Torment: Tides of Numenera Articles RSS Feed | Torment: Tides of Numenera RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The State of RPGs in 2017 Tue, 26 Dec 2017 12:32:38 -0500 Joseph Rowe

2017 saw a slew of new, noteworthy RPGs. Although most were sequels of previously established series, they were long-awaited sequels, and most were well received. Both Western and Japanese developers brought something to the table this year, so put on your RPG bib and get ready to dig in to our State of RPGs in 2017 roundup!

The Biggest RPG Releases of 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Let's start this list off a little funky. Let's tackle the mess that was Mass Effect: Andromeda. The sequel to the mostly well-received Mass Effect trilogy had been anticipated for half a decade. While by no means the worst game of the year, many fans were disappointed with the weird graphics and the less-than-stellar storyline, likely caused by the game changing hands many times throughout its development. It currently sits at a user rating of 4.8 on Metacritic, with GameSkinny's ElConquistadork including it in his 5 Worst Games of 2017, but our own Synzer gave it a 9/10, showing that some fans of the series did end up loving it. They say that true art is controversial. I'm not sure that applies to this situation, but I imagine it's something the devs tell themselves to feel better about the scores it received.

Persona 5

It finally came out! Many Persona fans, including myself, had been anticipating this game for the better half of a decade. Luckily, the wait was worth it because Persona 5 lived up to the hype. With a user score of 9.1 on Metacritic, it's safe to say it was incredibly well received by most players. And with sweet tracks like the one above, can you blame them?

If you've been sitting out on buying any new RPGs this year, I recommend picking this one up! Whether it's the beautiful graphics, the gripping plot involving a talking cat and nearly mummified hikikomori, or its stellar soundtrack, there are no downsides to this masterpiece -- except maybe spending too much time building your social links/confidants up and neglecting your actual friends.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

The spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenerais a story-rich 2.5D isometric RPG in which players take on the role of a reincarnated ancient being (more or less). In the process of controlling this dude, players have to make some pretty tough decisions that will have long-term effects on their gameplay. If you liked the original, GameSkinny's Ty Arthur thinks you'll like the new one, too. It does only have a 7 on Metacritic, indicating mixed reviews, but if you're looking for an in-depth, complex, story-based throwback RPG, you're going to be hard pressed to find a better one available right now -- unless you wanna just keep replaying Planescape and Icewind Dale.


This game has been described as a mix between Dark Souls and Onimusha. If that's not enough to grab your interest, I don't know what is. With a user rating of 8.5 for the PS4 version on Metacritic, Nioh was received quite well. Players loved its Souls series difficulty and kind-of-similar mechanics, and they praised the game's creativity that set it apart from other Souls-like games currently on the market. It's also made by Team Ninja, so if you're a Ninja Gaiden fan, you're missing out if you haven't picked this up yet.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

In a really big departure from the usual formula of the series, Nintendo went ahead and built a cooking Legend of Zelda game with an amazing open-world game built around it. Breath of the Wild is a breath of fresh air for the series, introducing tons of new gameplay elements, including a durability-based weapon system, crazy interactive environment elements that allow you to set fires, a tasty cooking system, and a degree of freedom that makes every other Zelda game look insanely linear. It currently sits at an 8.4 on Metacritic, with the only real complaints being about the durability system, but nearly everyone agrees that this is one of the best Zelda games in recent memory. 

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

2017 brought with it a sequel to 2014's Stick of Truth. This time around, the focus is on superhero movie franchises. According to GameSkinny's own Ashley Gill, the game was a solid entry into the franchise and different enough from its predecessor to set it apart. Sitting at a 7.6 for the PS4 version on Metacritic, The Fractured But Whole has been praised for its combat system, its soundtrack, and its faithfulness to the humor and look of the Comedy Central original. Some players, like Ashley, weren't impressed by the crafting system, but most players enjoyed the rest of the game thoroughly regardless of its flaws.

Nier: Automata

One of the most well-received RPGs of the year, Nier: Automata sits at a user score of 8.8 on Metacritic. Practically everything about the game received praise, including its character design, its story, and especially its varied gameplay. The game is a sequel to the original Nier, made by PlatinumGames. Both games are spin-offs of the Drakengard series. Not only is the game itself amazing, but it's got a rich story that is only enhanced by any enjoyment or knowledge you have of the previous game and its sister series. Who doesn't love action RPGs with anime androids?

Hand of Fate 2

In Hand of Fate 2, players take control of a character who must fight through various multi-floored dungeons set up by a a dungeon master-like entity known as the Dealer. It combines roguelike, RPG, and deck-building gameplay to bring a unique spin to the genre. If you're a fan of D&D or other tabletop RPGs, this is definitely worth checking out. It's been generally well received, with a user score of 7.7 on Metacritic. The main criticism that pops up is its combat, but players praise its other gameplay mechanics and the improvements the sequel made over the original.

Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon

 In the spirit of other second releases of Pokemon games, Pokemon: Ultra Sun/Moon is basically the same as its originals but with a few extra goodies. It comes with a new Mantine surfing mini-game, a new online battle mode that allows players to rent Pokemon to create a new team, a Fairy-type trial, totem stickers, and more. One of the biggest updates is that the game now actually contains a real gym, whereas the original games got around that with the Island Trials. The coolest new feature added to the game is its post-game: you fight a supergroup of the previous game's evil organization leaders. Their name is Team Rainbow Rocket, which is the sickest name ever, I don't care who you are. If you're a hardcore Pokemon fan, this is worth checking out, but if you're not, you're probably fine just sticking with the 2016 release.


The Remastered RPG Releases of 2017

Final Fantasy XII: the Zodiac Age

If you weren't a fan of the original Final Fantasy XII, like GameSkinny's Ashley Gill, then you might still want to give this new game a try, as it completely remakes the MMORPG combat system into something more appropriate to the mainline Final Fantasy series. Not only does The Zodiac Age update the combat (which Ashley loved and which I will reserve my judgment on because I am one of three people who actually liked the original FFXII's MMORPG-style combat), but it also gives the game a lovely new set of updated graphics and, especially, sound.  Whether you're a fan of the original game or not, if you're looking for a new Final Fantasy to spend your time with this year, this one might be right for you.

Skyrim VR

Have you ever wanted to Fus Roh Dah a dragon face to face? Well, now thanks to the PS4 VR version of the game, you can. There's not much new to report on this other than some people really love Skyrim VR, and some people really hate it. If you're a fan of VR, though, you'll probably dig this update to the much-beloved fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series.

.Hack//G.U. Last Recode

Forget about your Sword Art Onlines and your Log Horizons, the OG stuck-in-a-game game is back with a re-release of the original .Hack//G.U. trilogy as well as a new installment: .hack//G.U. Vol. 4//Reconnection. Fans of the original game series or the anime, manga, and light novels it's based on will love this (re)release. .Hack//G.U. Last Recode sits at a well-received score of 7.9 on Metacritic, with players praising its improvements/updates to the original, its story, and its addictive gameplay.


What Was New in the World of Online RPGs of 2017

World of Warcraft: Legion continues

(The cinematic above contains some pretty serious spoilers, so watch at your own discretion.)

While World of WarcraftLegion came out back in 2016, it concluded this year with players finally confronting Sargeras and banishing him to space baby jail, while Illidan watches over him in a surprisingly poetic resolution to our demon hunting buddy's storyline. There's an upcoming patch that will tide players over until Battle for Azeroth releases, but for now, players will be spending their time raiding Antorus or competing in the current PvP season.

Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind

Introducing the Warden as a new class as well as bringing players to the location of the beloved third Elder Scrolls game, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind received mixed scores from players, largely debating about whether the price was worth it. However, many players feel like this gave the game enough fresh content to keep them interested, especially all that new lore. Delicious. It's what finally convinced me to want to give the game a shot.

FFXIV: Stormblood

In a bold move, FFXIV: Stormblood introduces the brand-new classes Samurai and Red Mage. Oh, wait, they're not new to the series? Well, they're new to this game along with a new level cap, new areas to explore, new primals, a new raid, and a few other new features. It was given a 7.1 user score on Metacritic, indicating that it was received neither well nor poorly. Most of the negative reviews came from players who had server issues, but the content itself seems to have been well received, making this one of the better MMO expansions to check out this year.

Destiny 2 and Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris

Bungie is a bit weird. They just released Destiny 2 back in September on the PS4 and XBox One, then released it for PC on October 24th. Yet, this month brought with it the game's first expansion: Curse of Osiris. Just like the original, the game is basically an FPS MMORPG that features both PvE and PvP. Unlike the original, it came with a better matchmaking system. It was well received at launch, with most players praising its varied gameplay, its graphics, and its new storylines. However, some players have since soured to the game because of the quick release of its expansion, which involved gating content from the original behind expansion-only gear levels (as well as misleading players in the original about the amount of XP they were earning). The Curse of Osiris' Metacritic score currently sits at a 1.7 for users, but that is likely due to (warranted) salt over the developer's content gating and the XP issue.


I wanted to like Absolver much more than I did. I really did. It's like Dark Souls and Jade Empire with a softer aesthetic. It was pretty great to play -- when it worked. However, this PvE-lite, PvP-focused online martial arts RPG was plagued with insane server issues at launch that killed a lot of the potential love I had for it. I gave it a 6, but the user score on Metacritic was a little bit higher at 6.6. It might be worth revisiting now that there's been some time to work out the server issues, but I'd rather just go back to Persona 5.

Citadel: Forged with Fire

This is another game that was plagued with issues in its early-access days when I was writing the review for itCitadel: Forged with Fire was an incredibly promising sandbox. It's like the other games, except you're a wizard and you fly on a broom. That might not sound exciting, but have you ever flown on a broom before? It's pretty dope. The main problems I had with the game were based on its early-access nature leading to numerous instances of game-breaking bugs, like server crashes, enemies who didn't attack, and an incredibly hard-to-navigate server browser. However, other players have reported that those issues have since been fixed for the most part, and the game's more recent reviews on Steam have been mostly positive. Given all that, it might be worth checking out if you want to get your Gandalf on.


What Does 2018 Have in Store for Us?

Kingdom Hearts III

While likely not coming out in 2018, a writer can hope, can't he? I've largely avoided playing the other games in the series (besides 1 and 2), so I've been waiting for Kingdom Hearts III for longer than I'd like to admit. When will Goofy come home?

All we have for now are trailers to hold us off, but luckily, this year's E3 showed off the combat system a bit more. The game looks just as good as it ever was. I can't wait to beat Pete up. Also, shout out to the accurate James Woods impersonator playing Hades in the Japanese dub.

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

The long-anticipated sequel to the original Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom comes out next year. Hype yourselves up, anime nerds, because this is looking to be a promising sequel. The Ghibli veterans who worked on the original game are reprising their roles for this, so if you got that same feeling from the trailer, you're justified. We might not get a Princess Mononoke 2 anytime soon, but at least we got this.


WoW: Battle for Azeroth

The Horde's done it again. We somehow managed to be aggressors again because story. So, after saving our world from utter annihilation and banishing Sargeras to titan jail, we will have another war with WoW: Battle for Azeroth. But at least we get some new allied races coming in, like the Zandalari Trolls and Void Elves. You'll catch me playing a Highmountain Tauren Druid while I explore Zandalar.

Call of Cthulu

Fans of horror RPGs and Lovecraft have a tasty little treat to look forward to next year: Call of Cthulu. Based off of the tabletop RPG of the same name, which is based off of Lovecraft's Mythos, players will be investigating some seriously spooky stuff in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

When most Americans think of Bohemians, they tend to think of beatniks, but Kingdom Come: Deliverance is about to show that the Kingdom of Bohemia is back, sans the Kerouac books. This game is billed as being based on 15th century European history in the Holy Roman Empire. Everything from the clothing to the castles to the soundtrack is meant to be period accurate. If you're looking for a medieval RPG without the fantasy, this game will be worth keeping an eye on.


2017 has been a pretty generous year for RPG fans. Whether you're a fan of traditional JRPGs or Western MMOs, there's something for pretty much everyone. Persona 5 was hands down my favorite this year. How about you? What was your favorite RPG this year? Are there any games I overlooked? What are you looking forward to most next year? Let me know in the comments!


Torment: Tides of Numenera - Learning Tidal Affinity Thu, 02 Mar 2017 04:39:28 -0500 Ty Arthur

Ditching the traditional good and evil alignments, Torment: Tides of Numenera instead utilizes a more expansive system covering broader concepts. Rather than turning you lawful or chaotic, your actions and words as the Last Castoff will shift your dominant Tide to varying colors from the selfless actions of Gold to the power-hungry Silver or the logical Blue, and so on.

More than just window dressing that describes the nature of your character, whatever Tide is dominant has effects on future dialog options and changes how NPCs react to the Last Castoff.

In various conversations you may have also seen a grayed-out segment referencing the Tidal Affinity Skill, which isn't available for any class to choose at character creation. These options appear all throughout the game from nearly the beginning, so its a good idea to earn Tidal Affinity sooner rather than later.

In order to utilize this special skill, you first have to meet another Castoff of the Changing God and convince her to teach you how to control the Tides.

Beloved Slave Quest

Available immediately after leaving the Reef Of Fallen Worlds, you'll need to initiate the Beloved Slave quest in order to learn Tidal Affinity. To kick off this quest line, head over to the eastern side of Circus Minor where you find the sculptor.

Tol Maguur's Location

Just beyond the sculptor's tent you will find the slaver Tol Maguur. How she interacts with you depends on previous dialog options -- she will mock you and Persuasion attempts will become more difficult if you've gone around claiming to be the Changing God up till this point.

Follow the dialog options until you can agree to help Tol Maguur find someone who is missing, which starts the Beloved Slave quest line. Leave the conversation and head to Circus Minor's eastern exit to access the Cliff's Edge area.

Travel to the northeastern side of Cliff's Edge where you will see a collapsed house near a large staircase. Interact with the center of the house to open a dialog segment where a girl named Rhin will crawl out of the rubble and three thugs will approach.

Locating Rhin

After asking Rhin (or the thugs) what's happening, you have four options for helping her escape the slavers:

  • Intellect / Persuasion check
  • Intellect / Intimidation check
  • Intellect / Deception check
  • Defeating the thugs in combat

When the thugs are sent packing, take each dialog option to ask Rhin about the specifics of how she ended up in the abandoned house, then tell her to come with you for safety.

We're not quite done yet as the quest isn't actually over -- next return to Tol Maguur in Circus Minor, which will understandably get Rhin quite upset. There are two main options to take here that will result in learning Tidal Affinity:

  • Give Rhin back
  • Convince Tol Maguur to relinquish Rhin

The first option will anger the rest of the party and prevent Rhin from joining as a companion, but you will still learn the Skill you need. The second option either requires passing an Intellect / Persuasion check or defeating Tol Maguur in combat.

Either way, the Last Castoff will gain Tidal Affinity at Rank 1, which now opens up all those grayed-out dialog options.

 Using Persusasion

There's a location nearby where you can immediately put this new Skill to work. If you failed to convince the cult of the Changing God that you are more than a Castoff, you can now use Tidal Affinity to change their minds -- with no chance of failure.

Not only does this unlock the This Is My Cult achievement, but also allows you to sleep for free by talking to Mimeon instead of paying the usual absurdly high 70 shin fee.

 Damn right I'm the Changing God, now bow before me!

More Torment: Tides Of Numenera Guides

Now that you've got this necessary skill, it's time to go recruit all the other companions and complete the rest of the Sagus Cliffs quests! If you need help with some of those quest lines, be sure to check out:

Tides of Numenera: Beleazar and the Beast Complete Walkthrough Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:01:34 -0500 Ty Arthur

Despite the name, Beleazar And The Beast is no tale of a kidnapped princess falling in love through Stockholm Syndrome, but rather a story of mad science and brain eating. In other words, it's perfect Torment material!

To activate this side quest, head to Circus Minor (the starting market segment of Sagus Cliffs immediately after the Reef Of Fallen Worlds) and look for the glowing blue tank in the center with the tentacled monstrosity.

The setup immediately brings to mind the aboleth in a tank from Baldur's Gate II -- and that seems intentional, as we have another hyper intelligent but incredibly aggressive creature. We won't be doing any quests for the Nychthemeron though, and instead will likely kill him to extract secrets from his cranial matter.

To get started, first talk to El-Jinto in front of the Nychthemeron tank to learn what the creature is and how it was captured. Next, talk to Beleazar just slightly north and to the west of the tank (he's hiding right behind the small tent building).

In order to start the quest, you must succeed at a Intellect / Persuasion check before Beleazar will tell you what he's scheming.  Agree to help Beleazar and take the Teleport Nodule.

Learning about the Nychthemeron

Decide On A Quest Route

Now you've got two different routes to take that will both complete the quest with different rewards:

  • Turn in Beleazar 
  • Help Beleazar in his mad quest for science

Turning him in results in 25 XP and 20 shins, while helping Beleazar results in more XP and an item, but requires more effort and a very difficult battle.

If you don't feel good about releasing and then killing a creature just so this madman can raise his standing with the Aeon Priests, go back to El-Jinto and tell him what's up.

You can either help out Beleazar by agreeing to turn over El-Jinto's research notes, or instead insist that the budding research scientist learn about this creature the hard way and give him nothing.

That's all really no fun though, so instead you should probably go place the Teleport Nodule near the creature. To get close enough to the tank undetected, either pay 100 shins (which is a pointless waste of money) or follow the dialog options to listen to their story of how the beast was captured and talk your way into a closer look at the tank.

Planting the Teleport Nodule

As soon as the deed is done, El-Jinto and his companion will freak out and demand to know what happened. If you want to take the Blue Tide route, point out you discovered a weakness in the cage and that they should be grateful. 

Fighting the Nychthemeron

While some of the dialog in this quest indicates the Nychthemeron will engage in conversation at night rather than battle anyone who comes near, that doesn't seem to actually work. For instance, you can go break the time clock further north in Circus Minor and turn it perpetually nighttime, but that doesn't actually change the battle with the Nychthemeron. It's unclear if this is a bug or just a minor problem in the text that wasn't caught.

The Nychthemeron is located at the southeast end of the Reef Of Fallen Worlds near where you landed at the beginning of the game. We need to take some precautions before charging ahead, though.

First and foremost -- don't fight him on your own! Recruit Erritis first in the Sagus Cliffs, and then go down to the Underbelly to recruit Varrenoth, who only joins for this one battle.

You can access the Underbelly through an exit heading down in the Sagus Cliffs area or another in Circus Minor. Varrenoth is found in the southwest section near the fishing pole. Follow the conversation options to discover she's actually an automaton being controlled remotely from another location, then ask if she'd like to help kill a dangerous creature in the reef.

Getting a little mechanical help

Now we're finally ready to battle the Nychthemeron, which is undoubtedly the hardest single enemy at this point in the game -- with 120 HP, multiple attacks per round, area effect attacks, and push back attacks. 

Flanking is an absolute must due to the creature's high armor (without flanking, expect your base to-hit chance to be 50 - 65%), but don't pile all of your party around him at once since they are going to just get knocked back anyway.

Instead, keep at least one member out of the blast radius of his area whip attacks to launch ranged attacks, nano esoteries, or cypher attacks. Due to the high health of the enemy, only heal if absolutely necessary -- it's better to do more damage and let someone fall unconscious than waste time healing each round and giving the creature more opportunities for a total party wipe.

If you've saved your powerful 12 - 20 damage cyphers and didn't use them in the battle against the Adversary, they can be very useful here. Killing the Nychthemeron unlocks the For Knowledge? achievement.

Take his brain back to Beleazar to complete the quest, earning extra XP, shins, and the Psychic Guard ornament, which boosts a character's Cypher Use Skill by 1.

 One dead Nychthemeron

More Tides Of Numenera Guides

Beleazar And The Beast is just one of a horde of quests available in the Sagus Cliffs and beyond to more bizarre areas of the Ninth World. Get the most out of your playthrough with our other Torment guides:

Tides of Numenera: Fifth Eye Tavern guide Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:31:02 -0500 Ty Arthur

Upon arriving at Sagus Cliffs after completing character creation and making it through the opening Reef Of Worlds section, there are a ton of different areas to explore in Tides Of Numenera.

The most bang for your buck comes from the Fifth Eye tavern for psychics, located just to the east of the main Sagus Cliffs map in the area labeled Cliff's Edge.

Inside the Fifth Eye you have the opportunity to bump up your max Intellect by two points, snag two achievements, get a nifty item, and earn a whole lot of experience -- all before leaving the bar!

Below we cover the best order to tackle all those challenges and complete the Eyes Of The Adversary quest line. For more Torment help, be sure to also check out our other walkthroughs here:

Before Traveling To The Fifth Eye

To tackle The Eyes Of The Adversary your party should be least level two, so spend some time talking to people in Sagus Cliffs or your party members to earn some extra experience, otherwise the psychic battle in the tavern will be nearly impossible.

When you receive party XP awards, everyone gets the same amount at the same time, so you lose out on experience if you don't recruit party members before getting these awards. To maximize your leveling potential, be sure to at the very least recruit Erritis before entering the tavern.

When you enter Cliff's Edge, head south first and you will see Erritis standing next to his broken airship. It doesn't take much convincing to get him to join you.

Recruiting Companion Erritis

Meeting The Locals

As soon as you enter the Fifth Eye, talk to the NPC named O just off to the right by the railing. Fans of Planescape: Torment will recognize him immediately, as he's literally the exact same character from the Smoldering Corpse Bar.

Ask O about himself and follow each dialog option to permanently raise your health and gain 1 extra point of Intellect.

Gaining Bonus Intellect From O

If you aren't familiar with the Numenera setting, go talk to Sir Arthour at the top-center area of the tavern. While not offering any quests or experience yet, he can give you a run down of the world's geography and explain how cyphers work.

Don't bother talking to Clarion (the NPC in the middle walking back and forth) just yet. Clarion's quest A Call To War appears to be bugged and you'll just have to talk to him again after finishing The Eyes Of The Adversary to get it started again.

Head over to the Ghostly Woman in the lower-right corner and allow her to strangle you to death to earn some cheap, easy XP and start the Ashen Imitation quest. Travel through the Calm back to the Tavern after dying and now go talk to the bartender Fariok.

Pay 10 shins to buy the experimental pink sludge, which will immediately kill you and unlock the A New Beginning achievement. If you try the grease cutter experimental drink instead, you'll get the dazed fettle and earn a little bit of Blue Tide.

That's twice now you've died and you haven't even fought anyone yet! When you get teleported to the Calm after dying, hit Tab and you'll see a new cypher waiting for you in the broken shards of glass to the left.

Picking Up A New Cypher

After leaving the Calm, talk to Theboros (the guy at the table with the grey cloak and red hat). Tell him the truth of who you are, then ask him about the Words of Qra. With a high enough Intellect and Persuasion, you can convince him to grant you the Words, which will make a task easier later.

Next, talk to Ziobe (the blue guy at the top of the table) and have him bestow the task of discovering who in the room is a psychic projection. Talk to Dhama of the Bloom next (the NPC in brown on the left side of the table) and allow him to probe your mind to gain a further additional 1 Intellect point.

Talk to everyone in the bar again and ask if they are projections, then return to Ziobe and say the projection is Fariok to earn 4 XP for all party members.

 More Free Intellect!

Now we're getting ready for a big battle: go talk to Malaise (the whispy orange apparition in the top-left corner) then return to Dhama of the Bloom and accuse Malaise of being an agent of the Adversary. Tell Dhama you are ready to face the Adversary with his help to be teleported to a psychic battlefield.

Fighting The Adversary

There's no doubt about it, this is a tough fight, as you are greatly outnumbered and Dhama's team starts the battle paralyzed, with one member being unlocked on each subsequent turn.

Certain cyphers make the psychic battle segment easier. Most notably, you will want Image Blocker equipped on The Last Castoff for easy hiding. If The Last Castoff dies you have to start the battle over with fewer resources, so its a better idea to have the protagonist run to the corner and use the Hide skill than keep fighting with low health.

Area effect cyphers like Unstable Detonation are incredibly useful since you will be surrounded by copies of Malaise. Most of these copies have 18 HP, so you can kill one outright with the Cryophorous Dart cypher.

 Targeting Multiple Malaise Copies

Malaise's copies will hit your party members with strikes that drain Intellect, so give the Shimmering Glass cypher to any character who utilizes Intellect attacks as a method of refilling your Pools while still dealing damage.

Here's where the battle gets tricky: for every copy you kill, every other copy gains bonuses to defense and attack and becomes more powerful. To succeed, you will need to utilize flanking with your other party members, and be sure to have Erritis activate Opportunist on the first turn for free attacks as the copies rush you.

From there, make use of your best abilities and cyphers, and don't be afraid to use as many points from your Stat Pools as you need to stay alive.

Killing Malaise completes The Eyes Of The Adversary, unlocking the Free Minds achievement and netting you a bonded item called the Shadowstep that increases Speed but decreases Might.

Completing The Quest

A Call To War

That was a ton of experience and achievements already, but we're not done yet! Go talk to Clarion and agree to help recruit the five veterans in the bar to return to war.

Dhama of the Bloom will automatically agree to join the battle since you aided in defeating the Adversary.

Theboros will agree to join the fight if you took the Words of Qra from him and succeed at an Intimidate check.

Leto will agree to join if you succeed at a Persuasion check. Fariok and Ziobe will refuse to join no matter what.

Return to Clarion and report your success and failures in reporting to wrap up the last quest.

Extra Shins Always Come In Handy!

That's all we've discovered in the Fifth Eye so far - let us know if you've found any other secrets hiding in the psychic tavern in the comments section below!

Torment: Tides of Numenera complete achievement list Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:29:23 -0500 Ty Arthur

Who ever would have thought that almost two decades after Planescape: Torment took the gaming world by storm, we would finally get a sequel? It may be set in a wholly different universe that leans more sci-fi than fantasy, but Tides of Numenera still offers all the delicious oddity you could ever want from a Torment title.

When the first game in this series came out, the concept of "achievements" hadn't even entered the gaming lexicon yet. But now 18 years later, this new Torment experience lets you unlock Steam Xbox achievements and PlayStation trophies.

While all the achievements were thoroughly hidden up until release to keep a wraps on certain story and gameplay elements, now they've finally been unveiled. Check out the full list below, and be sure to come back soon - we'll be updating the secret achievements as they are unlocked throughout the week!

Looking for more help on how to get started in this bizarre futuristic game? Take a gander at our other guides:

Achievement How To Unlock Gamerscore
 Live Another Life Complete a Mere   30
 This Is MY Cult Convince the cult in Sagus Cliffs you are the Changing God  15
 A New Home Learn the truth of where Jherem came from  15
 Always In Touch  Found the Hall of Relics 15
 Foremen Don't Forget  Discovered Min of Tan Liang's embarrassing secret 15
 I Clank When I Walk Equip everyone one of Jernaugh's upgrades  15
Peace Bringer  Brought peace to Choi's Spirit 15 
 Ill Gotten Gains Found the Murden's treasure room  15 
War Machine  Defeated Waits-For-Prey in combat  15
Death Wish  Died by drinking too much Bloom Juice  15 
Inside Man  Coty betrayed the First on your behalf  15 
 Priest Restored Aligern found his friends and family  15 
Keep Your Friends Close  Made Aligern believe you are the Changing God... and earned his love anyway   15
Buckle Down   Tybir made a dangerous deal with Tol Maguur  15
Mere Explorer  Found all merecasters  15 
Overload  Acquired one too many cyphers   15
 Hall Of Memories Unlocked all elements in the calm  15 
Limits Of Human Capacity  Achieved maximum character level  15 
Beloved   The entire party loves the Last Castoff 15 
Despised The entire party dislikes the Last Castoff   15
Not Dead Yet  Escaped the Sorrow... for now  30
A City Carved In Stone  Reach the Sagus Cliffs  30
 Monuments to the Past Reached the Valley Of Dead Heroes  30
 Sanctuary Found Miel Avest  30
 Belly of the Beast  Reached the Bloom  30
Crystalline Vista  Reached the Ascension  30
Castoffs Fate  Activated The Resonance Chamber  30
Terminal Velocity  Ended your life before it truly began  15
For Knowledge? Slew the Nychthemeron  15
Just a Taste Became the main course in a Dendra O'hur feast  15
Free Minds  Defeated the Adversary  15
Accidental Savior Rescued the Memorialists in the Valley of Dead Heroes by failing to find them  15
Knowledge Seeker Undertook Tantalum's quest to explore the tombs of the Necropolis  15
Valley's Hero Freed the Valley from the Children of the Endless Gate  15
Rising Phoenix Helped Phoenix find the answer he seeks  15
Transdimensional Midwife Brought a new minnim pair to life  15
Memovira  Became the new Memovira  15
Private Property  Purchase a slave  15
Homeworld Bound  Return the lascars to their home  15
A God In Human Skin Become the Changing God  40
 All Too Human  Callistege became completely human again  15
Ascended  Translated Callistege's consciousness to the datasphere  15
The Dying Light Powered up Erritis' nanites  15
Back To The Farm  Freed Erritis from the audience  15
 Love Restored Help Tybir make peace with Auvigne  15
Dangerous Ideals  Matkina turned away from her isolation  15
Successor  Matkina became the new Memovira  15
Going Home  Rhin returned to her true home  15
A New Family Rhin stayed with the Last Castoff  15
It's For The Best  Rhin found a new family through the Empty House of Time  15
A New Beginning  Woke up in the Calm after dying  15
Legacy Completed the Game  90


Which achievements have you managed to unlock so far? That 90 points for finishing the game will top you off your gamerscore quite nicely! Stay tuned for full guides on unlocking some of the more difficult trophies that Torment: Tides of Numenera has to offer. 

Torment: Tides of Numenera Beginner's Guide Tue, 28 Feb 2017 05:03:13 -0500 Ty Arthur

Pulling from a completely different era of gaming, Tides Of Numenera (reviewed here) is a much different experience than with either the open world Skyrim-style or the traditional JRPG.

Below we cover all the basics you need to know before diving into Torment's unusual style. Looking for info on the best class build instead? Check out our Tides Of Numenera character creation guide here.

The Basics

If there's one single, most useful hint in the whole game, it would be to know that the Tab key highlights everything you can interact with! Always be tapping it everywhere you go. There are myriad objects, creatures, and NPCs in any given map section and most of them are more than window dressing.

An object that seems like a simple visual oddity to add flavor may actually offer a way to level more quickly or provide useful items for an edge in an upcoming combat.

 The Lore Mystical Skill provides free XP if you interact with these cones

More so than any other RPG out there, Torment is all about dialog. Reams and reams of dialog, from talking to people you meet to lengthy sequences recalling past memories. Accordingly, be sure to talk to your companions as frequently as possible. You'll learn new things, gain new items, unlock new quests, and gain experience as you discover their secrets and learn about their history.

While the Last Castoff does gain experience from completing Crisis segments (see below), there are far more options to bump up your XP count by recalling memories of the Changing God while interacting with objects or talking to people. Even something as simple as a pile of rubble or a random passerby on the street can potentially be a source of lore and experience.

Similarly, look for new ways to utilize items you've discovered through dialog, and don't be afraid to backtrack to re-initiate conversation with a previous character or set piece.

For instance, the broken machine near the beginning of the game yields up a jagged crystal shard if you follow the dialog tree to its end. While a free light weapon is useful (especially if you picked the Nano or Jack classes), it doesn't deal a ton of damage. There's an easy way to bump up it's capabilities though.

Take this shard to a floating black and green obelisk at the Reef Of Fallen Worlds - an imposing object that shoots beams of deadly light - and a dialog option appears to charge the shard with light, increasing its damage and utility without having to spend any shins at a merchant.

Does an object seem useless? Come back to it later!

Navigating Through Crisis

Rather than the expected Real Time With Pause combat style of the previous Torment, this sequel instead has you enter a Crisis - a scripted, turn based segment filled to the brim with options beyond just swinging a sword or casting a spell.

Always be on the lookout during any given Crisis for ways to utilize background objects or engage in conversation with your enemies. Even if you can't talk them out of fighting, you can frequently use dialog to gain an advantage by weakening their resolve or inflicting combat penalties.

Don't forget that movement and range come into play during a Crisis much like they do in a tabletop war game. Abilities that allow you to teleport can easily turn the tide of any combat, and keep in mind that effects that push or pull an enemy against walls or platform edges knock them down and deal bonus damage.

The proper skills turns this background object into a powerful weapon

Numenera Specific Rules

Pulling from the Numenera tabletop RPG rather than the Planescape setting of its predecessor, Torment has some key differences that D&D players may not be expecting.

Each character has three Stat Pools covering Might, Speed, and Intellect. These pools will frequently go down as you complete tasks, with Might falling if you spend points to break an object, Intellect being used up if you outwit someone in conversation, and so on.

Unlike with other RPGs, your stats will frequently go up and down

Each character also has a maximum Effort, which allows you to spend additional points from a Stat Pool to increase your chances of success. The first point used during a task doesn't cost anything -- in essence you are using the Stat for free for a lower chance at success.

Anything above that first point reduces your overall available pool until either finding a place to rest (few and far between) or using an item that heals that Stat. What this means is that the more often you succeed in combat or dialog, the less useful that character will be in future battles and conversations.

This is why the importance of the Edge Stat can't be overstated: every point of Edge means you have an extra point of Effort to be applied that doesn't reduce your Stat Pool, so you can keep succeeding longer.

Here's where the unique leveling system comes in. Each time you level you choose from one of four options: increasing a Stat Pool outright, increasing Edge, increasing maximum Effort, or learning a new Skill / upgrading an existing Skill.

You can only take each option once pier Tier, and after choosing all four options your Tier bumps up. Essentially, this means you can only boost your Edge, Effort, etc. once every four levels -- so choose wisely! A higher Edge is always useful because it means you'll be spending fewer Stat points, but if you are frequently using one Skill or Stat over all the others, it may be a better choice to increase those instead.

Choosing a leveling option

With these key differences in mind, you are now ready to explore the bizarre Ninth World and help the Last Castoff discover the answer to the question: "what does one life matter?"

Torment: Tides Of Numenera Revives the Greatest CRPG of all Time Tue, 28 Feb 2017 05:20:55 -0500 Ty Arthur

I'm just going to come right out and say it; there's never been a better RPG than Planescape: Torment. Hell, there might not have ever been a better game period than Torment. Needless to say, when a crowd funding campaign was launched for a spiritual sequel back in 2013, anticipation was at an all-time frenzied high.

It's been an agonizing wait for the end product, with dread managing to sneak in here and there as questions were raised about team members departing the project and a big shift in style to turn based combat.

I'm exceedingly happy to report all the naysayers (myself included) were dead wrong: Tides Of Numenera more than lives up to the Torment name and is a stellar successor to the greatest computer role playing game of all time.

Get ready for a wild ride with incredibly unique locations

Keeping Torment Alive

You know you are in for a completely different experience than the standard RPG when the game literally opens with you falling to your death from the moon. Hey -- InXile had to top waking up on a mortuary slab somehow!

While the original game asked “what can change the nature of a man,” this one asks “what does one life matter?” but it does so in a way that shows a great reverence for its source material.

As a Castoff -- a body once inhabited by the Changing God that has since gained sentience when he departed for a new host -- you remember things from previous lives much the way Nameless One did in the city of Sigil. This allows the game to have many of the same basic concepts as its predecessor but present them in the futuristic Numenera setting.

The Last Castoff will frequently come across people who knew you as the Changing God, and have a preconceived notion about you based on previous interactions that you had no control over.

In another nod to the Planescape origins, your party will come across a series of women who are very clearly incarnations of Ravel Puzzelwell, just like there were throughout the Infinity Engine games. Prepare to also get all nostalgic with odd objects used as weapons that are acquired in bizarre ways or when dying is used as a means of advancing the story.

Sure, I'll snap an arm off this living metal creature and swing it as a mace

Revising A Classic

Of course there are plenty of differences present as well, as this is a whole new game in a whole new universe. While the Nameless One was searching for his lost mortality, here The Last Castoff is instead searching for a way to stave off a foe that can permanently kill you.

I have to admit I had major reservations about InXile's ability to deliver something on par with the Black Isle classic, but I've been pleasantly surprised at the quality increase on most fronts from the developer's previous classic reboot Wasteland 2 to Torment: Tides Of Numenera.

So far I've experienced no random crashes, no major quest breaking bugs, and for me most importantly, there's been a huge fix on the dialog -- an absolute must considering the amount of text in this game.

When Wasteland 2 was still in development, InXile liked to brag about that game's huge word count, but neglected to mention that more than half the dialog was repeated from multiple characters telling you the exact same information in slightly different ways. That issue has been more than handily resolved this time around, with much more compelling dialog all around and none of the repetition.

 Odd characters and loads of text keep up the Torment feel

Tides of Numenera has maintained the concept of different areas of a large city serving as the main point of completing quests while exploring, with Sagus Cliffs replacing Sigil for a portion of the game.

This time around, it feels more like the game actually reacts to the path you take, however. For instance in the starting area of Sagus Cliffs I made a beeline straight for the cult of the Changing God and with all the bluster I could bring to bear claimed I was in fact that God and no mere Castoff. It didn't go well, and later when chatting with a slaver who actually knew the Changing God, he openly mocked me for my not-so-clever ruse, which made getting his quest more difficult.

Changing Gameplay

One issue that seemed to have fans most worried was that the switch from classic real time with pause to turn based combat would be a major mistake, but thankfully it absolutely wasn't.

With all the different objects you can interact with, people you can talk to, and combat options available, this system just wouldn't work in real time. Besides, we've already got plenty of that classic style at the moment with Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny.

The combat segments themselves -- known as a Crisis initiation -- are fewer and farther between than in the original Torment, but each one is hand crafted to be a memorable experience with many different methods of resolving the situation at hand.

Outside of combat, Tides Of Numenera has taken concepts from the D&D universe and translated them into a new ruleset. One of the biggest departures in Planescape: Torment from any other D&D game that really set it apart from the rest of the pack was in how alignments were handled. Rather than being something you picked during character creation, alignment was determined by your actions and words, and could change over time.

That same concept applies here, but with the Tides replacing the alignment system. More than simply good / evil or law / chaos, the Tides instead deal with broader concepts, with Red covering all manner of passions and strong emotions, Blue involving logical discourse and acquiring knowledge, Silver being obsessed with admiration and having your name be remembered, and so on.

Provoking strong responses and inflaming passions raises the Red Tide

In an interesting example of life impacting art, originally the Tides were meant to be major part of the Numenera tabletop RPG system, but were set aside towards the end of development.

While many of Numenera's other core concepts are included -- spending Effort to increase chances of success, having three Stat Pools, etc. -- Tides are present in this computer game version but not in the original tabletop game they came from, allowing you to see into an aspect of the system that was supposed to be there but instead hit the cutting room floor.

Numenera is a very simplified RPG system, culling everything down to three basic stats -- Might, Speed, and Intellect. The Last Castoff and his companions have to spend points from these pools to succeed at various actions or conversation attempts, so there's resources to manage, but unlike with other games there's interesting effects to losing. Unlike with Wasteland 2, It's not a situation where you always want to have full stats or save and load when you fail at something.

Bottom Line

Overall, Tides of Numenera is everything a Torment fan could want, and it will strongly to bring to mind everything that was loved about that earlier game. All these years later those oddly offbeat characters are still remembered fondly, and Tides rises to the occasion with equally memorable companions, like Callistege, who is constantly shifting from place to place as she exists in multiple dimensions at once.

There are a couple of minor quibbles here and there (the Fifth Eye Tavern for instance goes beyond homage into outright copying the Smoldering Corpse Bar), and the character animations are a little choppy. InXile did a great job of creating the Ninth World in digital form in terms of color, style, and atmosphere, but on the whole the character models are better in games like Tyranny and Pillars.

That being said, fans of Torment won't be disappointed exploring this new iteration, and there are even some unexpected twists for people who are very familiar with Numenera's setting.

For those who prefer a text-heavy role playing experience that focuses on story and characters over open world and combat, there's no question Tides Of Numenera will be the best RPG of the year.

Torment: Tides Of Numenera Class and Character Creation Guide Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Ty Arthur

It's only been an 18-year wait, but we finally have a successor to the groundbreaking CRPG Planescape: Torment. It may be set in an entirely different universe and shifted from one tabletop RPG ruleset to another, but there's no doubt developer InXile absolutely nailed the feel of Torment in this spiritual sequel.

Culling out all the facial feature reconstruction and overly large list of racial options from bigger name RPGs, Tides Of Numenera instead focuses on how your character approaches problems and faces the extreme oddity of the Ninth World.

Choosing The Best Class in Tides of Numenera

In Planescape: Torment there were multiple ways to play, but it was clear there was one obviously intended path over the others. Playing a mage with all your points in Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma resulted in experiencing the largest portion of the game in a single playthrough.

Your first inclination may be to repeat that pattern and play a Nano with  Read Surface Thoughts – and that does offer some interesting insight into the game world – but it's not a strict necessity. Your first two companions will already be Nanos with high Intellect, and many of the game's early Skill tests require Might pools instead, so don't be afraid to put your points there in fear of losing out on dialog options. 

Keep in mind can easily raise your Speed and Intellect Pools by 1 point for free by talking to Aidan in Cliff's Edge and O in the Fifth Eye Tavern, so it may be worth it to save those points for other Stats.

The Jack class actually has the widest range of options for picking your starting Exploration Skill (used very frequently in dialog choices) and strikes a balance between the Glaive and Nano on the combat/magic front.

When picking your class, keep in mind only the Glaive can take medium or heavy weapon training at the beginning unless you utilize a specific Descriptor, so you'll want to stick to a light weapon if playing either a Jack or Nano to avoid the -15% inability penalty (marked by two red dots).

 A Glaive, Jack, and Nano

Numenera Character Creation

Following the segment where you try to make sense of why you are falling from a moon to the planet below, Tides Of Numenera has you actually play through character creation, moving through a world of shifting living metal while recalling past lives of the Changing God.

Each conversation segment features three clear-cut options: the route of Might (Glaive), Speed (Jack), or Intellect (Nano). The options are incredibly obvious: physically moving something or using intimidating threats, deception/guile and fast reflexes, and finally using brains over brawn or outright magical abilities.

The final conversation option at the mirror will determine your Descriptor (which can be manually changed later and are described below). Don't worry if you want to change your mind on the class either -- that too can be manually changed after the mirror segment as you select your Stat breakdown.

Keep in mind that the maximum for any starting Stat Pool is 11, typically achieved by bumping that Stat to 9 and then taking a Descriptor that bumps that Stat up by a further 2 points.

Echoing the rules-light tabletop Numenera RPG, your character's Exploration Skills are much more freeform than in many other role-playing experiences and are very self-explanatory. For instance, the Smashing Skill gives you a bonus to any tests or conversation options involving breaking things, and it could come up in just about any scenario involving that concept -- even ones you don't quite expect.

The only exceptions are Cypher Use, which lets you use additional cyphers beyond the normal maximum, Running, which lets you move further during a Crisis before or after attacking, and Endurance, which gives bonus Health.

Below we break down each class' Ability options and Exploration Skills available at character creation.

Choosing Might, Speed, or Intellect Options


Your jack-of-all-trades starts with the versatile Flex Skill, offering +1 training level in any Exploration Skill. After picking your Stats, you can then choose from an Ability and additional Exploration Skill.

Ability Choices:

  • Trained Without Armor -- bonus 10% to evasion and willpower while wearing light armor
  • Hedge Magic -- automatically succeed on the next Quick Fingers or Smashing task undertaken that day
  • Sucker Punch -- deals weapon damage + 3 and dazes the target if they already have a negative fettle applied
  • Infuse Weapon -- next attack deals damage of any type you choose
  • Practiced In Armor -- reduces Might and Speed costs associated with wearing armor

Exploration Skill Choices:

  • Anamnesis
  • Concentration
  • Cypher Use
  • Deception
  • Endurance
  • Healing
  • Intimidation
  • Lore Machinery
  • Lore Mystical
  • Lore Natural
  • Perception
  • Persuasion
  • Quick Fingers
  • Running
  • Smashing
  • Stealth

Picking the Jack


Your fighter class starts automatically with the Opportunist ability, which lets you end your turn prematurely but then make an attack with a bonus to hit anytime an enemy moves within range, as well as Practiced In Armor, which reduces Speed and Might penalties associated with wearing armor. 

Unlike the other two classes, a Glaive also chooses to be skilled in either medium or heavy weapons. After picking your Stats, you can then choose from an Ability and Exploration Skill.

Ability Choices:

  • Unfailing Precision -- 10% bonus to critical hit chance with attacks
  • Skill With Defense -- 10% bonus to Evasion and Willpower
  • Taunt -- forces one target to attack you instead of any companions
  • Hook -- snare a target and pull them towards you during a Crisis

Exploration Skill Choices:

  • Endurance
  • Running
  • Quick Fingers
  • Smashing

Picking the Glaive


Your spellcasting class begins with the Onslaught ability, an incredibly versatile medium range attack that lets you choose the type of damage to overcome resistance. More importantly, it also gets the Anamnesis Skill for free, offering a bonus to any task involving remembering previous experiences of the Changing God.

Ability Choices:

  • Scan Thoughts -- surface thoughts of NPCs will appear during dialog
  • Resourceful -- gain bonus training level to Cypher Use Skill
  • Innvervate -- remove all negative fettles and heal 6 Heatlh
  • Adaptation -- gain bonus to armor and resistance for 3 rounds
  • Quantum Step -- teleport an ally a medium distance during a Crisis

Exploration Skill Choices:

  • Lore Machinery
  • Lore Mystical
  • Lore Natural

Choosing Nano Exploration Skills

Character Descriptor

Finally, your Descriptor choice (which is the same list for all classes) offers a bonus to certain skills and stats while applying a penalty to others.

Your Descriptor will have already been chosen based on the dialog options at the mirror, but here you can change it if you don't like the specific bonuses and penalties you received.

Keep in mind what Exploration Skill you chose when picking your Descriptor, as you may want to go with a Descriptor that gives you a bonus Skill rather than raising the level of an existing Skill. You can even gain the normally Glaive-only heavy weapons ability with the Wrathful Descriptor.

Your Descriptor can also lower a Skill below the unskilled rank to the inability rank, which gives a 15% penalty to attempting anything associated with the Skill.

  • Cautious -- bonus to Perception and Stealth, penalty to Initative
  • Charming -- bonus to Persuasion and Deception, penalty to Willpower and Intellect
  • Clever -- bonus to Intellect, Deception, and Willpower, penalty to Lore Mystical and Lore Machinery
  • Graceful -- bonus to Speed and Quick Fingers, penalty to Smashing
  • Intelligence -- bonus to Intellect and Anamnesis, penalty to Concentration
  • Learned -- bonus to Intellect, Lore Natural, Lore Machinery, and Healing, penalty to Persuasion and Deception
  • Mechanical -- bonus to Lore Machinery and Concentration, penalty to Deception
  • Mystical -- bonus to Cypher Use and Lore Mystical, penalty to Intimidation
  • Observant -- bonus to Perception and Concentration, penalty to Running 
  • Rugged -- bonus to Endurance, Lore Natural, and Resistance, penalty to Lore Machinery and Deception
  • Slick -- bonus to Persuasion and Quick Fingers, penalty to Endurance
  • Stealthy -- bonus to Light Weapons, Stealth, and Deception, penalty to Initiative and Running
  • Strong -- bonus to Might, Intimidation, and Endurance, penalty to Quick Fingers and Intellect
  • Strong-Willed -- bonus to Willpower, Concentration, and Intimidation, penalty to Lore Machinery and Perception
  • Swift -- bonus to Speed and Running, penalty to Stealth
  • Tough -- bonus to Armor, Resistance, and Endurance, penalty to Evasion 
  • Wrathful -- bonus to Heavy Weapons, Intimidation, and Smashing, penalty to Concentration and Stealth

Picking a Descriptor

Focus in Tides of Numenera

There is one additional aspect of character creation that isn't actually chosen until you've explored some of the Sagus Cliffs area and leveled up the first time: picking a Focus.

Your Focus option will be a more detailed description like Brandishes A Silver Tongue, Breathes Shadow, or Masters Defense, but will change based on your class and dominant Tide.

When you reach this point of the game, your main consideration is whether you want a Focus that provides a combat focused option, like Counterattack, or prefer something that makes more dialog options available, like Natural Charisma.

 Choosing a Focus

With all your base options chosen, you are now ready to explore the Ninth World! Let us know: what class did you pick, and what Exploration Skills and Descriptors do you like best?

New Story Trailer for Torment: Tides of Numenera Thu, 09 Feb 2017 09:31:56 -0500 Rob Kershaw

Techland have just released a story trailer for the forthcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera and it looks very promising indeed.

Whilst the background for your character has been discussed before -- as well as the game's possible antagonist -- the latest trailer summarizes the events leading up to your arrival in Torment succinctly.

From what we can gather, you may not only be fighting against The Sorrow, but The Changing God as well -- the entity who created and possessed the vessels that allowed him to survive through the ages, of which you are one.

But the way in which The Changing God is portrayed suggests that there may possibly be scope for you and The Sorrow to work together, and defeat the entity which has been cheating death for millennia.

It's an intriguing introduction to Monte Cook's world, and given the writing talent behind the game we can expect that the conflict we'll encounter will be tinged with various shades of grey.

The release date is less than three weeks away, so we can expect a ramp up of promotional information as February 28th draws closer.

Does the story trailer make you excited to play Torment? Let us know in the comments!

My 6 Top Most Anticipated Western RPG's Mon, 30 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Michael Llewellyn

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Platforms PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC


Being a huge Mass Effect fan I have high hopes for this game I feel it is one of the best and most intricately developed Sci-Fi universes in any form of media I have seen there's just so much lore and love that's gone into this series, it's ever expanding universe ranks up there the likes of mature Sci-Fi media and literature like Battlestar Galactica and The Expanse.


BioWare brought in a great team of experienced Sci-Fi writers for this game and the developers have promised a more open and expansive galaxy to explore with a more flexible class system that isn't locked into one style of gameplay through progression tree. Now the protagonist Ryder can have combat, tech, and biotic abilities all in one playthrough.


With everything set in place for this new space set adventure which is just weeks away -- at the time of writing -- and with level of talent available at BioWare it really does have the potential to Game of the Year material.


Which western RPGs are you most looking forward to you in 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Platforms: PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC


Release Date: TBA 2017


Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been in development for a while but now that the developers have signed a publishing deal with Koch Media's publishing division Deep Silver, the release is looking for hopeful for a 2017 release date.


The game is an open world RPG much like Skyrim at first glance but this game is set in Bohemia 1403 with period accurate armor and clothing, it's also going to steeped in historical realism adapting real life events in history -- so no magic, dragons, elves and monsters. As much as I love the Tolkienesque setting in RPG's, being a bit of a history buff I've been hoping for a modern day RPG that was willing to go the historical medieval route.


The game puts you in the shoes of a blacksmith's son in a once peaceful mining town until it is raided and his whole family murdered. This puts the protagonist on a path of vengeance and an epic journey to bring peace to the Kingdom of Bohemia.

The Surge 

Platforms: PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC


Release Date May 2017


The Surge is coming from Deck 13 Interactive, the studios who brought us the flawed but underrated Dark Souls-alike Lords Of The Fallen, and much like its predecessor, it follows a similar gameplay formula and is promising to expand on it.


It's set in a dystopian future in the aftermath of a technological disaster. It's a world populated by robots, non-humans and surviving humans. The protagonist is not a warrior or soldier but is connected to an exoskeleton that you will be able to upgrade and craft to your liking.


If the developers can learn from the flaws of Lords Of The Fallen -- which in my view was a good game with a really solid combat system that had just a few flaws that held it back from being great. With a new setting and a new premise there's an opportunity for Deck 13 to do great things with this new IP.

Horizon Zero Dawn 

Platform: Playstation 4


Release Date: North America 28th of February EU 1st of March 2017


An open world RPG, and a first of its kind from Guerilla Games -- the developers of the Killzone series -- it's a complete deviation from the first person and mostly linear shooters we've seen in the past from the studio.


It's post-apocalyptic land is ruled and roamed over by robotic, mechanical creatures of varying sizes. You have the ability to take the creatures down in a variety of ways from combat to hacking.


It's looking like brave new direction from the studio, with absolutely stunning visuals -- as expected -- and a really appealing art design, the outlook is looking good for this promising new title.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Platforms: PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC


Release Date: 28th of February 2017


Torment: Tides of Numenera is considered a spiritual sequel to the critically acclaimed Planescape: Torment. Only licensing issues put a stop to the game being a full sequel but much of the original development team will be returning for this game, including the composer.


The game is using the same classical CRPG stylings of the original title and is looking very promising with a talented team of developers and writers behind the game. With Divinity and now Torment the classical CRPG has seen a lot of new life lately and is successfully finding a new home on consoles too.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 

Platforms: PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC


Release Date: TBA


I have really enjoyed the Divinity series over the years with underrated DIvinity: Dragon Knight Saga to the modernised CRPG stylings of Divinity: Original Sin. 


Funded by Kickstarter, Original Sin, received high praise for its challenging yet exciting gameplay mechanics, beautiful world and its story. The sequel looks to be following in the same footsteps as its predecessors.


I've already made a list here on Gameskinny about my most anticipated Japanese RPG's for 2017 and I've wanted to follow on from that with another list for the Western RPG, as I enjoy both approaches to the role playing game genre equally.


I have a huge love for Western RPG's from the open worlds, to refining your character's stats in order to perfect your sword wielding warrior or your spell casting wizard.


Much like the JRPG there is are a lot of games to get excited for in terms of quality and variety in 2017 -- so without further ado are my list of of of most anticipated Western RPG's.

5 Expansive CRPG Games You Can Play to Bide Your Time Until Torment: Tides of Numenera Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:03:02 -0500 Rob Kershaw

There’s just over five weeks to go before we can get our hands on Torment: Tides of Numenera. We can’t wait, and we suspect we’re not alone. It might not seem long, but there’s plenty of time for you to go back through your RPG catalog and pick out some of those classics you never got around to playing -- or buy them for a bargain price online.

It’s actually incredible how many top quality CRPGs have been released over the last three decades. There are the usual go-to titles such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age and The Witcher series of course, but it’s likely that you’ll have played at least one or two of these. And it goes without saying that Planescape: Torment should be the first thing you download if you’re even considering an RPG right now.

But there are other exceptional games from the annals of history -- some older, some newer -- which all did a fantastic job of immersing you in a world. They stand out for being stellar examples of the craft, and are still incredibly playable today.

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Of the three titles released by Troika Games over their relatively brief stint in the industry, Arcanum was the most successful. And rightly so -- it melded the traditional RPG landscape of Ogres and Dwarves with a Victoriana flavor. It wasn’t afraid to capitalize on a world getting to grips with steampunk technology, and the entire game was rich in atmosphere and detail.

One of Arcanum’s greatest assets, though, was its character creation. The studio was formed by ex-Interplay staff, and their work on Fallout is clearly an influence here. You can choose from a huge range of classes, skills, attributes and abilities, and humor abounded throughout. (Want to be an arsonist? Go for it!)

Better still, the character you ended up building would work to mold the game world. It gave you options, rather than forcing you down specific paths that players would have to tread in a conventional RPG, regardless of their choices. How your character looked, what deeds you’ve done previously, and even the items in your possession could all work to open or close branches of dialog or even entire quests.

In addition, an entertaining campaign let you approach it in whichever way you wanted. Steal, deceive, help, ignore -- you could tackle quests pretty much however you liked. There was so much content here that it was entirely possible to play through the game numerous times with different builds and have almost an entirely unique experience. Even by today’s standards, Arcanum took role-playing to another level.

Like Temple of Elemental Evil and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines which followed it, Troika's first game had its share of bugs. The playing area was fairly stingy, and the graphics have definitely dated. Fifteen years on, though, a dedicated fanbase has patched up pretty much all of the biggest problems, and the game can be bought for pennies. You’ll struggle to find a truer role-playing experience.

Divinity: Original Sin

It may be the most recent release on this list, but Original Sin’s roots lie firmly in the CRPGs of old, not least Larian Studios’ own Divine Divinity and its sequel. But where those games offered enjoyable romps through familiar territory, it was this Kickstarter-backed gem which realized the studio’s vision. Free from the restraints of an external publisher, Larian created a joyously self-referential march through a campaign that kept its tongue firmly in its cheek.

While combat is often the weakest aspect of many games in this genre, Original Sin excelled at it in almost every conceivable way. Battles were strategic, interesting and fun. The environmental effects -- which had been talked about with some buzz ever since the fundraising campaign kicked off -- actually worked. You could tip over barrels of oil and set fire to them. You could bring down lightning on pools of water (or blood!) that your enemies stood in, and electrocute them. You could ignite poisonous gas clouds with a whoosh of flame. And instead of dreading encounters, you actively looked forward to them, wondering what kind of goodies would be scattered around the battlefield for you to play with.

Experimentation was key, not least because you weren’t handed everything on a plate. In truth, you were told very little indeed -- and for good reason. Larian wanted you to discover things yourself, to tinker and prod at the game’s mechanics and work out what you could do. Can’t get through a door? Find a key. No key available? Smash it down. Is your warhammer broken? Cast a fire spell at it.

This is one tiny example of the huge amount of choice available to you.

Most quests offered numerous solutions, and the game world itself was like a massive Easter egg, tempting you to try things you wouldn’t dream of in any other RPG. How about stealing from a character by distracting them with another party member first? Or trading with a guy you know you’re going to end up killing, and then looting his body afterward to get your cash back?

Even conversations were unique, thanks to an intriguing rock-paper-scissors system that made influencing a character far more involving than just having a higher stat than they do. This even worked in co-op -- which Original Sin did surprisingly well -- but you couldn't go in expecting to agree with the other people you were playing with. And you had to be prepared for the consequences of them stabbing you in the back. Metaphorically and literally.

Oh, and if you had the Pet Pal skill, you could talk to animals. Some of them would even give you quests. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Ultima VII: The Black Gate

As great as it is, Divinity: Original Sin wouldn’t have existed without Ultima VII. It might have predated Larian’s creation by 22 years, but the mechanics in The Black Gate (and its sequel, The Serpent Isle) were the precursor to many other RPGs, including the likes of Oblivion. Natural day and night cycles, where people actually went about their business like normal humans? Townsfolk opening doors rather than just passing through them? Characters actually taking note of what you were doing and commenting on it? You saw it here first.

Original Sin may have set out its stall offering freedom, but Ultima VII was the daddy. Do you want to wander around town, killing anyone you fancy? Or perhaps you’d like to hook up with some locals instead? Both options are totally on the table. Although, when you’re thrown into a story investigating a double homicide right from the very beginning, you’ll be hard-pressed to drag yourself away. The narrative was captivating, and expanded almost into a treatise on cult-worship, long before the likes of Scientology had entered mainstream consciousness.

The level of interactivity was staggering, too. You could pick up or interact with almost anything that you could see, as long as it wasn’t obvious scenery, or too big to move. Your party would need feeding and would prompt you to do so -- and the food would be exactly what you would expect, and in exactly the place you’d expect it. You’d get beef from cows, make bread from flour and find fruit in orchards. If you drank too much, you’d be sick. If you came across a grim scene, certain party members would announce their queasiness. It seems silly, but little touches like this added to the realism of the world, and are surprisingly overlooked today.

So great was its influence on the modern CRPG, that Ultima VII is continually cited as one of the best examples of the genre. Certainly, many of the elements that it contained have long since been improved upon -- not least, the inventory, which Original Sin unfortunately emulated. Yet its branching dialog trees, intriguing quests and almost limitless scope for exploration still put the majority of today’s adventures to shame.

Neverwinter Nights 2 

The original Neverwinter Nights was a great game, but served mainly as a showcase for the development tools available to build a realistic D&D campaign. For lone players, it offered a fairly unoriginal RPG experience, though not without BioWare’s usual charm.

The sequel’s reins were handed to Obsidian, who promptly assigned Chris Avellone (amongst others) to develop the story. What felt like a ponderous start soon gave way to an imaginative tale, backed solidly by a faithful representation of the 3.5 Edition ruleset. 

, controllable party members -- conspicuously absent from NWN -- were added, and the interface was given a severe facelift. In fact, almost every aspect of the original game was improved upon, aside from the inventory system which did its best to frustrate. 

Multiplayer and the editing tools were included in the overhaul, and offered a depth of creative flexibility that has rarely been bettered today. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of hours of content here for anyone who wants to put in the time to create a campaign for their friends to play through. 

Yet, it’s the single-player campaign’s worldbuilding that draws you into Neverwinter Nights 2. There is political intrigue aplenty, mysticism and betrayals, and a sense of a palpable, living city. Your companions will respond to your actions, further cementing the game’s D&D backbone. Annoy them too much and you’ll potentially lose them, or have them turn on you. Like the best RPGs, choices which seem black-and-white are rarely so, and your ascension to hero status doesn’t feel forced. 

In fact, we’d go so far as to say that in terms of improving on the original, Neverwinter Nights 2 ranks as one of the best RPG sequels that we’ve ever seen -- well, except for the next entry in the list.

Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn 

Even by today’s impressive standards, Baldur’s Gate II towers above almost every other CRPG on the market. The first game (almost twenty years old!) was tremendous fun, encapsulating the D&D ruleset in a thoroughly entertaining manner. It kickstarted the genre from stagnation, and was responsible for the creation of the Infinity Engine which went on to be used in classics such as Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale series. 

But it’s with Shadows of Amn that BioWare really got to grips with their new technology. The graphics were improved immensely thanks to a bump in resolution, and the city of Athkatla became a sprawling hub of menace and wonder. Each area had oodles of side-quests, taking you to elaborate mansions, creepy mausoleums and booze-soaked taverns. Suspicion and menace lurked from every shadowy corner. Combined with the ambient music, it evoked a Middle Eastern atmosphere, albeit one with giants, dragons and a thieves’ guild. 

Players of the first game could import their party, although the introduction to Shadows of Amn brutally dispatches a couple of the first game’s characters in a shocking plot point right from the start. Thankfully, one of them was not Minsc, since the fan-favorite berserker and his giant miniature space hamster were a notable highlight. 

Where the sequel shined was in the detail. Sure, there may have been a few fetch quests, but most of the tasks you were given were both interesting and took you to exotic locations as you hunted murderers and investigated vampiric attacks. Additionally, you were often asked to take sides with no inkling of which the “right” choice was. In most cases, there wasn’t one. You had to go with your gut, and hang the consequences -- the true essence of role-playing. 

That BioWare could sustain this level of storytelling for so long is extraordinary -- in some cases, people clocked in over 200 hours. But the fact that you never got tired of discovering new areas, solving new riddles, obtaining wondrous new items or uncovering new plots? That was the real achievement. To date, we can’t think of another CRPG that kept dragging us back for more in the same addictive manner as Baldur’s Gate II.

And in some respects, we’re grateful for that. 

We have lives, you know.


So sure, there are still five excruciating weeks until Torment: Tides of Numenera hits all of our respective desktops, but these CRPGs are bound to have one thing or another that will scratch that RPG itch until then. It never (ever) hurts to try something old to experience something new. 

What other expansive CRPGs do you love to play? Is one of your favorites one of those mentioned here? Let's us know in the comments below -- we'd love to hear what you've got to say! 

Can Torment: Tides of Numenera Ever Be a Worthy Successor to Planescape: Torment? Fri, 13 Jan 2017 07:00:01 -0500 Rob Kershaw

Full disclosure to begin with: Planescape: Torment is my all-time favorite game. Invariably, it's also the one that when I'm asked by friends to name the title that tops my list receives blank looks and the occasional "huh?"

It's not surprising. The 1999 role-playing masterpiece (yes, I believe the superlative is absolutely warranted) bombed financially. Less than half a million units were shifted, despite it picking up a slew of accolades. Many gamers didn't know what to make of it, since it turned traditional role-playing on its head. Your character not only couldn't permanently die, but his death was necessary to advance the plot. The combat took a back seat to the story, and the text-heavy aspect of the game would certainly have put many off. The word count was over 800,000 or, to put it into perspective, just under twice as many words as A Storm of Swords, the biggest book in George R. R. Martin's epic series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Yet, Planescape: Torment developed something of a cult following in subsequent years. Players looked for something a bit more cerebral following Icewind Dale's dungeon-fest, and came back to Black Isle Studios' game to see what the fuss was about. Like me, the ones that understood what designers Chris Avellone and Colin McComb were trying to achieve made an effort to spread the word. To this day, I find myself taking every opportunity to promote this overlooked classic to anyone who will listen.

Despite its later success, I didn't think it would ever get a sequel. It was esoteric, massively involved, and far too financially unsuccessful to justify a return to the world of Sigil. But then Kickstarter happened. inXile Entertainment (including writer Colin McComb), were riding a wave of success off the back of Wasteland 2. A sequel to Planescape: Torment was pitched, and although the studio was unable to acquire the Planescape licence and Sigil was off the table they shifted the setting to Monte Cook's world of Numenera. A spiritual successor was born.

Can It Succeed?

Torment: Tides of Numenera took a mere six hours to fully fund on Kickstarter, and then broke records before hitting almost five times its monetary goal. Aside from two of the original designers, a staggering array of talent is on board, including many of the crew that worked on the first game. Much of the music is being handled by Planescape: Torment's Mark Morgan. And it's all headed up by Brian Fargo, who also oversaw a few games you may have heard of: The Bard's TaleFallout, Fallout 2 and Baldur's Gate.

So, on paper, the game has all the makings of an instant hit. Kickstarter removed publisher interference, and let the team ask the fans and let's face it, the game wouldn't exist without them what they most wanted to see in a sequel. The stretch goals speak for themselves.

But what looks good on paper might not manifest itself in the game that I want to play. If it is going to be a true successor, it's got to come out swinging. Every aspect has to click, each line of dialog has to contribute to the game world, and all of the playable characters need to be special.

What Can Change The Nature Of A Game?

In Planescape: Torment you played The Nameless One, an immortal who awakens on a mortuary slab. Each time you died, you returned to that slab to start over, but at the cost of another's life. Your entire quest was to discover what caused your immortality, and how to resolve it. The game threw philosophical questions at the player throughout their journey, and from a personal perspective it challenged me to think not only about the events that lead to The Nameless One's fate, but my actual life goals. There was some pretty deep philosophizing littered amongst the story choices, and given the new game is being marketed as a "philosophical role-playing game," there's plenty for me to be excited about.

In Torment: Tides of Numenera you will play the Last Castoff, one of the remaining avatars that was used and discarded by a man who acquired the ability to cheat death. By moving his consciousness to a new host, he became known as The Changing God, and moved through the ages. As he left each successive Castoff in search of a new body, a fresh consciousness imbued the shell he abandoned, resulting in dozens of Castoffs scattered across the lands. When The Changing God's bitter enemy the Angel of Entropy awakens with the intent of destroying him, you and the rest of the Castoffs are targets for the Angel's wrath.

It's intriguing, but the immortal body-hopping narrative draws from a number of tropes that have been around for decades. What is more important is how these tropes are used, and it's here that Tides of Numenera could stamp its claim as a worthy follow-up. The titular Tides refer to concepts such as Justice, Passion, Insight and Fame, all of which could be skewed towards either good or evil.

The focus this time around is the impact that you have on the game. Your interactions with the denizens of the world will dictate the path your character takes. For instance, Insight may mean being able to recognize how to help someone, but refusing to do so and pleading ignorance. Justice could refer to holding someone to account lawfully, or wreaking your own type of vengeance upon them.

Alongside the Tides are the relics known as the Numenera, left behind by ancient beings. These are what allowed The Changing God to continue living beyond his time, and they are scattered throughout the world. They can be used for good or ill, but regardless of how they are utilized, every action will count towards your legacy.

This is perhaps the most exciting prospect of the game for me. Planescape: Torment offered a host of individual stories, but you were ultimately headed towards a fixed goal -- discovering your true nature. Tides of Numenera is being released under the guidance of people with collective decades of experience in writing, let alone story-branching. If the scope of the potential choices and outcomes is to be believed, then the replayability factor is going to be off the chart.

What Does One Character Matter?

I was spoiled by Planescape: Torment, to the point where playable companions in recent RPGs have simply not measured up. Don't misunderstand me, I loved Pillars of Eternity. But almost two years on I'm struggling to recall a single party character, other than that shouty guy with a staff who liked setting things on fire. Tyranny's cast were even less memorable.

Yet, two decades later after only two playthroughs of Planescape: Torment I can still recall Morte, Fall-From-Grace, Annah, Ignus... The reason? They were not only interesting but well writtenMorte was a sleazy floating skull who could literally swear people to death. Ignus was a levitating man made from fire. Fall-From-Grace was an emotion succubus. All of them had their motivations and arcs. All of them left their mark on me.

Will Tides of Numenera do the same? Possibly. The line-up includes an oracle who speaks through the vessel of a broken-minded man, a priest who can attack people with living tattoos, and a multi-dimensional magician, trapped in time. All of them will need something from you... and all of them can be used for your own selfish ends if you wish. If their personalities are imbued with the same attention to detail as that of their predecessors, then we could be looking at something very special.

"No Wonder My Back Hurts; There's A Damn Novel Written On It"

I enjoy reading, which is just as well since Tides of Numenera's word count is going to trump Planescape: Torment by over 200,000 words. Yep, it looks like there will be over a million words of text crammed into the game. Given the density of the first game's prose is one of the reasons for its underachievement in the market, is an even bigger game likely to impact sales?

You have to factor in a couple of points when considering this.

Firstly, no-one was expecting Planescape: Torment. It came out of left field, dazzled us with its reams of text (some may consider it "verbiage", I call it "world building"), perplexed traditional RPG gamers with its comparatively light focus on combat, then disappeared. This time around, we know exactly what to expect. In fact, fans have demanded more. Kickstarter means that there's no publisher interference, and the team can work to deliver the game that they not only know fans want, but which they themselves want to play. The story and the characters are the key to that process.

Secondly, you won't be exposed to a million words of text on your playthrough. It's unlikely you'll ever read everything that's been written for the game. Conversational branches are so packed with choices, responses and outcomes that it would likely require you to go through the game hundreds of times, trying out every conceivable party configuration, attempting every possible iteration of any given quest, and keeping track of each individual result. There's a reason that the development team had to lock down individual areas in the game, and create a monumental piece of dialogue-tracking software to keep on top of it all.

"Sense Of Closure Imminent"

Like many gamers, I had my doubts about Tides of Numenera. Some still linger. Have the team tried to cram so many ideas into the game to make Something Meaningful that it comes at the cost of the overall product? Will the mooted area lockdowns which Colin McComb has discussed give the game more of a staccato feel? How will the combat work? Most importantly, will the endings not only truly reflect the choices you make, but be as equally meaningful?

These question won't truly be answered for another few weeks, but the more gameplay videos inXile release, the more confident I am that Tides of Numenera is going to be a success. The locales look otherworldly and beautiful; their inhabitants are bizarre and unique. It's taken 18 years, but I'm quietly optimistic that there may finally be the possibility of playing the successor I've been hoping for.

Do you think Torment: Tides of Numenera will be a worthy successor to Planescape: Torment? Are you excited for its release, or do you think it'll never meet expectations? Let me know in the comments!

The State of RPGs in 2016 Sun, 20 Nov 2016 09:34:36 -0500 Serhii Patskan

Last year was huge for the RPG scene with such releases as The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. The year of 2016, on the other hand, has really only one AAA title worth talking about -- but there are plenty of smaller games that kept the fans of the genre glued to their computers.

There also have also been some solid expansions for some of 2015's titles coming out this year and just as many remastered versions of even older cult classics. What's more, the future of RPG gaming looks super exciting, as there are some huge releases coming up at the end of the year and the first half of 2017.

So it looks like there is much territory that needs to be covered here, and without any further ado, let’s begin the analysis.

The Biggest RPG Releases of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Dark Souls 3

Undoubtedly, the best and the biggest RPG game of the year is Dark Souls 3 -- the last installment in a series of games that enriched the genre with precise mechanics, multifaceted progression system and hardcore bosses. And all this was encapsulated in a world of ever-growing gloom and doom.

Undoubtedly, the best and the biggest RPG game of the year is Dark Souls 3.

From Software is not scared to pull out a series of games that has no clear story and that makes new players run away from their PCs or consoles after a few miserable deaths. You can't do anything but respect such a developer in the current state of the gaming industry. Hopefully, Hidetaka Miyazaki and co. will deliver some more goodness in the future, albeit perhaps not in the Souls series.

Deus Ex: Mankind Evolved

Another game worth mentioning here is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The game has delivered exactly what it promised and there is really nothing to complain about. It builds upon every aspect of its predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and adds greater scale, more freedom, infinitely interesting quests, weapons, stealth mechanics, and of course, better graphics.

The Technomancer

But before we move on, there is one more AAA title that cannot be ignored -- The Technomancer. It wasn’t received too well by the community, and understandably so. It was presented as a grandiose AAA project -- with the corresponding price tag too! -- but the final result was mediocre at best. Spiders Studios tried really hard this time, but the game just didn’t do it  for many gamers, either in terms of story and gameplay or graphics and animation.

The Remastered RPG Releases of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Skyrim: Special Edition

Talking about graphics -- here are some of the finest remasters of the year. This section must be launched with a discussion on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition, which has been both praised and cursed by fans, with many critics saying the game doesn’t need a remastered version on PC and that it already has tons of cosmetic mods available for free.

However, console players have been more than happy to lay their hands on this gem. And to be honest, Bethesda planned this version mostly as a present for owners of current-gen consoles, anyway. 

JRPGs to the Remastered Rescue

A few classic JRPGs, such as Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and Disgaea, have also been remastered and ported to PC for the rest of the world this year, with the latter having significantly improved textures and UI.

On top of that, all Final Fantasy fans could once again experience Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on their computers. The FF port was released on May 12, and finally implemented an auto-save feature, five game boosters, three parameter changes and the option to skip FMVs and Cinematics.

The Biggest RPG Sequels of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Final Fantasy XV

It took ten years for Square Enix to deliver one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of gaming -- Final Fantasy XV. Finally, on Nov. 29, Final Fantasy XV will be available worldwide. (However, some gamers have reported that it is already possible to find a copy in a few countries of the world, such as Peru. So beware of spoilers!)

Up to this point, Final Fantasy XV has had many different reactions, some of which have mentioned that it will ruin the franchise once and for all, while others have actually put some faith into it

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Although technically not a sequel, the “Blood and Wine” DLC for The Witcher 3 can easily be called a sequel because of its scope, secrets, quests and new NPCs, some of which are arguably the most diverse and interesting in the series. More than that, the developers have updated the game's UI and skill tree system. 

The Banner Saga 2

If you haven’t played the original Banner Saga from 2014 -- a small indie project started by the three former BioWare developers -- then you should halt before playing its sequel, Banner Saga 2, as they are tightly interconnected. The first game has already become a classic and the only thing that needs to be done is to finish the third one in the series – which will close the grand trilogy of the Vikings’ adventures.

Baldur's Gate -- Siege of Dragonspear

Last but not least, we have to mention the brand new expansion for Baldur's Gate -- Siege of Dragonspear. It unveils the mysteries behind the fight with Sarevok and the escape from the Irenicus Dungeon from the very first Baldur's Gate, released in 1998.

Siege of Dragonspear is a sort of bridge between the first two games, which is a really cool way of serving the old fans of the series, but completely confusing the new ones, thus evoking lots of unnecessary negative comments from the community -- that could’ve been easily avoided. Hopefully, the developers from BeamDog will try to redeem themselves next time with a completely new story that will satisfy both new and old players.

The Best Indie RPGs of 2016

RPGs of 2016


Many people have treated Tyranny from Obsidian Entertainment as an intermediate game that would fill the gap between Pillars of Eternity and Pillars of Eternity 2. However, little did they know that it turned out to be a truly great game. As a result, we now have an original title that allows you to turn to evil means in order to finish the campaign successfully It's refreshing to not have to save the world for the millionth time! 

Grim Dawn -- A Kickstarter Success Story

Early this year we could experience the results of another Kickstarter project success story -- Grim Dawn,  a game that clearly nods to the times of Diablo 2 and pays all respects to it. The classical RPG gameplay is supported by large locations full of secrets and dangerous traps. Give it a go and you will thank us later.

Darkest Dungeon

2016 has been a fantastic year for the RPG scene, and the future seems to be just as bright as ever.

No mention of Darkest Dungeon yet? Yes, of course, we couldn’t forget about this little masterpiece – a game with a perfectly dark atmosphere and visual style. The game is full of unexpected events and the gameplay is at times so hardcore that you can't but gasp in frustration. Darkest Dungeon is a unique product on the market, so if you never had the chance to play it -- now is the time.

Stardew Valley

But enough with the dark and broody games -- let’s talk about Stardew Valley instead. Imagine that this little farming simulator with RPG elements competed against such giants like The Division and XCOM 2. But two months later, the game had over a million sales on Steam, which is mind-boggling for an indie project that had been developed by one person -- Eric Barone. Stardew Valley definitely has the bright future with all the upcoming updates and fan-made modifications.

Looking Ahead: The Future of the RPG Genre

RPGs of 2016

Mass Effect: Adromeda & Horizon: Zero Dawn

Two big games are currently nominated for the most anticipated RPGs of the year at The Game Awards 2016 -- Mass Effect: Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Let's look at Mass Effect first, undoubtedly the most recognizable brand here, since the other title is a brand new IP from the developers of the Killzone series.

Those who had the chance to play Mass Effect: Andromeda say that it is the best game in the series. That’s a pretty bold statement, but it probably would be wise not to jump aboard the hype train too soon, and instead just wait for another 4-5 months before the game is officially out.

But what about Horizon: Zero Dawn? This game is totally new territory for Guerilla Games. The developers have stated that they always wanted to make a game in an open world, but they never considered it as an RPG title. However, after a long period of testing, it turned out that all their ideas worked best exactly within the action RPG genre, and that’s what we all should expect from this new title… oh, and giant dinosaur robots, too.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

What other RPG games can’t do, Divinity: Original Sin 2 can. It’s the game that is proclaimed to be “the last hope of the RPG genre,” which may be a bit of an overstatement, but nevertheless, Larian Studios showed that they can do no wrong after the release of the first Original Sin. The newest installment of the franchise introduces a brand new co-op system, which sounds awesome, but the developers also promise a lot will return from the original, so there’s a lot to be expected here.

RPGs of 2016

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

South Park: The Fractured but Whole keeps getting delayed over and over again, and now the game that was originally planned for 2016, will only be released Spring 2017. Trey Parker and Matt Stone said that the new combat system developed for the sequel was inspired mostly by classic table-top role-playing games. Also, they said it will let you play as a girl character from now on, which is a really neat addition that, to be honest, should have been available in the first game, too.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Another highly anticipated RPG that keeps suffering from the constant delays is Kingdom Come: Deliverance -- it will be available Summer 2017. The developers promise 30 hours of gameplay for the main campaign, and an extra 100 hours for the rest of the side quests.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Lastly, the long-awaited Kickstarter project Torment: Tides of Numenera should be delivered early next year. The first mission of the game has been available at Steam Early Access since January 2016, and currently, the developers are adding a few final touches to it and some more quests, as well.


2016 has been a fantastic year for the RPG scene, and the future seems to be just as bright as ever, showing that indie games can be just as good AAA titles. And apart from single-player RPGs, next year will be full of excellent massively-multiplayer releases, too, so don’t miss on those.

The only thing left is to find out what other projects we can expect from Hidetaka Miyazaki -- the definitive king of the RPG gaming. If one of them is going to be at least half as good as the Dark Souls series, then it will prove that he is a true master of his craft.

Other than that, let us know what RPG releases should have been mentioned in this article, and what games do you expect to see in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

EGX 2016: Interview with Colin McComb, the Mind Behind Torment: Tides of Numenera Thu, 13 Oct 2016 05:55:18 -0400 ESpalding

While I was at EGX 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham, UK, I got the opportunity to speak to Colin McComb, one of the minds behind the long-awaited RPG game Torment: Tides of Numenera. This upcoming game is the spiritual successor to the award-winning Planescape: Torment that released way back in 1999. Currently in development by inXile Entertainment, Tides of Numenera was crowdfunded on Kickstarter and reached its funding goal after just six hours of the campaign starting!

It went on to set the record for the highest-funded video game on the Kickstarter platform, with over $4 million pledged. Now, the campaign is currently at over $5 million (as shown on the official website). The game's release date has been pushed back due to development issues, but it is nearly ready for release, and there are swathes of fans excited to see it.

I sat down to have a chat to Colin about the game and the meaning behind the game's tagline: 'What does one life matter?'

ESpalding: Hello Colin. Many thanks for talking with to me today. Could you start with introducing Torment: Tides of Numenera to the GameSkinny readers?

Colin McComb: "Sure. What we are is a single player, story driven, science fiction RPG set on Earth, billions of years in the future. We are trying to create a thematic successor to Planescape Torment which asks what can change the nature of a man, and we are trying to explore the question "What does one life matter?". So, questions of legacy, loss, abandonment and mystery."

ES: That's an interesting area to look into. Where does the "what does one life matter" question come from? Is it drawn from personal experiences?

CM: "A little bit, yeah. Now that I am older than I was when I was working on Planescape: Torment, I wanted to explore a little bit more the nature of mortality and about the marks we leave on life.

As one gets older, the question of your impending death becomes more pressing, I guess, and you need to figure out what this life is for, but there's also other questions too. What does it matter if I kill Joe [Colin's RP Rep] here? Does his life matter? Its a question of the emphasis. What does ONE life matter?

If I give my life so that I can save everyone here from a terrorist attack or something, or if I am willing to sacrifice a child to save the World, for instance. What does one life matter? There's so many different ways to ask and answer the question that we felt it was open ended enough to give us enough latitude to create a strong game."

ES: Ok. So that's pretty deep. I suppose it is quite an open ended question. I would be lying if I said that I haven't had thoughts along those lines.

On to the game itself, it's written by Monte Cook?

CM - "No. The Numenera campaign setting is written by Monte Cook but the actual game is written by...well we had a whole bunch of writers. We wound up with a core team of about 4 or 5 but we started off with about 10. So the core is me, Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, Adam Heine, George Ziets, Mark Yohalem, Nathan Long. That's the people who were extensively involved."

ES: So, how did you end up picking up Cook's Numenera setting?

CM - "Monte and I have been friends for more than 2 decades now. We worked together at TSR. We worked a lot on the Planescape campaign setting after Zeb Cook wrote it and then left for his computer game stuff. Monte and I picked up the mantle. So we kept in touch over the years and he invited me to be an alpha play tester for the Numenera campaign setting. I had a lot of fun playing that and then when Brian Fargo asked me if I would be interested in writing a new Torment game I was like "I've got just the setting!". It was just the perfect conflicts of timing."

ES: Who do think it is going to appeal to the most? Will it be the fans of Planescape: Torment or have you been trying to direct it at a new audience?

CM: "Our primary goal was to make a game our backers would find entertaining. We took it to Kickstarter and about 80,000 people said "this is the game we want". So because they were the ones who funded us and believed in us from the start -- as opposed to going out and getting, like, EA to sign us or something -- we are making the game for them.

People who are excited about the revival of infinity style engine games or people who were fans of Planescape: Torment or people who wanted to be fans of Planescape: Torment but weren't around when it first came out. We're basically hoping that just about anybody will pick it up, but it is primarily for our backers."

ES: What has been your favorite aspect of working on the game?

CM: "I would say working with the team. I have had such a good time with all these guys. They are extraordinarily creative, professional and giving. Nobody on the team has an ego. Everyone just wants to make this the best possible thing we can make it. I have had an incredible education watching George Zeits do his area design, for instance. Adam and I have been working on this from the very start. Gavin and I have laughed every day over IM. Having the opportunity to build this story from the beginning and shape it all the way through. There are so many good things about is really hard to say."

ES: And in the same vein, what is the favorite aspect of the game itself?

CM: "Probably the Castoffs' Labyrinth. Its a shared psychic mindspace essentially constructed in your mind and it's where you go when you die if you haven't died altogether. You are essentially exploring it and then rebuilding aspects of yourself based on what you find there. I've always been really into that kind of thing. That was a lot of fun. I think my interest in this was shaped extensively by Blue Oyster Cults song "Veteran of the Psychic Wars".

ES: Oh nice! I love Blue Oyster Cult myself!

CM - There is a whole area in the game based on that song. It is called the Fifth Eye.

ES: That sounds really interesting! I look forward to exploring that area!

I'd like to thank Colin for taking the time to chat with me about his upcoming game. For more info about it, you can check out our experience with Tides of Numenera at PAX West earlier this year. I look forward to seeing more about Torment: Tides of Numenera -- and especially getting to play it when it finally releases.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is currently on Steam Early Access and is expected to be enter general release at some point in Q1 of 2017. Make sure you check back with us to find out the latest news as the game gets closer to launch!

5 PAX West Demos that Kept Me Coming Back for More Tue, 06 Sep 2016 11:38:26 -0400 Auverin Morrow


All in all, there were some great demos at PAX. And this year, it seems like non-AAA devs are coming out on top. While there were certainly some big-name demos that lived up to our expectations, a lot of them were underwhelming (I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy XV). 


From South Park's gutter humor to Torment's impeccable world-building, I'm stoked to see these 5 games drop throughout Q4 of this year and Q1 of 2017. 


What were your favorite demos at this year's PAX West? Let me know in the comments below! And stay tuned for our countdown of the best indie games from this year's showcase. 


Torment: Tides of Numenera


This upcoming isometric RPG is the thematic successor to the 1999 title Planescape: Torment. Boasting veteran talent like Creative Lead Colin McComb (Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2, Wasteland 2) and Lead Area Designer George Ziets (Neverwinter Nights 2, Dungeon Siege 3, Fallout New Vegas), Torment: Tides of Numenera hooked me instantly. 


Set nearly a billion years in the future, Torment meshes rich fantasy with cyberpunk, sci-fi, and visceral Lovecraftian horror elements. The writing and general aesthetic brought to mind one of my favorite authors, William Gibson (Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive). The world you play in spans several galaxies, and ventures into the labyrinth of your own broken psyche. The story will take you many places -- from the mind if a dying artificial intelligence into the depths of a colossal organic being, where you venture around inside its veins. 


While everyone else is getting hype for Divinity: Original Sin II, I'll be counting down the days until Torment: Tides of Numenera releases on PC and consoles early next year. Another Planescape game has been many years in the making, and from what I've seen of this successor, it was definitely worth the wait.


Death Squared

SMG Studio

You might be doing a double-take and wondering why the heck an indie puzzler game is on this list. But Death Squared is by far some of the most fun I had playing a demo at PAX this year. 


This co-op puzzler, which is vaguely reminiscent of Portal, is designed for a seemingly lost aspect of gaming -- LAN or couch co-op. Death Squared is a multiplayer game with no online multiplayer involved, which sounds like a bad idea. Until you actually play it. The game is designed to get people talking, as conversation is key to successfully completing the puzzles. 


During the PAX demo, I grabbed a few random passers-by to hop into a 4-person game with me. And after the initial awkwardness of playing with total strangers passed, we were having a blast. A few puzzles in, we were laughing together, cracking jokes, and chatting about strategies like any couch-sitting friends would. And that's pretty freakin' cool. 


Death Squared looks to be a great game for friends, families, couples, or anyone who likes a good challenge and pure fun. Of all the games I played at PAX, this is the one I came back to more than once. 



Hi-Rez Studios

From the studio that brought us SMITE comes this objective-based fantasy FPS. Paladins has been in closed beta for a while, and will soon open its arena to the public for lots of run-and-gun fun.


With the same sense of humor that makes SMITE such a blast to play, Paladins totally hooked me on its demo. What separates it from games like Overwatch or other squad-based shooters is its card-based character loadouts. Players build decks to customize their characters however they want -- whether that means focusing on cooldown reduction, buffing certain abilities, or general power-ups for that character.


Between each round of the match, players can further customize their characters with burn cards that offer further buffs and perks for that round. These burn cards reset after each round, so you have even more options for adapting to the enemy team's playstyle.


It's a dynamic mechanic that adds more customization than is standard for shooters of this type. And loads of fun to boot. Even though I hardly ever play FPS games, I see myself sinking a lot of time into Paladins during the open beta. 


Shadow Warrior 2

Flying Wild Hog

This demo had chainsaw swords, magical spikes, and a giant wang. What more could you ask for?


Although I never played the original 1997 Shadow Warrior or the 2013 reboot of the same name, Shadow Warrior 2 looks like tons of fun. The demo, which was showcasing some late-game content and a new zone, was not just nice to look at, but hella fun to play.


Even though I'm not a dedicated (or even very good) FPS player, I had a blast with Shadow Warrior 2. With a wide variety of weapons -- from katanas to cyber-shotguns -- and a world that meshes fantasy and cyberpunk environments, there was lots to love here.


South Park: The Fractured But Whole


Okay, okay. Some AAA demos were pretty awesome. (They couldn't all be bad, could they?) And the Fractured But Whole demo was a hilarious preview of the upcoming sequel to Stick of Truth.  


Picking up 4 days after the end of the previous game, Fractured But Whole seems to have all the raunchy South Park humor you know and love in full force. But there are some added little features to take the game's absurdity to the next level -- like analog pooping. You can use both sticks and your triggers to bring a whole new meaning to the term "toilet humor". 


It's all the vulgar fun you could hope for from a South Park sequel game, and I can't wait to see the finished product when Fractured But Whole drops on December 16th of this year. 


Like any good gaming convention, PAX West was packed with awesome demos. From AAA to indies, developers were bringing their best to the show floor over the course of the weekend. 


Resident Evil 7: Biohazard had a massive walkthrough installment with a line that never fell below full capacity. ARK: Survival Evolved came with giant climbable dinosaurs, while Rock Band Rivals had a full stage with fans playing their favorite songs from the upcoming tracks. But a great gimmick does not necessarily a great demo make. And the demos that stood out the most are not the ones you might expect. 


Here are the 5 game previews that I just couldn't get out of my head, even after leaving the show floor.

Torment: Tides of Numenera Coming to Consoles Thu, 11 Aug 2016 06:38:03 -0400 Ashley Erickson

nXile Entertainment and Techland Publishing have announced that their science-fantasy cRPG Torment: Tides of Numenera will be released simultaneously on Playstation 4 and Xbox One in early 2017. Funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the indie game was originally only slated for PC release. However, inXile and Techland worked behind the scenes to also include a console release.

As the player, you will be journeying across the Ninth World, a place where morality is much more complicated than just right and wrong. Choices you make along your journey change the narrative, offering a philosophical experience. Battle various enemies using stealth, social interaction, and environmental puzzles. Wielding magic and using new and unpredictable items, there are many ways you can complete your journey.

The console versions are going to be showcased at Gamescom 2016. There will not only be public viewings, but press will have access to never-before-seen-gameplay at a special demonstration. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.


What does Mighty No. 9's flop mean for the future of crowd funding? Mon, 27 Jun 2016 07:57:12 -0400 Ty Arthur

As crowd funding has gone from an eccentric oddity no one believed would work to a commonplace household name in the gaming industry, there has been a string of failures that led many to prophesy the death of sites like Kickstarter, IndieGogo, GoFundMe, etc.

While that's probably a premature (and incorrect) prediction, there's no doubt that some gaming fanatics are thinking twice before donating to a campaign these days, due to titles either arriving in less-than-polished states... or not arriving at all.

Moderately OK No. 9

The latest high-profile flop has been the Mega Man spiritual successor Mighty No. 9, which consistently made headlines over the last few years with a slew of delays and poor marketing decisions that had backers hopping mad.

Now that the game is actually out (well, for some – more delays await Xbox 360 players), the reviews are tanking, with backers not feeling all the money or the wait was worth the end result. As of this writing, Mighty No. 9 has “mixed” Steam reviews, with 443 positive and 429 negative. Metacritic gives it a 50/100 – as badly average as you can get.

 Insert sad trombone sound here

That's got to hurt for the developers, especially considering how long the development process dragged on and how much fan money they took. The game started with a goal of $900,00 and made a whopping $3,845,170 from Kickstarter, with over $4 million actually raised including PayPal donations. How does a $4 million dollar game end up so lack luster?

Crowd Funding – A Mixed Bag

There are plenty of other crowd funded games to look to for comparisons to see where they went wrong.

Pillars of Eternity, for instance, had a similar funding goal ($1,100,000), a similar built-in fan base wanting a return to a classic style, and made a similar amount of money ($3,986,929). It even had a delay, originally being estimated for a 2014 release and actually coming in March of 2015.

Despite all those similarities, the difference in reception and fan feedback is like night and day. Pillars easily made the top mentions in our look at the state of RPGs in 2015 and was voted best game of the year by several staff members here at GameSkinny.

Now to be fair, there was a bit of a backlash and a minor “scandal” over a fan-generated grave marking that had a less-than-classy joke on it, but overall, we can call PoE a success.

 Woo-hoo, it didn't suck!

Of course Pillars and No 9. are in completely different genres, even if they had so much else in common -- so perhaps its not fair to compare them, especially considering the long and storied history Obsidian Entertainment has in game development.

Unfortunately, the problem only gets worse when you compare apples to apples, as there are retro platform games that have incredibly solid gameplay and didn't make nearly as much in crowd funding (or in some cases, weren't even crowd funded at all).

Shovel Knight, for instance, made a paltry $300,000 – 10X less than Mighty No. 9 – and has overwhelmingly positive reviews, currently sitting at 5,700 positive and 200 negative on Steam.

Clearly the issue isn't with the funding medium itself, but rather with what is being done with those funds once they are acquired.

 You've got every reason to be proud Shovel Knight!

Retro Kickstarter Flops – And A Glimmer Of Hope

We can't lay all the criticism on No. 9's doorstep however – there have been other reboots to attempt similar retro revolutions that failed to truly stoke a fire within gamers.

Project Scissors (released as NightCry) is another crowd funded title that benefited strongly from the tug of nostalgia, convincing fans of the early Clocktower games to fork over cash for a return to what they loved about the original titles.

In the end, nearly all of them hated what was eventually released. Even the positive reviews frequently bring up the terrible bugs, clunky controls, and unsatisfying endings.

Sometimes nostalgia lies to us!

Where did all this go so wrong, and will the Kickstarter bubble burst soon?

There were a slew of buzz-worthy Kickstarter campaigns promising old school goodness for lovers of all things early gaming that hit their goals in the past few years.

Some of them arrived to rejoicing backers and generally positive reviews – like Shadowrun Returns, which used its success to release followup Dragonfall without crowd funding at all, and is notable for building up and improving each iteration of the franchise up through the Kickstarted Hong Kong entry.

 You can't really go wrong with ghoul ronin and post-human riggers

Others took their share of knocks though, and perhaps took advantage of crowd funding in questionable ways. Wasteland 2 soared to $3 million in contributions, suffered delays, and then arrived to mixed reviews with a very buggy second half.

Before developer InXile had even released that crowd funded game; however, they returned to the Kickstarter well another time to get even more money for Torment: Tides Of Numenera.

It was a strategy that worked – what fan of classic RPGs wasn't going to take part in a sequel to Planescape: Torment? - racking in more than $4 million. Of course the timetable for a relatively small developer working on multiple big projects led to just as many delays as Mighty No. 9 ever had.

When Torment made its crowd funding goal in 2013, I made a comment on Facebook about how the late 2014 release date was unrealistic and we wouldn't be playing this game until 2017 at the earliest. I've never received so many negative replies from angry fan boys in all my life -- yet here we are, and the game has officially been delayed until 2017.

 More text-heavy weirdness is coming... sometime.

Planescape and Numenera fans are taking it better than Mega Man devotees did with Mighty No. 9, but there's still a good deal of grumbling... and easily some backers who are going to think twice next time before believing an InXile release schedule.

Sadly, InXile didn't learn from that lesson and again crowd funded a next project before the previous one was done, only netting $1.5 million on the next go around for The Bard's Tale 4 – less than half what was earned on the previous two games.

The delay problems inherent to crowd funding can get even worse when coupled with the dreaded “Early Access” phenomena. At this point, I expect the post-apocalpytic After Reset to release sometime after Star Citizen in the year 2082. Developer Richard Nixon's robotic manservants will probably have to complete the game a few generations from now after they develop sentience.

Fortunately, it's not all gloom and doom on the retro gaming front.

There are currently-running or recently-completed Kickstarters that promise a return to form and an old school experience, as well as realistic expectations and a lack of feature creep from stretch goals.

Most notably, Lovecraft and Heroes Of Might Magic fans should be looking out for Stygian: Reign Of The Old Ones, while lovers of all things isometric and cyberpunk have Copper Dreams to look forward to soon.

What Can Developers (And Backers) Learn From This Mess?

Managing expectations and handling delays openly and honestly with fans are absolute musts if crowd funding is going to keep on chugging along.

The huge amount of features that were pitched to potential backers for Mighty No. 9, along with the wide range of platforms the game was developed on, unquestionably led to the frustrating delays that didn't need to happen – or at least didn't need to be handled so poorly.

Marketing, keeping fans apprised of changes, and a clear idea of what the end product is going to actually look like are other areas where No. 9 flopped hard.

The game's launch trailer is trying to edge out Infinite Warfare for most dislikes for a variety of reasons, one of which was the line “Make the bad guys cry like an anime fan on prom night.” Personally, I laughed. All the anime fans who lacked a date for prom night didn't.

That silly slogan wasn't the biggest offender though: the lack of graphical polish was the real problem.

As many have pointed out, the evaluation test engine test, which was used to pull in backers for the Kickstarter campaign, actually looks better than the finished product in some ways.

Pulling an Alien: Colonial Marines switcheroo is never a good idea if you want to keep the fans from revolting.

There's a strong lesson to be learned here in setting realistic goals and not overselling what can be delivered in a timely manner in hopes of gaining more capital from fans. That's the heart of the matter, as unlike with other business partnerships, fans who back a crowd funding campaign really have no say in what happens next.

When a crowd funded project goes bad, there's nothing for backers to do and no way to recoup losses. Kickstarter isn't Walmart, or even GameStop. It's right there in black and white when you back a project – it may not be released, and you may never get your money back, just like with a real investment where you have a financial stake.

This is something Star Citizen fans are learning the hard way, when the developers recently changed the terms of service so you can't get a refund unless the game doesn't come out by the end of 2018.

Duke Nukem Forever... In Space!

How Does All This Affect Crowd Funding?

After what went down with the highly-anticipated Mighty No. 9, I suspect gamers will be a little more selective in the future -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Not every crowd funding campaign deserves to hit its goal, and not every team is prepared to actually take their concept to stable release on schedule.

On the whole though, there have been enough pleasing releases and even extraordinary successes that crowd funding doesn't seem in any danger of going away. At the very worst, what we are seeing is a culling of those who can't deliver as promised, and fans will in the future primarily back developers who already have a strong track record.

While that perhaps goes against the spirit of crowd funding (since the whole point is to give money to people with strong ideas and no existing capital), it's certainly not the worst fate Kickstarter could suffer.

There's also reason to believe hope in the system may soon be restored, if the upcoming Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which resurrects Castlevania in the same way Mighty No. 9 was aiming to resurrect Mega Man, manages to have a smoother release.

Please actually look like this...

What do you think of the Mighty No. 9 debacle, and has it changed your opinion of crowd funding video games?

Torment: Tides of Numenara is Delayed, Backers get Beta Access Sun, 12 Jun 2016 10:10:26 -0400 Kevin S. Behan

Sorry Planescape: Torment fans, the spiritual successor Torment: Tides of Numenara is being pushed back. While originally they planned to release roughly November 2016, now the new window is early 2017.

In their update for the game's Kickstarter, Brian Fargo states that he wants to give the localization team more time to touch on the game. This way all users can equally enjoy the experience. The game has roughly 1,000,000 words, whereas your standard novel has roughly 50,000. It's going to take a while to get through all of them and make sure it's as polished as possible for all users of all supported languages. This will also give additional time to their art/programming teams to work on the game.

While this is unfortunate if you didn't back the project, it doesn't look like there are going to be delays after this one. If you are a Kickstarter backer though you get to play the beta now. Technically the game is fully complete as they're just waiting on the aforementioned elements before releasing it to the public, so there's little worry of content being added later that will force you to replay the game. Check out the bottom of the Kickstarter update for more details. 

February crowd funding report: successes, failures, frustrating delays, and long-awaited releases Tue, 16 Feb 2016 01:03:30 -0500 Ty Arthur

For studios big and small, turning to the fans directly is fast becoming one of the go-to methods for raising the capital necessary to fund a game's development cycle.

Cutting out the publishers and going straight to the people with a passion for any given genre, there have been some incredibly satisfying games arriving digitally thanks to the crowd-funding phenomena. Each month, we'll be looking at both the most promising new video game funding campaigns, as well as checking in on previously funded games to see how development is coming along.

We've got a lot to cover this month, both in devastating failures and incredibly exciting successes, along with some updates on long-awaited games finally arriving in either full or early access versions.

An Update From Last Month

If you missed it, you can check out our report on the best of crowd funding from January here. Some of those games reached or exceeded their desired goals (and we can't wait to play them down the line!), while unfortunately others fell short or cut their losses and canceled the campaigns.

One of those promising campaigns we covered last month was scrapped early, with Hero's Song being pulled when it was clear the 2D project wouldn't get anywhere near its high goal of $800,000.

That's always a chance when dealing with limited time frames where the right fans might not hear the word immediately or have money at that particular point to contribute. There's still hope for Hero's Song though, as the game is in the process of securing funding from more traditional means. We'll keep you updated on how this one goes in the coming months.

The VR-focused horror title Ghost Theory has only 4 days left and is almost certainly going to fail to reach its goal. While that's disappointing, as VR horror games need a strong boost to get going and pick up momentum, Ghost Theory has made it onto Steam Greenlight, so we might still see it one day anyway.

Also likely to come up shy of the sought-after dollar amount, Consortium: The Tower is only a third of the way to its $309,000 goal. That's a bit of a surprise, considering the previous title in the series was successfully funded on Kickstarter. It's always possible Interdimensional Games will re-launch a new campaign down the line at a smaller amount.

But enough of the failures. How about the titles that convinced gamers to fork over their hard earned cash?

I'm very pleased to report that both the old school RPG Project Resurgence and the chemistry-based education game ChemCaper were both successfully funded. The Final Fantasy Tactics inspired Children of Zodiarcs didn't just hit its goal, but zoomed way, way past it with a serious vote of confidence from the backers.

Fans of Arckanum and Pillars Of Eternity will want to try this one

New Video Game Crowd Funding Campaigns

Knights And Bikes

Contribute to the campaign here

Platforms: PC / PS4

Bringing to mind the adorable style of Costume Quest but with a more serious slant on the story front, this indie title from Foamsword Games caused some buzz recently when it hit the Facebook trending bar.

The team has been involved with titles like Little Big Planet and Ratchet And Clank, so there's talent there involved with this type of game already, lending some credibility to the request for $142,000 via Kickstarter.

References to Earthbound and Secret Of Mana in the campaign pitch definitely piqued my interest immediately, especially with the same screen co-op option, which took me back to many a late Saturday night going through Secret Of Mana with friends as a kid.

Battalion 1944

Contribute to the campaign here

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, and PS4

With Call Of Duty heading into the future rather than the past in recent installments, it falls on other developers to give us more WWII shooters.

Focusing on the mode FPS fans tend stick to most frequently, Batallion 1944 is multiplayer-only and won't even bother with the single player campaign. While that's a definite entry in the “con” column for me, I know I'm in the minority there.

Visually, the style on display in the pre-alpha footage is very appealing, striking a nice balance between bright environments that catch the eye and more realistic elements that will appeal to fans of Squad. A serious eye to detail on real-world locations is also on display.

The focus here looks like it will land on close-quarters combat with a visceral feel, and clearly gamers want more WWII action in this vein, because Battalion 1944 is already over twice its funding goal.

A Place For The Unwilling

Contribute to the campaign here

Platforms: PC

Described as “Sunless Sea meets Majora's Mask in a living city,” this intriguing little title features a very interesting colored pencil art style that's well outside the norm. Between the concept and artistic flair, this is one we want to see funded -- but not overfunded, since the developers have promised to summon Cthulhu if they hit $150,000.

A constantly running time cycle that works against you brings to mind Don't Starve, and A Place For The Unwilling promises to bring out dark themes and a different approach than normal, turning an urban landscape into the basis of the gameplay.

This is a game set to be all about the immersion, throwing you into a fully fleshed out city and having you undertake seemingly mundane tasks while learning about your fellow citizens and uncovering the story. We have a feeling what's found beneath the surface will be worth the effort.

Newly Released Early Access Titles

Two highly-anticipated games  that spent extended periods of time in early access, are now landing.

Although early access is slightly different from straight crowd funding, the end result is similar, offering a trickle of money all the way through release rather than a bulk set amount at the beginning.

Darkest Dungeon

Get it here

Platforms: PC, with PS4 coming soon

Many of us at GameSkinny have been absolutely loving this infuriatingly hard 2D RPG masterpiece, and we've got a ton of guides up to help you navigate insanity, disease, and worse.

Focusing on one singular concept where style strongly meets substance, this Lovecraftian dark fantasy title shows how a strong idea and a supportive fanbase can overcome all odds and result in an excellent end product.

Feedback straight from the fans during the long early access process obviously paid off, as there's currently just under 11,000 positive reviews on Steam.

Layers of Fear

Get it here

Platforms: PC

After an extended time in early access, this horror offering officially drops tomorrow (February 16th), and you better believe we'll be covering this one extensively since Layers Of Fear was named one of our most anticipated horror games of the year.

While the reviews from major gaming publications have been mixed to middling, those involved with early access have clearly been pleased, with overwhelmingly positive reviews so far. If you've played, be sure to let us know how you think it stacks up against recent horror giants like Outlast or Soma!

Updates On Previously Funded Projects

Torment Tides Of Numenera

Get early access here

Platforms: PC

Combining both a traditional crowdfunding campaign and now an early access period for fans to beta test the game, Tides Of Numenera has a lot to prove as the successor to the mighty Planescape: Torment.

Some Kickstarter backers have been less than thrilled that people who are late to the party can now get in on the gameplay early through Steam, but as far as I'm concerned, the more testing that goes into this thing before the final release, the better.

What's most exciting here is the feedback that's been coming out. While obviously there's still much to be done in terms of optimization, most reports so far have spoken of excellent characters, story, and an iconic art style to match the original game. InXile might just pull this off and give us a worthy successor to Planescape: Torment after all.

While there's no official drop date yet (and we are way beyond the original estimated release period listed on Kickstarter), it's a foregone conclusion this crowd funded game will actually see release when its ready. Expect it to drop late 2016 / early 2017.

Mighty No. 9

Get updates on the project here

Platforms: PC / Xbox consoles / PS consoles / Wii U / Vita / 3DS

This MegaMan influenced title was recently delayed for a third time, and backers are starting to revolt. Unfortunately, that's a gamble you take with crowdfunding – you aren't guaranteed to get your game when promised, or even get it at all.

Crowdfunded games frequently don't arrive at their original estimated release (just see Torment above, which was projected for a December 2014 release in its Kickstarter campaign), and there's a clear lesson to be learned here by the developers.

When people are giving you money before your product is done, you need to properly manage expectations and provide realistic development times, two issues that are rapidly derailing Mighty No. 9. It's good that updates owning up to problems are coming, but it's entirely unclear when or if this game will finally see full release.

Shenmue 3

Get updates on the project here

Platforms: PC and PS4

This long-anticipated sequel in the Shenmue series is undoubtedly counted among the biggest crowd funding successes, making a jaw dropping $6 million from fans!

There haven't been a ton of updates, but the developer does usually drop at least one new post a month regarding new coverage and the progress of the game.

There's not much info to report at this point, as the game is expected to be in development all of both this and next year, slated for a release in December of 2017. Hopefully some more concrete info starts to leak soon, but at this point it seems the game is on track and has a realistic release date.


Get updates on the project here

Platforms: PC

Also named one of our most anticipated horror titles of the year, work continues on this game with some truly unique elements. The frequent developer updates are a very good sign of the project's health, and 11 minutes of new gameplay footage recently came online. There's no finalized release date, but all indicators are that the game should drop this year without any significant delays.

Check back next month for another look at the most promising crowd funding campaigns and updates on past successful campaigns!

The state of RPGs in 2015 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:31:16 -0500 Ty Arthur

We've reached the end of another year, and it's time to take stock of what's come to pass and what's on the horizon in the world of role playing games. Although several of the biggest names didn't get sequels, 2015 was still a stellar year overall for RPGs – so long as you knew where to look. The best entries frequently weren't the AAA titles.

Recapping a full year's worth of games is a difficult proposition, and its made more challenging when considering just where the boundaries of the genre really sit. Unlike some genres, like first person shooters, RPGs cover a much wider range of play styles and tend to tweak their formulas more often. Take the reboot of King's Quest, for instance -- it might be primarily an adventure game, but there's a compelling argument there that it also lands in RPG territory, especially considering the series' history.

Things get more complicated when you thrown in strategy games. Are Blackguards 2, Sorcerer King, and Age Of Wonders III out of the running entirely, or are they RPGs that happen to use turned-based or real-time strategy as their core mechanic? Let's not forget Bloodborne, which is more an action game than an RPG, but seems to lean into role-playing through its setting and character stats.

RPG, or turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting?

Where to draw the line is an interesting topic on it's own, but for our purposes we're going to stick primarily to titles that are solidly RPGs in the classic sense of the term, with only a few forays into gray territory.

The Biggest RPG Disappointments Of 2015

In a full year's worth of releases there will always be duds, but thankfully this year was filled mostly with worthy entries that are genuinely worth playing. In fact, one of the major letdowns was simply a release that didn't appear when it was originally projected to land. Persona 5 was sadly pushed back (we really should be playing that right now), but is slated to drop in the summer of 2016.

The biggest RPG disappointment of the year took a classic role playing formula and dumbed it down into a hack-and-slash click fest with only minor DM tools: Sword Coast Legends.

D&D has been missing from the single player or co-op arena for a long time, and it's return wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination. Garnering mixed reviews at steam and a metacritic score of 61, its clear this isn't Baldur's Gate. Hell, this isn't even Neverwinter Nights.

This is not the 5th edition game you are looking for

The Biggest RPG Releases Of 2015

Welcome home indeed! After years of delays and waiting in silence with no official info dropping until the 11th hour, the biggest RPG of the year (and probably most anticipated game of any genre) arrived in November. There were tweaks to the formula that make it possible to play the game more like a shooter, but Fallout 4 still remains pretty solidly in RPG territory.

Between the settlement building, weapon and armor crafting, side quests, and main story, you could easily sink hundreds of hours into the post apocalyptic wasteland. Granted, there are problems – graphical glitches and bugs abound this close to launch, as is expected from Bethesda at this point – but the Metacritic score of 84 speaks of a game that is remaining competitive even if there were disappointments.

Welcome Home Vault Dweller!

Continuing to bring in heaps of praise and with a whopping 92 metacritic score, The Witcher 3 is the surprise hit of the year. It's been a wild ride for this series, going from a niche PC RPG by a little-known European developer to a huge phenomena that reaches its crescendo in the third installment. The graphics are fabulous, the gameplay is solid, and a steady stream of DLC keeps massively expanding the game so you never have to stop playing.

There's also something to be said about the Witcher series giving us what Bioware's RPG romances have typically been too afraid to provide: actual sex scenes with *gasp* nipples and everything! What has got me most hot and bothered about The Witcher 3 though is what comes next – with this title finally released, CD Projekt Red can finish Cyberpunk 2077!

Classic Gameplay And Crowd Funding In 2015

It can't be overstated: crowd funding has changed the gaming landscape. We're getting a sequel to Planescape: Torment next year, and that's entirely due to crowd funding. Publishers and middle men are getting cut out entirely, and the consumers are putting their money into the projects they actually want to get made.

As it turns out, quite a bit of what RPG fans want involves returning to classic gameplay, as was clearly shown with Pillars of Eternity. While some were disappointed in the end product, it's the vast majority loved seeing the Infinity Engine games get a modern day overhaul, because this title sits at a solid 89 metacritic score. Honestly I couldn't have been more happy when I first booted up Pillars: it was somehow 1998 all over again and I was kid spending a silly amount of time exploring every last inch of Baldur's Gate once more.

Obsidian took us back to a classic era with this one

More importantly, the game brought me back to the oddity of Planescape: Torment's companions. The banter between Durance – a priest who hates his goddess – and Eder – whose god was killed by Durance - are imminently enjoyable. And that's just the beginning. The unexpected themes of atheism versus faith were a welcome change to the typical RPG storyline, and there were much more mature themes than what you'd typically see (due in no small part to cutting out D&D and Wizards of the Coast, who don't want anything even remotely close to passing a PG-13 rating).

There were some complex morality issues to be found in there as well, with unexpected consequences for your actions. I particularly enjoyed how siding against the evil tyrant could result in everyone in the area being slaughtered by undead, while helping to subjugate the peasants actually led to peace and harmony down the road.

On the heels of Pillars came another classic reinterpretation of an old school gem: Shadowrun Hong Kong was just dripping with atmosphere and upped the ante from the already stellar Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Starting out as an Asian cop movie with two siblings on opposite sides of the law, this third iteration in Harebrained Scheme's adaptions of the classic pen-and-paper RPG goes some crazy places. It all gets grounded back in reality at the end though, as your world-saving anti-heroes are reminded that if people can survive the resurgence of magic and dragon attacks, then they wouldn't mind one particular town getting taken over by an evil demon goddess.

Harebrained Schemes will be quite busy for the next couple of years after successfully kickstarting a Battletech game. But honestly, these guys need to do an Earthdawn RPG one day. That's the one FASA pen-and-paper title to never get its just due in the PC realm.

Where man meets magic and machine: and Asian cops and demon gods

While Pillars and Shadowrun were the most visible old school games, there were plenty more than went under the radar and are worth investigating -- like the early access UnderRail, which continues in the style of the original Fallout games. If you dig party-based, isometric RPGs, you will want to take a gander at Serpent In The Staglands. For those who like lots of dialog and turn-based gameplay, don't forget that The Age Of Decadence just dropped back in October.

Earlier Games Updated With New Formats In 2015

It wasn't just entirely new games that generated buzz this year, as plenty of games – both old and relatively recent – got facelifts and saw new editions land in 2015. Two of the biggest came to games created through the power of crowd funding. Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin (two very different takes on the RPG genre) were both overhauled and re-released in updated versions, with graphical improvements and plenty of gameplay tweaks that changed them to the point of nearly being new games.

Previous owners got the new version for free to boot!

The Final Fantasy series has always lagged behind in terms of PC releases, with consoles getting all the love and the PC master race only getting occasional scraps years after the fact. One of those scraps finally arrived in 2015 ,as the 3D version of Final Fantasy 4: The After Years landed on Steam, letting anyone without a Wii get to experience the direct follow-up to the classic Final Fantasy 4 story.

Beyond just PC or console, the Final Fantasy series likes to toy with North American fans and give Japanese players all the love first. The 2011 title Final Fantasy Type-0 just arrived on North American consoles back in May and on Steam later in the summer. The wait may have been too long though, as reviews are definitely mixed, with a metacritic score of 72 for this HD rendition of the aging game.

Better late than never?

Not to be left out, the much loved creature-raising series Monster Hunter saw a late North American release in 2015, as Monster Hunter 4 arrived in its “Ultimate Edition” for the 3DS early in the year (after being out in Japan since 2013). Handheld fans are clearly digging this one despite the length of time they were required to wait, as reviews are mostly positive and hover around 86%.

The Many RPG Sequels Of 2015

Outside the big name titles, returns to classic gameplay, and re-releases of old games, 2015 was a year heavy on sequels when it came to RPGs. One that's had everyone waiting with baited breath lands this week at the tail end of the year, with a new entry in the Xeno series arriving to prop up the struggling Wii U. There really aren't that many RPGs at all for that particular console, so the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles X stateside is a breath of fresh air for anyone in need of a role playing fix.

The dungeon crawling crowd got not only two sequels in one, but also a surprise crossover on the 3DS in April when Etrian Mystery Dungeon launched. Make sure to stock up on healing items if you plan on delving into ever-deeper levels of dungeoneering in this one, because the addition of rogue-like elements makes it a lot more unforgiving!

The anime-based Sword Art Online: Lost Song also launched this year, taking the series to a different game world and putting a heavier focus on both action combat and hardcore level grinding. Another grinder that show how very different two RPGs can be is Disagea 5, where Sony let gamers play as the bad guys and put them in control of a demon army that seems more focused on slapstick humor than damning any souls.

Who said demon princes can't be comedians?

Significantly beating out Disagea in the longevity department, the Tales franchise got a new entry as the year is closing out with Tales of Zestiria, which again mixes 3D action combat with classic RPG gameplay. As usual this entry is a mixed bag, featuring a lackluster story and humor that sometimes works and sometimes falls flat, but if you liked any of the previous Tales games, this one will keep you hooked on the combat.

The Forecast for 2016

While 2015 was a solid balance of old school charm and slick, next generation games, the coming year is currently slanting more towards the bigger releases with hyper polished effects. Final Fantasy XV will of course dominate, although it remains to be seen if SquareEnix is ready to actually recover from the fiasco that was the FF13 and its spin offs and deliver something worth playing in the single player department again.

Titles in the Mass Effect and Deus Ex franchises will keep sci-fi roleplayers covered, along with Technomancer, an upcoming game set on Mars that is looking very interesting indeed. 

Just because the big name developers and AAA titles are on the rise next year doesn't mean you should discount the indie titles or throwbacks to an earlier generation of RPGs though! There's not a PC RPG fan around who isn't waiting with baited breath to see if Torment: Tides Of Numenera can live up to the hype of its predecessor, while Project Setsuna sees Square Enix returning to its roots and focusing on its strengths with a SNES style offering.

In a move no one expected, there's also an actual Baldur's Gate title coming, as Beamdog studio gives us an expansion/sequel using the exact same engine and assets titled Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear.

Get ready for this one to get weird!

Want a full list of what's coming soon you should be saving your money for? Check out our complete look at the most anticipated RPGs of 2016 here, as well as our examination of the coming year's MMOs, which feature more than a few RPGs in their ranks.

What did you think of the RPG offerings throughout 2015, and what were your favorite games/biggest disappointments? Share with us in the comments!