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  • Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition

    Because of my....interesting childhood, I am sort of a late comer to old Black Isle type games and have been trying to catch up. Baldurs Gate 1 was fine, 2 was better, I then went a little modern and really liked Pillars of Eternity (it's like Diet Coke, same taste, less time wasting), and now I'm playing Planescape: Torment. Now I know that this game has a following of people who will try to make your head melt with their stare if you say anything bad about it, but.....I...just....don't....like...it (please don't hit me ).

    Now, this is probably because I just don't get it. Not the game, I get that just fine, but the reason why people like it. It has a fairly D&Desk start (the character has amnesia), but takes place in a pretty interesting location (Sigil). The combat is bad. Very bad. As in WTFm8 bad. The story and dialog is supposed to make up for this though right? Well, so far it hasn't. There is so much dialog with so many people that I cannot keep straight who said what about whom. This is seriously Wall of Text the Game: Revengence. I swear that this game had a writer who was erotically fascinated with the sound of his pen scratching on paper. How about the story? Well, it's not terrible from what I've played, but it's not fantastic either. This is probably because the pacing is weird. It's weird in the sense that it's not paced at all.

    Probably should explain that part. The main problem with trying to tell a deep story in a video game with any kind of open world or side quests is that your story is going to be constantly interrupted by a thousand different, well, interruptions. Your character is supposed to go from story point A to story point B but along the way some guy want you to clear out a necromancer. It on your way, but then three thugs jump you for the second time today. After a while you have to remind yourself "What was I supposed to do again?" Eventually all sense of urgency is lost and I have to constantly look at my journal to remember what's going on and why I should care. Now, I know that, as a side quest, I don't have to do them, but as a player new to the game I just don't know if in the next room some 8' tall steroid enthusiast with a maul is just standing there, praying that some under-leveled PC just wanders in. His name is probably something stupid like Tiny, and I bet he has some stupid line like "Prepare your anus." too. I hate that guy. So you have to do the side quests for the delicious XP.

    So yea, don't care for this game yet. Maybe it gets better later. Would love to hear some thoughts from people who like it.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ghost View Post
    So yea, don't care for this game yet. Maybe it gets better later. Would love to hear some thoughts from people who like it.
    I liked Planescape, the setting. It was really cool. I was a huge D&D fan back in the day. But I only liked one of these games, Baldur's Gate 2, and even then it was only because of some of the choices you were able to make.

    Maybe it will get better for you, it never did for me. I'd say the reason people clamor over it is for nostalgia's sake but people don't like their interests dismissed as just being because of nostalgia.

    That said, when Planescape and these other games came out, RPGs were for the most part still following an incredibly linear progression and hadn't escaped much beyond generic fantasy trappings, 'Rescue the Princess' or 'Save the world,' and your choices didn't matter as much. So I think Planescape was, at least, different and unique because of its avoiding the generic fantasy of games and with its focus on the main character and the mystery that was him.

    Kotaku made a list of things, about why people liked the game. You may find it interesting, if spoiler-y.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ghost View Post
      Now, this is probably because I just don't get it. Not the game, I get that just fine, but the reason why people like it. It has a fairly D&Desk start (the character has amnesia), but takes place in a pretty interesting location (Sigil). The combat is bad. Very bad. As in WTFm8 bad. The story and dialog is supposed to make up for this though right? Well, so far it hasn't. There is so much dialog with so many people that I cannot keep straight who said what about whom. This is seriously Wall of Text the Game: Revengence. I swear that this game had a writer who was erotically fascinated with the sound of his pen scratching on paper. How about the story? Well, it's not terrible from what I've played, but it's not fantastic either. This is probably because the pacing is weird. It's weird in the sense that it's not paced at all.
      Don't sweat about it! I don't particularly care about geek sacred cows neither.

      I started to play Planescape not long ago, but the old version, with mods, then put it away, because of games like Witcher, the new Sahdowrun ones and recently Pillars. My biggest favorite of all time is BG 2, I just loved everything about it. ToB was okay, but not that good, same with BG 1. I liked both IWDs, but the second was much better, IMO. NWN 1 was just Diablo, with a different coat. NWN 2 was much-much better, but still not on the level of the older games (and I prefer 2d isometric). Pillars seems good so far, the world is interesting and the combat was improved since the old games on the most parts (although I miss several things from the much-simplyfied system of character advancement, in comparison to the D&D systems of the old games, but it works, in the end).

      Essentially, I'd agree with you, combat in Planescape is... not good. The backgrounds are nowhere the level of prettyness as BG 2, or the IWDs and yeah, I had the same impression about just-too-much-text-for-a-video-game. I like story and interesting NPCs, I really do, but hours passed and too little happened, because text-text-text. I hope too that it'd get better as the story progress, I'm planning to give it a second chance when I finished Pillars (which looks like they got the ideal balance - for me - between action and text, similarly to BG 2).


      If nothing worked, then let's think!

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      • #4
        I enjoyed the storyline in Planescape: Torment quite a bit. Uncovering the mystery of who The Nameless One was, what sort of lives he's lived, and seeing the sort of impact that his various selves have had on the people around him was very unique, especially at the time, but even today we haven't seen many games that have dealt with that sort of personal story as well. It had several great party members like Morte, Dakkon, Ignis or Fall-From-Grace, that I think are pretty memorable even nearly 20 years later. I also liked that the storyline was so personal - it wasn't about saving the world, or even a city. Just finding out who you were, what you had done and where you had come from.

        At the time, there really had never been another game quite like it, so a lot of people played it and went, "Whoa!"

        I'll agree though that the gameplay is incredibly dated. And the storyline and where you go are not terribly intuitive. The game came out a little after Baldur's Gate 1, and like the original Baldur's Gate, it was kind of a mess in a lot of respects. Unlike BG1 however there's never been any mods updating it to the BG2 gameplay experience, nor was there ever any sort of "Restoration" or re-release to improve the game like Baldur's Gate 1 received.

        Planescape Torment is a pretty unique game though with an unusual feel. Unfortunately in some respects it hasn't really stood the test of time very well. Combat is very much of secondary importance, and most of the focus is on the writing, so if you're not enjoying the writing, you won't enjoy the combat. So really, don't feel too bad if you're not enjoying it.
        Last edited by AnubisXy; 04-21-2017, 07:52 PM.

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        • #5
          I played Planescape over 10 years ago. Loved it then. I'm not sure how I would feel if I played it again now.

          I was a lot more patient about reading lots of text at the time. I really liked learning about the weird world and the fascinating characters in it. I didn't mind the combat so much - I built my party specifically to use the combat menu as little as possible. Everything was so wondrous and strange.

          I don't really get what you mean about telling deep stories in open-world games - that's not a problem unique to Planescape. I'd say every Bioware game ever made has that issue, especially Dragon Age: Inquisition. Also every Witcher game. And ESPECIALLY Bethesda RPGs (Elder Scrolls and Fallout are lousy with distractions).


          On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

          Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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          • #6
            Originally posted by semicasual View Post
            I don't really get what you mean about telling deep stories in open-world games - that's not a problem unique to Planescape. I'd say every Bioware game ever made has that issue, especially Dragon Age: Inquisition. Also every Witcher game. And ESPECIALLY Bethesda RPGs (Elder Scrolls and Fallout are lousy with distractions).
            That's true. However pretty much everyone I've talked to/read about this game praises the story to honestly ridiculous degrees. It's not like I'm expecting the complexity of Dune here, but it has been hyped up massively.

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            • #7
              I played PS:T for the first time last year and loved it. Maybe it's just me, but I think "there's too much dialogue in this CRPG!" is kind of a silly complaint.


              Just call me Lex.

              Female pronouns for me, please.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ghost View Post

                That's true. However pretty much everyone I've talked to/read about this game praises the story to honestly ridiculous degrees. It's not like I'm expecting the complexity of Dune here, but it has been hyped up massively.
                Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. Also, as other pointed out, in it's time it was new and exciting with it's story-focusedness and unique setting.


                Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                I played PS:T for the first time last year and loved it. Maybe it's just me, but I think "there's too much dialogue in this CRPG!" is kind of a silly complaint.
                Well, different tastes and all that. I like story and dialogues and interesting npcs, but there's definitely a thing like too much dialogue in a crpg, just as too much fight, I think.* Some games hit the right balance between the two for me (as mentioned, BG 2, Bloodlines, recently Pillars), but to the point I played PS, it was heavily weighted toward text and honestly, if I want to play a visual novel, I'd play a visual novel. I'm reading a LOT, I don't play crpgs just to read a lot of text and seeing only the dialogue window most of the time.

                *Bear in mind, I don't like hack'n'slash either. I played through Diablo, for the story, but honestly, it was boring as hell. Same with NWN 1. Again, balance.


                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                • #9
                  There can be too much of dialogue in a cRPG. I loved the Torment as a kid, still like it today. But there are some games where I wish the writer wouldn't have a name FULL OF AUTHORITY SO THEIR WRITING IS ALMOST UNEDITED.
                  Good example is, I think, Grieving Mother from Pillars of Eternity. Her dialogue was very, very painful to read. And I'm saying that as a person who played PTS multiple times in 2 different languages without skipping text.
                  More writing doesn't equal better writing, sadly.

                  Anyway, the main draw of PTS is that dialogue actually allows you to do actions that are impossible in many other games, and these actions have consequences. Dialogue box is your main way of interacting with the world.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WHW View Post
                    Anyway, the main draw of PTS is that dialogue actually allows you to do actions that are impossible in many other games, and these actions have consequences. Dialogue box is your main way of interacting with the world.
                    Oh yes, this too. With high-enough wisdom, intelligence, and charisma scores, the range of things you can do in PS:T goes far, far beyond talking yourself out of the occasional fight or skipping the final boss. In that respect, PS:T is unmatched to this day*.

                    *As far as I know. I haven't gotten around to Torment: Tides of Numenera yet.


                    On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                    Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                      *As far as I know. I haven't gotten around to Torment: Tides of Numenera yet.
                      Being able to skip combat in Numenera was the best part, on account of how utterly shitty their combat engine is. Makes Planescape: Torment look like pretty decent in comparison.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WHW View Post
                        There can be too much of dialogue in a cRPG. I loved the Torment as a kid, still like it today. But there are some games where I wish the writer wouldn't have a name FULL OF AUTHORITY SO THEIR WRITING IS ALMOST UNEDITED.
                        Good example is, I think, Grieving Mother from Pillars of Eternity. Her dialogue was very, very painful to read. And I'm saying that as a person who played PTS multiple times in 2 different languages without skipping text.
                        More writing doesn't equal better writing, sadly.

                        Anyway, the main draw of PTS is that dialogue actually allows you to do actions that are impossible in many other games, and these actions have consequences. Dialogue box is your main way of interacting with the world.
                        I get Pillars as something similar regarding the "doing things in dialogue box". Not exactly the same, but the influence shows, IMO.

                        Hmmm, interesting about the Grieving Mother, I'm not that far yet, but if you're right, I'm glad I created a cipher!

                        Honestly, it has it's merits, but I still think PS is a tad too much of a text-box game, like a choose your adventure book. And it's slow, because it's just hours and hours and hours as you're pouring through all the, otherwise inconsequential dialogues and the story unfolds very-very slowly, with precious little action, which, in a crpg, I want a bit more. But again, tastes. Also, it might be that I just didn't play it long enough for it to suck me in, I'll totally give it another try after Pillars!


                        If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                        • #13
                          I had a love hate relationship with planescape torment, loved the game play, hated the bugs.

                          I found the voice acting some of the best, it's setting one of the most interesting.

                          Just so you can get a grasp of my tastes My favourite CRPG are Planescape Torment, Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate series, Neverwinter Nights 2 series (hate the MMO Neverwinter, if you can't even properly translate D&D 4e to an MMO then your in the wrong business), one of the Shadowrun for mobile phone games, Pillars of Eternity, the original final fantasy, and Star Trek Online (you wouldn't think but Star Trek Online is the weirdest of those games, but also the most mechanical).

                          My favourite Turn based RPGish civilization type game is Age of Wonders 3.
                          Last edited by Omegaphallic; 04-24-2017, 09:29 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Honestly, PTS *is* a choose your own adventure text based game that was disguised as a cRPG because it would never reach commercial success as a "choose your own adventure text based game". It "had" to use the licence, success of Baldur's Gate and the power of the Infinity Engine Brand to get a shot at reaching any sizeable audience.
                            It managed to reach the audience, but it doesn't change the fact that the game would be probably ten times...maybe not flat out better, but less bad if it could shed it's poorly fitting form and embrace what it truly was about.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                              I get Pillars as something similar regarding the "doing things in dialogue box". Not exactly the same, but the influence shows, IMO.

                              Hmmm, interesting about the Grieving Mother, I'm not that far yet, but if you're right, I'm glad I created a cipher!

                              Honestly, it has it's merits, but I still think PS is a tad too much of a text-box game, like a choose your adventure book. And it's slow, because it's just hours and hours and hours as you're pouring through all the, otherwise inconsequential dialogues and the story unfolds very-very slowly, with precious little action, which, in a crpg, I want a bit more. But again, tastes. Also, it might be that I just didn't play it long enough for it to suck me in, I'll totally give it another try after Pillars!

                              The difference is that in Pillars, dialogue box serves as
                              a) plot exposition device - you click things, you get information, you go play the game
                              b) some small interactions that are more of a very side mini game than anything else
                              It's mostly a distraction from the main meat of gameplay (which is combat, combat, combat, combat, combat). Kind of filler, so to speak. Doesn't help that I don't like the quality of writing in the Pillars overall; it's just...not balanced. Quality of the text isn't good enough for the quantity they throw at you. You could say the game was trying too hard. I like reading, but this game was seriously taxing my ability to not just mash the button to skip the dialogue. I also really really wasn't grabbed by the companions. I played with them once, and then never touched them again, because they were very boring, their writing was boring, and their *mechanics* were boring. So I just prefer to get customizable faceless mercenaries and play around with the pretty cool combat system using many different party setups instead of ultra boring companions that aren't very interesting in or out of combat.

                              In PTS, it's reversed. Running around on the map is the side-minigame travel vehicle that get's you from one gameplay segment to another. The "true game" happens within dialogue boxes. It's where you interact with the world, where you make choices, where you solve quests, where you decide how to proceed, and so on. I would never call these dialogues inconsequential, because they are your main mean of influencing the game. You say Y, Z happens. You say C, B happens. Compare that to games like Pillars, where dialogues are usually just for exposition and maybe some very simple choices.
                              PTS has, instead, it's focus on making the dialogue box the thing where the game happens.

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