The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 1: Help Me, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Help Me, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

The game opens with this, proving that they met their 1.2 million dollar kickstarter goal to allow you to play a woman. With girly parts!

Naturally I ignore this and click "Male".

This is probably bad, but set to a dull clinical tone by the narrator's use of passive voice.

: Your first emotion is an involuntary and formless panic. You feel you have forgotten something - something important, as if it once meant the world to you... but the details slip away as you grasp at them.

Describing supposedly traumatic events in clinical tones is really a good way to make the reader get involved.

We don't actually know what we look like, though we know we're male. However, as it gets revealed in this update I don't feel bad about doing this.

: Look around.

: A white-pink, fleshy cocoon surrounds you. Even as you look, a minor rent in its side tears open, and the howling wind forces its way inside.

: Dive toward the ground.

Maybe if we go faster we can actually play the game.

: Keep diving-the faster the better!

Oops. Look, we're slowing!

What fucking veils? It's the empty air, in atmosphere, that we are going down through! Also, we died.

LP over! That's all folks!

Let's try this again.

: Flatten out to catch the wind.

: Instinctively you spread your arms and legs, and they respond sluggishly. You stop tumbling head over heels. Though you are still spinning laterally, that motion has calmed as well, and you have space to assess your situation and perhaps to understand the predicament - and the body - in which you find yourself.

: Try to remember what happened.

: It''s hazy. You were in a tall passageway, its side slicked with dew, the air warm and moist, as if you were caught in the breath of a giant organism. You remember fleeing in fear and exhilaration, laughing through the terror. What was it that pursued you?

Oh god, a proper noun!

: Try to stop the fall one last time.

: You're still plummeting. If it's any consolation, the dizzying fall will be over shortly.

Thank you, random wizard man!

Actual gameplay! Yes, this is the mandatory tutorial dungeon that game devs never seem to put a damn skip function in. Well, you can suffer with me! Let's click on the bowl.

Ignoring the disconnected hunger -> reflection metaphor, we get to see our character for the first time. The little numbers in circles are his Might, Speed, and Intellect pools (we'll get there) and he has full health.

: Examine the bowl.

Not pictured: any of that shit on the bowl. There is light dripping from the ceiling I fail to capture. Anyway, let's click the [Might] option.

: [Might]Carefully move the bowl beneath the liquid.

Blah blah blah. Anyway, periodically the game throws these challenges at you where you can spend energy from the three pools - Might, Speed, and Intellect - to raise your odds of success on a skill challenge such as the above. I burn two points of Might here to succeed in moving the bowl.

: A clear radiance spills across the segmented floor, washing away the nearest shadows, and pouring into your mind, melting the ragged edges of your fragmented thoughts. You are not whole - not yet - but you have begun to heal from the damage done in your long fall.

: A voice calls out from somewhere high above, beyond the reaches of the spreading light.

The floor actually shifts up here in a neat effect I don't catch in my screenshots.

Click the light!

: As soon as you touch the orb, a memory floods your mind...

Astute readers might figure out that this is the game's way of generating a preset character for you.

: This is taking too long. Cast a spell - an esotery - to fix the device yourself.

See this isn't really magic its science Arthur C Clarke worldbuilding blah.

: Use a device to stop them - one of the cyphers in your belt.

As far as I can tell cyphers are scrolls from Dungeons and Dragons that are vaguely technologically flavored.

: You run urgent fingers over the devices fastened to your waist, a fog rising in your mind. A few can be used against the guards, but will also turn your skin to synthsteel, or the surrounding water to boiling wax. Hardly ideal.

: Finally, you find a small silver sphere. Setting the sphere in place, you kick desperately for the safety of a nearby alcove.

: The sphere whirls and unfolds into a spiraling vortex. The sphere at its center speaks a few polite words in an ancient language, then begins draining the surrounding water into itself with alarming speed. The approaching guards shout, then scream as they, too, are sucked into the whirlpool and ripped to pieces.

: You allow yourself a fleeting smile, but are all too aware that more alarms are going off in the distance.

: The memory begins to fade, as if you were being drawn backward through a tunnel, and you hear more pylons rising from the pit.

: Something is wrong. The events within the orb have settled into that gap in your mind, but the edges of it are rough, as though the memory itself is not truly yours.

: There's something else - a gust of sour air pulling at you, like a predator inhaling the scent of its prey at the far end of a dark, whispering field. not the metaphor I would have used. It literally and figuratively sucks.

We are thus granted another light to click on.

: Use your charm to persuade her of the merits of the site, and to remind her of the time constraints.

: She waits for your affirmation, and says "All right, I'm convinced." The two of you sketch your plans for the sanctuary, drawing schematics and architectural diagrams. Then you descend onto the plateau to examine the open ground.

A schematic is short for "schematic diagram" Jesus Christ.

: Look for a deeper solution - perhaps it's an effect of the metallic disk itself.

: A mist falls onto the plateau as you wrap a fiber shielding mesh around the construct's skill. The mesh powers up, protecting the construct's mind from any transdimensional emissions that might be in the area. Taking a deep breath, you repeat your command.

: "ACKNOWLEDGED." It obediently trundles to the site of your new shelter.

This is probably bad.

Fortunately we are distracted by this clicky.

This is a surprisingly tame description of bloodlust. "As if your destruction were demanded of them" by whom? Isn't it demanded already because they are coming at the city to kill? Why is there an if?

: Duck under the giant's swing and attack before he can strike.

: You roll under the blurring arc of his axe. He's overconfident, testing you without committing to the attack.

: Yes, he's fast, but not as fast as you are... and when he raises the great axe above his head to finish you, you're able to bury your blade under his breastplate. The blade emerges from the back of his neck and his life's blood washes over your hands. He falls, taking your weapon with him, and his companion attacks!

Never let it be said that the Last Castoff doesn't know how to show a lady a good time.

: Charge through them, counting on your defenses to protect you.

: You charge through the dim shadows and burst through the doorway, ramming into the nearest soldier. He falls, and you rebound nimbly off him only to take a direct hit from his companion's blade. The impact launches you down the hall, just as you'd hoped, though the blows[sic] makes your ears ring.

: You come to your feet and race on, ignoring the mild ache in your chest. Projectiles skip and spark off the walls around you, and you barely feel the single, desperate bolt that deflects off your reinforced backplate.

Wonder what that mirror does?

: Point at the doppelganger with the mystical symbol on its brow.

...but they all have "intricate pentagonal tattoos" on their heads?

Anyway, the other choice just traps us in the Pylon Zone until we go back to the mirror.

The second option just traps us in a But Thou Must loop, so...

: "Yes, That is who I am."

This is the game's way of telling you to play a mage, sorry, a nano. The descriptor is a little trait that gets tagged for roleplaying purposes, but is actually just a min-maxer thing. Sorry! I call them like I see them!

: The mirror fades, leaving a dark, open doorway. You take a deep breath and step through.


We have a few choices here. The ones I want you guys to focus on are class and descriptor. We have the choice of three different classes:

Glaive: It's a fighter from Dungeons and Dragons. They can train in weapons unlike the other two classes.

Jack: It's a D&D thief. You get more skills and maybe some other stuff?

Nano: You are a wizard, but you don't really use magic except you do because the writers of this game don't realize sci-fi and fantasy get thrown in the same corner of the bookstore for a reason. See above.

Where things get more interesting are the descriptors. These are all roleplaying tags that have distinct bonuses and penalties, meaning that it really just serves to give you bonuses while you try to match the penalties to things you wouldn't ordinarily do.

Naturally I'm not listing that shit to make this playthrough more entertaining. Our options are:

Cautious, Charming, Clever, Graceful, Intelligent, Learned, Mechanical, Mystical, Observant, Rugged, Slick, Strong-willed, Swift.

Decisions Lie Before Us!

I need a vote on what kind of character to create. You can pick gender (male or female), class, and descriptor.

Choose wisely, goons! We're stuck with this Castoff for the rest of the game.