Torment: Big cities, small peeves

One very common CRPG design, especially over the past 20 years, is to pretty much dump the player into a huge city near to the start of the game and have them quest about in there for a long, long time until finally leaving. I suppose that this is to allow players to explore their immediate surrounds, getting a feel for the world, and enjoying some freedom of quest non-linearity. However, I am not a fan.

Torment is reminding me of this. At the start of the game, you start out in the city of Sagus Cliffs, which is spread over a half-dozen or so locales. I’ve been doing the typical CRPG strategy, which is to examine everything, talk to everyone, and pick up every quest I can. Once I fully explore the town, then I start checking off quests one by one until they’re all done, my character is buffed up, and I’m ready for the open world.

As I said, I am not a great fan of this format. FFXIV actually featured it, which is somewhat of a rarity among MMOs, and that first few hours where I was doing nothing more than running back and forth and back and forth across a city tried my patience. Big cities in RPGs are not a draw for me; I want to be out exploring the wilds and going on a mission with noticeable momentum.

Anyway, I’m counseling myself to be patient. It helps that there are many gripping stories and areas, from a bar full of ex-soldiers from a psychic war to a sweet refugee who gets brutally murdered, and I’m starting to get a better understanding of this alien-like setting. There is a lot of puzzle solving, a lot of details picked up from context, and a LOT of reading. I really wish that the text interface was always on the screen, because the game uses text all the time and having the game constantly pause for the text screen to animate its way up and down really slows things.

Probably one of my favorite activities so far in the game was paying some sort of bizarre surgeon money to perform all sorts of painful and experimental procedures on me. It was money well-spent, because I ended up with a few useful abilities (such as being able to heal myself once a day).

I found out that there aren’t a lot of companions in the game… I think only 5 or 6 that you can recruit out of a party of four (including your main character). So far I have a very flashy Zapp Brannigan-like character and a girl with holes in her memory. I’m working on convincing an assassin to come to my side too, and when that happens, my tale will be complete.

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