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The Technomancer is a sci-fi action Role Playing Game (RPG) developed by Spiders and published by Focus Home Interactive.  The game was released on June 28th, 2016.

Set on Mars, a war is going on called the War of Water.  Water is becoming increasingly rare on Mars and factions are fighting over it.  You play as a Technomancer, a person with electrical abilities.  You are sent out to perform different tasks for multiple factions and work towards helping the war effort in many different ways.

The game starts off with you customising your character, and it looks great at this point.  But once you are finished, and you get to move around, you are immediately hit with a badly lip-synced conversation and some clunky movement.  The movement isn’t fluid like in other games, such as The Witcher.  If you just tap forward, your character will jerk ahead a few steps and stop like a robot.  The lip syncing on the conversations is pretty bad, as you try to watch their mouths all you are seeing is a pair of lips smacking together in a vain attempt to even look like the person is actually saying what they’re saying.  Thankfully the actual dialogue and voice acting is pretty good, nothing to write home about, but a saving grace in amongst poorly executed mouth to dialogue syncing.

Being a Technomancer, you utilise a certain amount of electrical powers and attacks to give you the edge in combat.  You are given a few powers, such as the electric fist and electric arcs.  These powers, however, feel rather lacking compared to a good smack from your weapon, especially if you power it up with electricity.  To cast any kind of spell, you use fluid, which is basically the same as mana.  You have two sections of fluid to start off with, which spells use one of each time.  You can choose to power up your weapon with electricity, making them more powerful, this, however, has a maintain cost of one fluid section.  This is best to do, as powering up your melee attacks is going to do far more in combat than attacking with your weak spells, at least at the start.

Levelling your spells doesn’t really do too much other than utility benefits, such as disrupting or arcing to others, there are a few damage upgrades but they are pretty inconsiderable.  The combat wants to make you think it is intricate and has a lot of choice to it, but after a good few hours in, you realise you’ve just been doing the same thing over and over in combat.  Dodge, disrupt, attack, over and over.  It works, though, and can be rather challenging at times.  You could say something about how you can swap between your three different stances, but if you spend time sinking points into more than one, then you won’t be any good at any of them, and probably wouldn’t get very far in combat.  The three stances allow you to use different weapons and fighting styles, mace and shield for defensive and targeted strikes, a staff for wide attacks and battle control, and a small blade and pistol for quick attacks and quick shots.  Each one does give a rather different way of fighting, granted, but again it is recommended to only choose one to level or else you will fall too far behind.

The Technomancer has a karma system to it.  When you defeat a group of enemies, they aren’t actually dead, just knocked out.  You can choose, however, to drain them of their Serum, which is used as currency.  This will kill them, though, so you need to decide if you want to travel down a righteous path or one full of death.  You can, however, drain any creatures you come across, this doesn’t affect the karma system and if you level up in your crafting tree you can also start to skin them for resources.  There are also dialogue choices and other choices in the game which affect this karma system and your companions’ feelings towards you.  Oh yeah, there are companions in this game.  But you might forget that as they really don’t feel very impactful, even in combat.  They are more used as a distraction for some of the enemies while you pick off the ones targeting you instead.  You can choose to give them equipment to make them better, which honestly does not feel like it helps.  With the companions, equipment, dialogue and karma choices, it feels as if this game is trying to emulate a Mass Effect feel here, but has done it poorly.

The huge saving grace for this game is the story and setting.  The sci-fi setting on Mars works really well, although for the first few hours of the game you may actually forget you are on Mars, as you only travel to a few different districts of the city, such as caves, slums and the military district.  Depending on how much of a fan of science fiction and role-playing games you are, it may actually be enough to keep you playing this game.  The story is rather complex as well, as you play you find out more and more about the history of Mars, the war and its many factions.

Verdict

The Technomancer is out on PC for AUD $60 and on PS4 and XB1 for AUD $90.  Please do not think that we are saying this game is awful, it isn’t.  It just isn’t good.  There are so many good points to this game such as the science fiction settings, the story and the lore.  It creates a believable sci-fi world which you want to continue playing in.  Unfortunately, though, due to the clumsy movement, lacking combat and poor character interactions you may decide it isn’t worth the hassle.  Because of this, the game only receives a 5.5/10.

You can see the launch trailer for The Technomancer here.

The Technomancer

5.5

Pros

  • Unique world and setting
  • Interesting story

Cons

  • Clunky movement
  • Lacklustre combat
  • Poor character interactions