlements do not lend themselves to great visual diversity, different locations have their own individual style. There are regions with a pronounced industrial design, there are slums, there is a kind of oriental city.
The world is not solid, it is divided into interconnected locations with transition points. We are delivered to some areas of the global map by transport. At the same time, the missions are built in such a way that you often have to return to familiar places. Such numerous repetitions are frankly annoying. Sometimes the impression is brightened up by the fact that with the development of the hero you open some new door or cache in a previously explored location.
All fights are built around a diverse melee system. The hero owns three combat schools, where different weapons or their combination are used. Each weapon – staff, knife or club – provides a different style of combat with its own characteristics. For example, when choosing a knife and a pistol, the hero is the fastest, but his blows or shots do less damage. Clubs with a shield give more opportunities for powerful blows and effective blocks, but the hero wields them more slowly. There is a clear combat balance, and the game itself encourages you to use different combat schools.
Enemies have different specifications. Among them there are also masters of a club or a knife, someone prefers firearms, there are powerful bulls with strong armor. It does not do without aggressive living creatures of an unusual type with unique features. Someone is fast, someone knows how to burrow into the ground or just deftly beats with a long tail.
It does not do without huge bosses, around which you will have to pretty circle around, “biting” them with your weapons.
Fighting is not like a simple jamming with one or two hits. You need to skillfully escape from under other people’s blows, quickly navigate the situation and strike back. Since enemies often attack in large groups, accurate calculation and control of movements is important. Sometimes it’s better to dodge one more time, and not try to complete the attack, which will be interrupted and quickly finished you off. Enemies are generally very skilled, so they can take the life of a hero in a few hits. In a fight, you need to find the right line of conduct and tactics. You should not be exposed to blows and loom for a long time in one place in front of the arrows. It happens that you are quickly killed in some kind of fight, but having caught the key moments in the tactics of the enemy group, in a repeated battle you can easily smash them to shreds.
Additionally, you can hit the enemy with the lightning already mentioned or use explosives. But the balance is built in such a way that everything revolves around fencing and close contact combat. It gives off a certain medieval flavor, because the game is not much different from the usual RPG about guys with swords. What may not appeal to those who expected more futuristic gameplay.
Sometimes you can resort to stealth. This will allow you to get close to someone from behind and deliver a powerful first blow or lay a mine. It’s just that the game is built in such a way that it gives little opportunity for such tricks. Stealth is almost not in demand, although it could diversify the gameplay.
There are partners who distract enemies and support them in battle. They act independently, without direct orders, but they can compensate for your weaknesses. If in pumping you focus on close combat, then the arrows will not hurt you. If the fighter of you is not so hot, then you definitely need some kind of strong man who will divert attention to himself and stand under enemy pressure for a long time.
The development system offers a tree with perks from four directions. When you earn points, you spend them on upgrading combat schools or technomancer skills. Most of the updates are passive in nature or improve combat techniques.
Sometimes they give out points to improve the basic parameters, allowing you to raise the already mentioned charisma, the level of science, crafting, and more. Not only the development of dialogues depends on these parameters, but also what elements of ammunition you can use, the quality of updates for armor and weapons. The latter are performed on special workbenches, where the collected resources are reforged directly into upgrades.
As for new things, that their selection must be approached thoughtfully. They may not provide a dramatic improvement in protection, but they will provide a gain due to side properties like protection from electricity. In fact, even the original costume can last quite a long time due to the acceleration of the regeneration of the local analogue of mana. There are few really valuable things, and if they give obvious bonuses, they may also have weaknesses, which are partly offset by upgrades.
Externally, the game looks good, although in some places it is empty. There are many lifeless landscapes of the same type, and the villages do not shine with some kind of bright picture. On the other hand, there is a high draw distance and sharp textures, thanks to which large open spaces delight with an abundance of fine details. Unfortunately, there are few such large spaces.
With such a schedule, the system requirements are quite serious. And if Full HD is extended by mediocre video cards, then for higher resolutions you will need something closer to the top level.
The Technomancer game is more reminiscent of past Spiders creations than we’d like. There is a good story, a certain intrigue is maintained, sudden plot twists happen. But in general, this is a compilation of familiar ideas. The game has a strong combat system, and the fights themselves are tense. On the other hand, due to this focus on close combat, other aspects are poorly implemented, with very little room for any tricks or covert tactics. There is a well-thought-out pumping system, but few exotic technical skills. The general flirting with the cyberpunk style remains flirting for the most part. The game traditionally lacks elaboration in detail, but there is a strong basis, a certain combat variety and variability in the passage of missions. It’s a good but budget game. If you do not make serious demands on her, then you can have a good time. And in the absence of other role-playing games, The Technomancer may become the only entertainment for fans of the genre, if the lack of Russian localization does not scare away.