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Technomancer – Review

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Technomancer – Review

Platform – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer – Spider
Publisher – Home Focus Interactive
MSRP: $59.99 USD

(Editor’s Note: This game was reviewed on the Xbox One with the game copy being provided by the publisher.) The game was also reviewed/played on the Hard difficulty setting.

Introduction

Technomancer is a brand new RPG game set in a sci-fi world/universe by Spiders the studio behind a previously released dark fantasy RPG called Bound By Flame for and Mars: War Logs. The game itself has a lot of ideas that borrow from other titles in the genre while trying to create its own identity. While the mechanics and RPG designs such as companions, a combat system with 3 different types of weapons that play out as separate classes on the fly sound great on paper, the execution of all these elements fall off in the end and here is why.

Story

The game is set in the far future on Mars at the time when the colonists lose contact with Earth and that’s where the water war began due to supply problems. Now two big companies are forced to fight for the control of the planet and of course you’re being right in the middle of this. You begin the game as Zachariah who becomes a Techomancer which is a very high rank in the corporation called Abundance. The Technomancers are special humans that are trained to fight since early childhood and they are also wielders of lightning powers. As Zachariah, your main quest is to find out the true past of the Technomancers and find out how the whole thing began while trying to escape from the secret police.  Throughout your journey, you will meet many characters, go to different regions and cities on Mars, fight all kinds of humans, mutants, and aliens.

The_Technomancer-06

There is definitely an interesting world out there, however; the world is unfortunately not as good as it could be due to a lot of low production quality values. The voice acting in the game is very inconsistent and you can notice that right from the beginning in-game cut-scene. When Zachariah speaks it’s very difficult to take him seriously because he just looks and feels like a lifeless character due to bad facial animation and lip-syncing and the sad part is that majority of the characters also follow the same fate. It’s quite unfortunate because this game had a lot of potential for having a great plot, but when the main star has no soul or any of the future companions that you meet throughout your adventure, it makes the game’s universe feel empty and you just want to get it over with to finish the storyline and see what happens in the end.

The visuals in the game are not that great either, the current gen consoles are capable of far more than that. It’s worth mentioning that Techomancer is not a true open world game, but instead, it’s broken up into big/small regions that are filled with clone NPCs, your typical standard merchants and quest givers that just want to shove in fetch quests so there is absolutely no excuse for the game to have sub-par visuals running at 30 FPS. With that being said, the game is not horrible looking, but it’s not good looking either and the best way to sum it up is that it’s just mediocre and could have looked much more appealing. On the bright side, the soundtrack is actually quite decent and has a good techno/cyberpunk vibe going for it. If you’re a fan of the Mass Effect soundtrack then you’ll feel the love here. Overall, with all the inconsistency that this game has to offer when it comes to production values, it’s hard to appreciate the game’s universe when it’s represented in such a way even though there was great potential hidden behind of all the issues.

Gameplay

Technomancer has quite a lot of interesting game mechanics to offer, particularly when it comes to the combat system and other RPG elements. The combat system lets you switch between 3 different stances, each stance is a different set of weapons. One of the stances lets you use a two-handed staff which is known as the Warrior stance, then you have an Assassin stance with dual wielding weapons and a Guardian stance which equips you with a combat wrench in one hand and a shield in the other and they all play and feel unique in their own way. Are you the person that likes to take it slow and play defensively? Then the Guardian stance will be your best bet if you’d rather be safe than sorry, or are you the type of a player that likes to jump in everyone’s face and smash them with a powerful electric two-handed staff? The choice is yours and thankfully you’re not stuck with your stance throughout the entire game and you’re able to switch stances on the fly which creates good combat moments and tactics during mid-fights and makes it more fun.

However, the combat system also has it’s own flaws and these problems are a combination of feeling janky and unresponsive. You use 4 buttons to during battles, X, Y, N and R2. X is your basic attack button that can do a combo with multiple taps, Y does a disruption attack and has a chance to disrupt/stun an enemy for several seconds, B is used for dodging in combination with the D-pad on where you want your character to dodge and R2 which does a powerful area attack that can hit multiple areas in the vicinity if you’re using the Warrior stance. The problems occur when you have clearly hit an enemy in the face with your X, Y or R2 and they go invincible on you and then end up hitting you instead.

Are you the person that likes to take it slow and play defensively? Then the Guardian stance will be your best bet if you’d rather be safe than sorry, or are you the type of a player that likes to jump in everyone’s face and smash them with a powerful electric two-handed staff? The choice is yours and thankfully you’re not stuck with your stance throughout the entire game and you’re able to switch stances on the fly which creates good combat moments and tactics during mid-fights and makes it more fun. However, the combat system also has it’s own flaws and these problems are a combination of feeling janky and unresponsive. You use 4 buttons to during battles, X, Y, N and R2. X is your basic attack button that can do a combo with multiple taps, Y does a disruption attack and has a chance to disrupt/stun an enemy for several seconds, B is used for dodging in combination with the D-pad on where you want your character to dodge and R2 which does a powerful area attack that can hit multiple areas in the vicinity if you’re using the Warrior stance. The problems occur when you have clearly hit an enemy in the face with your X, Y or R2 and they go invincible on you and then end up hitting you instead.

The_technomancer-13

However, the combat system also has it’s own flaws and these problems are a combination of feeling janky and unresponsive. You use 4 buttons to during battles, X, Y, N and R2. X is your basic attack button that can do a combo with multiple taps, Y does a disruption attack and has a chance to disrupt/stun an enemy for several seconds, B is used for dodging in combination with the D-pad on where you want your character to dodge and R2 which does a powerful area attack that can hit multiple areas in the vicinity if you’re using the Warrior stance. The problems occur when you have clearly hit an enemy in the face with your X, Y or R2 and they go invincible on you and then end up hitting you instead.  I have died many times and also been frustrated due to the unresponsive controls and silliness even when I was perfectly executing every move I still got hit in the face and died in 2-4 hits. It doesn’t matter if you dodge everything perfect and play your cards right because the enemy will decide to have a mind of its own, become invincible for that 1 or 2 seconds during combat and kill you. I am not sure if this is a bug or an intended difficulty spike for Hard difficulty. I really wanted to enjoy this combat system, but it didn’t let me.

Technomancer offers multiple skill trees that you can level up as you progress through the game. You can choose to put points into Talents which consist of Charisma, Science, Crafting, Stealth, Traps/Lockpicking and exploration. During my play-through, I decided to do Charisma which basically let me bypass some quests where I had to basically convince someone to do something if I didn’t have Charisma then I would probably be forced to fight them. The game does give you a choice on how you want to experience your journey and that’s a good thing. However, the funny thing is once you max out Charisma then you can decide to go into something else also if you wish. You will also be allowed to put points into Attributes which include Strength for melee, Agility for critical hits for weapons, spells and chance of poison, Power which amplifies your electric spells and Constitution that allows you to have a larger health pool, resistances and higher equip load. The last tree that you can play around with in Technomancer is the Skills tree that lets you put points into different stances including your Technomancer spells. The leveling system is smart, when you level up, you only get a point for a certain skill tree so you’re not forced to decide where to spend them which basically means that every 3 levels you’re able to put 1 point into each of the 3 trees.

The_Technomancer-01

The questing in Technomancer is quite standard, you talk to different NPCs with questions marks that you can see on the map and accept different side quests and most of them are copy and paste of fetch questing that we’re all used to doing in previous RPG titles. Just like in any recent RPGs you will come across companions that can become your party members. During this time you can choose which companions to use during your adventure and you can also equip them with gear and pursue romantic or rivalry relationships with them and even get side quests.  This type of system is nothing new, but it’s nice to have it here as well as it adds more depth to the RPG systems. The gear in Technomancer ranges from having different stats such as resistances and +/- on different attributes like traps/lockpicking, crafting and etc. You can buy gear or craft it using materials and a currency called Serum that you can gather from dead creatures or human bodies that are still alive, however; once the serum is removed from a human body they then become dead and you get negative karma for doing so. Overall, the questing is also sub-par there is nothing revolutionary here or amazing that makes it set apart from other RPGs.

Final Verdict

Overall, Technomancer is not a horrible game and I really wanted to like it. As I’ve said previously the game had great potential for the plot and universe, but the disappointing voice acting, soulless characters make the world feel like a big void that’s missing its true spirit. The visuals are a tad disappointing and it could have been at least be set at 60FPS but that’s not the case, it just looks like a high-end PS3/Xbox 360 title that was released at the end of last console generation. There are far more visually appealing action RPG games that are on PS4 and Xbox One in the market right now that have bigger worlds and feel much more alive.

The combat system is also a disappointment due to its unresponsiveness making it feel janky in the long run and not as enjoyable as it should be. The questing isn’t anything revolutionary either. However, if you’re looking for a somewhat lengthy 25-35 hour RPG and have nothing else to play then give this game a rent and it’s definitely not worth the $60 price tag for the content that it offers.

Technomancer

6.5

Overall

6.5/10

Pros

  • Interesting Universe/Plot Idea
  • Game will last you about 20-35 hours if you're willing to put up with it
  • The music is serviceable

Cons

  • The combat is unresponsive
  • Bad voice acting and the characters feel lifeless
  • Looks like a game from the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era
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