The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 48: This Game is A Joke

This Game is A Joke

Last time on Tides of Numenera, we got far enough into the endgame to realize that nothing we did mattered and that this story is not going to have a satisfying conclusion. I'll be straight with you now, this entire endgame sequence is what turned this from a cautiously pessimistic blind LP to a hate LP. It shows no respect for the player or the themes that it is supposedly addressing. Strap in!

Last time we totally ignored the dramatic confrontation of the Endless Battle to sneak past the big glowing door to the end of the game. Unfortunately we have a lot more bullshit to do before we can actually confront the Changing God and the Sorrow.

This is the penultimate room before the final boss sequence. Strap in. It's almost over. You won't have to read about characters frowning unhappily or trolleys or Tides soon enough.

The Changing God: You are an accident! I won't deny the advantages your awareness provides, but do not deign to suggest we are anything like equals.

: The First's thoughts are jumbled and confused. Her mind is in a loop, reliving the same moments over and over again.

Oh, I see she has had the misfortune to play this game's many trolley sidequests.

: What are you doing here?

: "Oh, Maralel." His tone is patronizing. "Have you come to tell me about the followers you've gained? Come to implore me to change my mind? Did you think to threaten me?"


: I can't stand by while you withhold the power for us to rejuvenate ourselves.

: How do I get out of here?

: How do I get out of here? Talking to you is pointless.

: He shrugs and smiles. "You know the way out as well as I do, Maralel. You can leave at any time."

: Stop arguing. This isn't real.

: You have a daughter.

: How will you finish what you started?

: [Raises Blue Tide] My body is in the Bloom. This is all an illusion, and I won't be part of it anymore.

: [Raises Gold Tide] Your last castoff believes in what I'm doing. I no longer need your approval.

: I said what I thought was the truth.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this shit posted:

: Why don't you love me, daddy? I just want to create my own castoffs like you!

: You're not my daughter! My real daughter is dead, and you are not her.

: Maralel, snap out of it, he sucks and you don't need his approval. It's all a weird hallucination anyway.

: Why did you save me?

: It was the truth. Our sire is kind of an asshole, I should know.

: This doesn't mean I like you or anything, b-baka!

This just confirms that the First Castoff and the Changing God are two sides of the same coin. If anything the First Castoff is a lesser copy, as she changes her appearance with a magic mask while the Changing God changes his appearance by creating new bodies. This would be an excellent commentary on the Endless Battle if the Endless Battle actually killed anyone ever, as it is it's just two petty egotistical assholes, one of whom can't take rejection.

As a result of all the trolley sidequests and grinding we did, we get the Last Castoff up to Tier 6. We get an achievement for hitting the highest level possible in the game. I grab Mind Control because why not? We're never going to fight again, and we can already pass any check with reloading.

That is a Changing-God brand stasis chamber. You might recognize it from the crystal cave where we talked to the Oracle Crystal AIs that the Changing God harvested for the crystal to build the resonance chamber.

The game immediately trolls us by having the sci-fi bridges collapse.

Fortunately the Changing God or whoever left some control panels we can Tidal Surge to do this waste of time puzzle. How do I know this is a waste of time?

By this point you're either really invested in the half-assed story, in which case you would like to know what's going on, or you're as sick of the game as I am but obligated to finish it for the internet.

After enough mashing the buttons to generate bridges we eventually unlock the humanoid button. This summons the alternate gender form of the Last Castoff.

There's a bunch of chatter about how the Changing God liked cloning his future bodies for brief periods of time so he'd have someone to talk to and could pick his new appearance and blah blah blah, but his real use?

Running down the bridge to push the button to change the bridge and exploding in a puddle of gore. No, you can't put your party members at the control panel and have them push the button. Having them makes it worse, because you have to click Clone-of-You (his actual in-game name) while he's buried under the pile of party members who will trigger their dialogue if you click on them.

When you see this you know you're almost done. Just use the Tides and nothing happens.

Oh, yeah, every time you want to change the bridge you have to go through the dialog tree, you can't just right-click him or something. Goddamn, shut up game!

After enough arbitrary time wasting fuckery we finally make it to the stasis pod.

: Something disturbs the air next to you. The ghostly woman's face begins to appear, as though your thoughts summoned her.

This is a complete surprise unless you did the probability engine sidequest.

Ghostly Woman: He was the father who tried to save me after the siege of the Tabaht. He discovered how to transfer consciousness - my consciousness - into a new body, hoping it would save me, but it didn't. My sickness followed me, in my mind. So he put me in there.

So at the end of the day the Changing God actually kinda saved his daughter, or at least built her an afterlife.

: Does this mean you're a castoff?

: How often has he tried to bring you back?

: How much do you remember from being in that tank?

This is the terrible last secret of the Changing God - at the end of the day, he only really cared about himself at the end.

: Does that mean this fathom is constructed from your memories?

: I need to get to that portal. Can you find me a path?

She repairs the bridges for us.

: If you have the power to heal the floors...would you have the power to heal me as well?

This fades to black and we get a full heal.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I destroyed the bridge so you have to waste even more time in here! Ha ha ha!

: Aww, dammit! What's this button do?

: Hey, I'm a short lived clone of you our sire made to talk to, what's up?

: Can you run over to the switch over there and flip it before exploding, repeatedly?

: Sounds good. Wheeeeeee!

: Oh, you're going to solve my puzzle? Eat some pointless dialog boxes about a psychic attack!

: Fuck off! Finally, made it to the stasis pod!

: Hey, it's me, the daughter of the Changing God! I remember everything! My father learned all his wacky consciousness transfer science to bring me back to life, but nothing worked! He tried and tried but it all failed as I kept my illness from whatever the Tahabt did. Anyway, he just kinda...stopped caring and abandoned me to the Sorrow! You've got to stop him! He's gone nuts! Also, have a free full heal.

: Score.

Through the portal.

Here we are again. This is the tutorial area from the beginning of the game, where we ran around and were told to play a mage after answering questions based on a flashback.

There's a bit of weird rambling about how the doors want to open to you because they're your birthright or whatever. I'm skipping it. We're going to be nailed with a LOT of exposition as soon as we get through.

It's the Changing God's space station, where he chills out and reads science books and brings fly honeys who are as sick of trolleys as he is.

: Where are you?

We seem to have traveled back in time to our own conception. This is awkward.

: [Anamnesis] Try to remember how the staff works.

So, yup. Are you seeing where this is going?

: I know you!

: You're a duplicate of my mind?

YUP. Not only is the Specter we've been vaguely antagonized by just an AI copy of the real Changing God, but we are about to birth ourselves in a time loop.

: The Sorrow destroys this moon.

: Step into the glowing pod.

: Do we have anything that can stop the Sorrow?

: [Quick Fingers, Lore: Natural] Try to pull off one of the vibrating platelets.

: [Smashing, Lore: Machinery] Examine the construct.

: [Anamnesis, Perception] Study the map to find the way to the escape pods.

: Try to figure out how the green memory gel works.

: Keep running. Get to the escape pods.

: Use the platelet you tore from the column of energy to slow the Sorrow.

A shroud is a cloth, you dumbfucks! Also you described it as "like a giant scab" then "scabrous". Why? Why do you do this to me? I literally paid you money for this game.

: Run across the bay to use the injection.

I assume this does something, but we are past the part of the game where any of that would be helpful.

: Use the gauntlet that you took from the construct.

What are you doing? SHOOT IT AGAIN!

: Climb into the escape pod.

This is the Changing God's consciousness trying to download into our mind and getting killed by the Sorrow's mind touch, because...that's just a thing it can do now. Along with time travel.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, it's me, the Specter! I'm an AI copy of the Changing God!

: Uh, what?

: Oh, hey, you're a castoff in the Changing God's body. Guess that means you are the catalyst. You know the future then, right? What happens?

: The Sorrow attacks this space station and blows it up.

: That's bad! Get in the chamber right now!

: Heeeeeeere's Johnny!

: Shit! Get to the escape pods!

: Let me grab all these random inventory items first. And...I'm off! Huh, a flashback telling me the Specter is just an AI copy of the Changing God.

: I am here! Time to die!

: Eat random energy weapons! Oh, hey, drugs. Gimme! Now to get in the escape pod!

: Initiating personality download into new body...

: No you don't Changing God. Time to die.

: I guess I'm my own person now?

He's a toy Rhin. He just answers with another sickeningly cute onomatopoeia and Rhin complains it was a bad answer. We know what he is, but we don't answer the woman who literally crossed universes to help us because we're an asshole. Oh well. We have one more flashback to get through before confronting the Specter and the Sorrow.

It's the dome we fell into at the beginning of the game.

: Look at the chamber.

: Open the synth chest.

: Examine the rod with a crystal on the end.

: Take the domination rod.

: Investigate the hovering diamond.

: Daughter.

: Alarm.

: Escape.

: The Tides.

"He wears a look of human terror on its face." I'm going to let that garbage speak for itself.

: What are you?

: What's here? Why are the alarms going off?

: Why is the Sorrow here? What does it want?

: What should we do?

: Can you make the alarms stop?

: Tell me about the girl in the chamber.

: Do you control the teleport failsafe?

: Can you set it to teleport the girl instead of me if something happens?

: The girl's more important. Set the failsafe to teleport her out.

: Go back to the synth chest.

: Examine the azure steel dome.

: Return your attention to the stasis chamber.

By setting the backup to teleport poor Miika out of here we've done everything plot relevant, so we just kinda have to click around until the Sorrow shows up.

The Specter will not let you open the chamber because that would kill Miika, by the way.

: Go back to the archival diamond.

: The Changing God.

: Wall projector.

Christ, finally.

: How close is the Sorrow?

: Tell me what we should do again.

: Tell me about the storage locker.

: Go back to the synth chest.

: Activate the wall projector.

: Go back to the archival diamond.

I snip out a few "no information" queries here.

: Miika.

If we query "Merge Consciousness" we get text telling us it's the same entry for Miika.

: The Tabaht.

: The siege of Sagus Cliffs.

: Dalad.

They will be important very soon.

: [Raises Red Tide] Use the domination rod against the Sorrow.

Well, I tried.

Ohmigod, the L word! Colin would be so proud!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Oh shit! It's the Sorrow! It's gonna kick our asses!

: What do we have?

: I've got a teleport failsafe here, which can teleport one person out - you, or your daughter Miika who is lying sick in that stasis pod. The trolley is going to run over one of you.

: Well set the teleporter to save Miika. I'm going to fuck around getting exposition until this flashback is over.

: This all started when the Changing God defeated the Tabaht and discovered they were using Tidal weapons. He did some investigation because they were the weapons that messed up his daughter, and learned to use the Tides to transfer consciousness. It didn't work and poor Miika is stuck in a stasis pod. He did learn, however, that the Sorrow exterminated the Dalad people for messing with the Tides.

Hey how's it going?


: This magic mind control rod has your name on it, monster!

: Silly castoff, mind control doesn't work on me! This is a cutscene!

: Hey I defied an explicit order and I'm teleporting you out instead, that cool?

: No! The Sorrow killed my body!

What, you thought we were done with the words? We just started the final boss sequence!

Ghostly Woman: I told you I was aware of everything while I was in that chamber. I remember my father abandoning me. I remember too, how you risked your life for me.

Her father literally put her consciousness in the Labyrinth so he could put her into a real body. I'm not sure that qualifies as abandoning? Whatever.

: What do you mean I started changing things?

I like how everything that makes us special is who we are and not the choices we've made or anything. Typical fantasy dreck.

: So you're not just a memory.

I will leave it to the thread to determine if the Changing God saved Miika or not. Her consciousness is right there to be put in a new body. The Changing God could have built her a robot or something. The game wants to make it out like the Changing God abandoned her, but she's right here! Her body is dead, but the Changing God kinda showed you can just put people in new bodies whenever the hell you want.

: But I couldn't save you.

: I understand all that I need to. So what do we do now?

: A familiar voice cuts through the air, interrupting you both. "You don't need to do anything."

: Before he can finish, the air twists in the room, an explosion of light, and a scarred figure steps out of it.

: {Raises Blue Tide] You'd think someone who calls himself the Changing God would learn from his mistakes.

This is the climax of our struggle against the Specter. How do you think it will go down?

Ghostly Woman: And what is that, exactly?

We could fight him, but why? Why would you subject yourself to more Numenera combat?

: The Resonance is not yours to claim. The real Changing God died when I was born. You're just a backup of his memories.

: "Ridiculous", the Chalcedon growls. "I've served our sire for centuries. This is him."

: "You speak in simple terms," the Specter says, arching an eyebrow. "But you're dense, even for one of my castoffs. I am the Changing God, and you are standing in my way."

This is the payoff for letting Callistege join 4chan - she shows up to dunk on the Specter here and tell him how much he sucks. Remember how the game has been telling us attempting to usurp the power of God is bad, and then we have shit like Callistege pulling it off with no consequences?

: He growls under his breath.

Damn, Rhin.

: He flinches and turns to face her.

: She meets his eyes, blinking once. And shakes her head.

: I remember speaking to you on the moon. You're not the Changing God. You're an assistant - an update.

: Consciousness needs to be continuous. You're a copy of what the Changing God was.

: [Dominant Tide: Blue] "I know who I am!" the Specter snaps, but he looks troubled by your argument. "This is foolish!"

Yup! We convince him that he sucks and he just goes away.

RIP Specter. There are a few other ways this can go and I'm not sure what triggers all of them. In my test playthrough I convinced him that I was the real Changing God and he got very sad and disappeared. If you are Blue/Silver dominant tides, you can convince him to join you and rebirth the Changing God anew. There are probably others I haven't seen.

: Will we ever meet again?

I was going to say we knew her for like a week, but we broke her out of slavery and made sure she got home to her parents. It's..actually not bad.

Presented without commentary.

Take care Rhin, you were one of the better companions in this game. We'll never forget infinite grenade child.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Miika: I remember everything now! I'm the real Miika, the Changing God's daughter! You are the Last Castoff, you can fix all this dumb bullshit and end the game! I remember now, you tried to save me!

: I couldn't save you.

Miika: But you tried! My father let the trolley run me over!

: Alright, how do I end the game?

: Not so fast! You have me to deal with!

: I'm here too! The endgame plot device belongs to me! I want it for all castoffs, but mostly me! Me!

: You're just a part of me, Maralel. You can't even open the door, only the Last Castoff over there can do that. You don't get shit. Are you gonna open the door or not?

: For someone who calls himself the Changing God you sure are a dumbass. You tried this before.

: I'm the real Changing God! Waaah!

Miika: Really? I don't recognize my father.

: You're the fake one! You're the fake one! I can't bring her back! She's dead!

Miika: Really.

: I felt the real Changing God die when I was born. You're just a crappy AI copy.

: That's the dumbest shit I've heard all day, and I live in Numenera!

: No, I'm really the Changing God! Honest!

: Hey, I'm back! Taking a break from being one with the internet to take in and tell you that no, you're just a dumbass. The Last Castoff here deserves the mantle of the Changing God, as she actually made me immortal.

: I'm not owned! I'm not owned!

: If you were the real Changing God, wouldn't your daughter here recognize you? She doesn't.

Miika: Nope.

: I spoke with you on the moon. You're just a robot.

: Yea, we also said that consciousness wasn't continuous. Who am I supposed to trust, the consciousness expert who created me or his random castoff ex-body?

: Actually, it has to be continuous, which I can state from authority by talking with that one sexbot in Sagus Cliffs.

: Fuck, i am owned. I must disappear now.

: Oh, that wasn't the real Changing God? We're cool, sister.

: You destroyed the Changing God! I-I think I like you, b-baka!

: You seem fine now. I must go. My home planet needs me.

: Will I ever see you again?

: Maybe. You are my friend. *Smooches the Last Castoff on cheek*

: Huh. Take care Rhin.

This is it.

There is only 1 door standing between us and the truly idiotic ending of this game.

Say hello to the Sorrow. No, I can't visualize what tormented psyches in a cloak look like, nor why the basic five colors are "strange".

: It gives me no pleasure to meet you in this place, but you and your kind have left me no choice. Every body your sire creates abuses those forces you call the Tides. They draw energy from those around them. In so doing, you weaken the seals on energy you do not comprehend. You increase the amount of suffering in the world.

: Every attempt at mitigating that damage has failed. Every step results in misery. You are the first in millennia to hear me speak in an embodied language. You are persistent, tenacious, and durable, and so perhaps words will suffice where destruction has failed. It is time to bring this experiment in immortality to a close.

We know this is absolute horseshit, because she spoke to Zaofi the sculptor way back at the beginning of the game.

: While the creature speaks, its thoughts assail you, crushing your mind in an alien embrace. It takes an extreme effort of will to shut them out just so you can speak.

: What do you mean, 'join the rest of your world?'

: You were the death of Oom's world?

We saw it in Oom's flashbacks, actually.

Wait. Hold up.

The Sorrow was created. The Sorrow is artificial. The Sorrow isn't an avenging angel or a natural force. The Sorrow exists because some dude built a genocide robot. That's it. The crime of the Changing God wasn't that he abused the Tides (whatever the fuck that means) but that he never found the admin password to disable the murder robot. The Sorrow isn't some divine messenger sent to punish the Changing God for his hubris. It's just a robot that somebody built, and we literally caught it in a lie as soon as it introduced itself.


The Sorrow has no divine wisdom or authority. If anything, its motives are worse than the Changing God's! The Changing God started out as a grieving father trying to resurrect his daughter and by all accounts at that time was a genuinely good person who cared for the people of Sagus Cliffs to the point of risking his life to fight for them. The Sorrow was created by "masters" - not leaders, not representatives, but "masters" for the sole purpose of committing genocide because the masters were too incompetent to unfuck things and save their people. The Sorrow was created to kill, and nearly every time we've seen her she leaves a trail of bodies in her wake.

This is a joke. An actual, literal joke, where the punchline is that the story the authors were trying to tell is completely invalidated! Keep going, it gets better!

Really? Oom didn't teach Matkina despite her being a castoff. Oom sure as hell didn't teach Rhin.

: We stood together in the ruins of your world, Oom. The Sorrow did that. Don't give up. Stay with me.

Yup. The first thing the Sorrow does to open negotiations is to get one of your party members to commit suicide. If you let Oom go, he dies.

There's a recurring pattern with the Sorrow here, can you spot it?

: How have the Tides increased suffering in the world?

: The Tides themselves do not cause suffering, rather the abuse of them in your bodies. Your kind has wrought torment on the world in the name of endless life. You bring pain, large and small, deliberate and inadvertent. Without you, the Endless Battle would never have raged. Without you, the Children of the Endless Gate would not have terrorized the world. Betrayals, slaughter, and bloodshed are the hallmarks of a castoff's wake.

There are a lot of idiots in the Numenera fandom who will claim that the Sorrow is just an innocent guardian and important for the world and so on. These people need to put their crack pipes down. All that stuff the Sorrow mentioned? It was directly because of her. The Changing God would have never built the Resonance Chamber if not for the Sorrow's pursuit, he would have left the castoffs free to do whatever, and then Maralel would have no cause for the war. The Children of the Endless Gate were caused by the Changing God trying to hide from the Sorrow in Generic Hell. The Sorrow is gaslighting us here.

The Sorrow murdered an entire civilization including the children. It has implied she has done so multiple times. We also gave Artaglio an afterlife with infinite booze. What has the Sorrow ever done to help anyone?

Really! The Sorrow is blaming Aardiris for shit she didn't do!

: I'm just trying to stop the abuse of the Tides.

: Are you? We shall see.

: What is this place?

: Why are you here?

Really. Time travel. We're going with that. Why not, it's not like this story had any respect for the player left anyway.

: What are you?

FUCK you! Every time we've seen you you've been tossing corpses about like flies. Miika didn't even do anything to you and you still tore apart her body in a rage.

: I convinced the Specter that the true Changing God is dead. Is this true?

: Tell me again what you are.

: Aadiriis said she never used a Tidal Surge in her life. How did she abuse the Tides?

: Tell me why you're here again.

: So what happens now?

: I came here to stop you from hunting us.

: Then you must cease to exist. So long as you are fractured and bleeding across the world, I will hunt you.

: My sire believed that subsuming all the castoffs into himself would stop you from hunting us. Is that true?

: What if the castoffs were subsumed into someone else, someone who wouldn't continue the cycle?

: You said someone attuned to the Labyrinth could contain the minds of the castoffs. Does that include Miika?

: The First said that severing the connection between us would stop you from hunting us. Is that true?

: Is there another way to sever the Tidal connection?

: What if I just want everything back the way it was? Is that possible?

: It seems you'll allow any choice I make. What will you oppose?

The Sorrow is only here, because, as that last dialog option implies, we can fry her ass with the Resonance. Don't ask how any of this works.

: Remove the protections? Protections like you?

: If you'd prefer we all die, why don't you just sever the connection?

We can ask her if she doesn't approve but she just says she'll kill us.

: Very well. I'm ready to make my choice.

Decisions lie before us

Vote for which ending you want to see. The game will actually let us go through with killing the Sorrow, it's not a fakeout. I will show that ending and only that ending. After that, there will be a postmortem and this game will be over.