The Technomancer

(1 customer review)


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Complete Review & Description

Mars, the future. A ruling elite subjugate the populace. Water is a precious resource. The mutant threat is barely contained by an overbearing police force. No, it’s not Total Recall, it’s The Technomancer.
You play as Zachariah Mancer, part of an elite group known as the Technomancers. Technomancers possess electrical powers, and exist as a quasi-religious organisation set apart from the rest of society, striving to maintain peace while hiding their own mysterious origins. If you’re thinking Brotherhood of Steel meets Witchers, you’d be right.

Cards on the table: I like pulp sci-fi like Total Recall and Tank Girl. I like action RPGs, Deus Ex and The Witcher being among my top series ever. So it stands to reason that I’d like The Technomancer, which looks like it borrows heavily from all of them. It does. It’s a shame that Spiders’ idea of borrowing means copying and pasting’. There’s a difference between a nod of the head to a game you’ve referenced and ripping chunks out of it, plastering them to yours, and pretending it never happened. People will notice. You can strap on a tail and call yourself a dog, but no one’s going to rub your belly.
Parts of the game are quite good. I like the realisation of a dystopian Mars, where criminal gangs and civil war rages. I like the idea of the Technomancers even if, technically, what they do isn’t technomancy (it’s actually electromancy). I like the factions, and the ability to switch class midway through combat to adapt. I like all of these things, but none of them are done well.

Factions play a big role in the game, with different actions earning or losing reputation with the various groups vying for power on Mars. No, not like Mass Effect. Your companions also like and dislike you more, and you can even romance some as the game progresses. BioWare? Never heard of ‘em. The squad based combat allows you to fill your team with a dynamic crew of – oh hell, I give up. It’s excruciatingly similar to Mass Effect’s squad system, which I already didn’t love, and I had to find out from a loading screen that you could give your team orders in combat. Smooth.
I can try to defend The Technomancer if I forget every other game I’ve ever played, but it makes it so hard. Not only is the setting derivative, but the gameplay and combat are ludicrous. Combat with a staff is almost mockingly similar to The Witcher, but at least the hitboxes worked in Temeria. Rogues play similarly to Bloodborne, but Bloodborne had a dodge that allowed you to actually avoid attacks. I can’t complain about guardians, the defensive class, but I stopped playing it almost immediately because I was never that into Dark Souls. Technomancy attacks will be familiar to anyone who played InFamous, but with fewer of them.

I like that the different combat options were there, allowing you to take a different approach to different enemies. I just wish it had been – you know – fun. It feels sluggish and unresponsive. Not to say there aren’t enjoyable moments to be had, mind; there are some decent battles in here. But they’re buried under layers of respawning minions and lazy encounters, and the good doesn’t outweigh the bad.
Visually? Well, I hope you like orange, because otherwise how would we know we’re on Mars? Some of the facial animations are downright terrifying, and the graphics in general are half-hearted. I get that the audio is trying to match the tone, but I’ve never found a soundtrack claustrophobic before; it’s incredibly repetitive and irritating after more than an hour at a time. Map design is actually pretty good, and exploring was an enjoyable distraction; it really felt like a dismal dystopia, this time intentionally. Maybe because the areas are massive and underpopulated. Some of them are almost totally empty. Why? I’ve given up trying to find sense here.

Characters are one dimensional and forgettable; your mentor is worried about bringing you into the war, the policeman promises he can be your best friend or your worst enemy, the mechanist girl gets super offended if you comment on that. We’ve seen these characters before, many times, in better stories and often with better voice acting. The plot does get interesting after a while, but it feels like too little too late, and I’d already switched off.
I want to like this game. I really, truly do. But I can’t. It’s melodramatic, derivative, and not very good. Maybe others will have different experiences – I don’t know. As a fan of other, better games and the whole futuristic dystopian genre, the cut and paste job is too obvious for me to get past. Maybe if the characters weren’t made of cardboard, or the combat was more responsive, or if I could force myself to care about the seemingly arbitrary plot twists? But I can’t.

This might all seem a bit harsh, but I’m actually angry at this game. It had such potential, promised such great things, and this is what we got: a Frankenstein hack job. I know I should know better by now, but I didn’t. Trying to avoid talking about the asking price, I say it’s up to you.
There are two reasons to buy this game: vain hope or morbid curiosity. Either way, you should probably throw out your other coasters. Do not get your ass to Mars.


1 review for The Technomancer

  1. rose61

    Top notch.

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