Maybe I should have just bumped my original thread, but here goes.
I haven't finished the game yet (I'm done with Curst, on my way to Carceri), but I have formed some very strong impressions of this game that I suspect the ending won't take away. Course I don't know what will happen, but anyways. I think this could have been the greatest game ever made. But I strongly suspect it won't be. Firstly, it seems it doesn't really want to take its philosophical themes as far as it can. Is the game actually going to attempt to answer Ravel's question? The game just seems to be floating the issue to make you think rather than trying to answer or think about it itself. Well making you think is great, but at some point you've actually got to say something if you're writing a story like this. Does the Nameless One's answer that you give to Ravel going to affect the ending or anything? (fyi, my answer was that nothing can change the nature of a man, which may condemn the Nameless One to his current fate for eternity (or it may not), but that's my belief. I think we, ultimately, remain the same individuals were were when we came into the world. All life does is add habits to the original self). It's just so...frustrating to get drawn into this game and then to wait, and wait, and wait for the writing to say something. Of course if the ending is great, then I shall retract a lot of this, but if what I see now is any indication the ending doesn't look promising.
The other issue I have, which I'm a lot more sure about, is the lack of character development. I heard that this game had a much greater volume of conversations than KOTOR, but from what I've seen that isn't really the case (and I've gone the high charisma, intelligence, and wisdom route). And the only well developed character in Torment, really, is the Nameless One himself (and maybe Ravel; she does make quite an impression in her only appearance, like Vivec in Morrowind), and that's only because all the writings and clues his previous lives have left. With Dak'kon, you get to see his crisis of faith, but that's all we see of him. There is more to a man than just his beliefs, much more. Morte has personality and is funny, but, I mean, does he ever think about his existence as a skull? How the only purpose in his (un)life seems to be following around a man he accidentally led to his death a long time ago? Does he ever wonder about what on earth he's going to do after the Nameless One finally dies? If I was traveling with someone with the Nameless One's issues, I'd start thinking long and hard about my own life, no matter how not introspective I was beforehand. I just...don't see that with these characters. Dak'kon and Ignus are very simple characters, we never really get a glimpse inside the heads of Morte and Annah, Fall-from-Grace is still a mystery at this point in the game. KOTOR, despite fewer lines of dialogue, does a vastly superior job of developing it's characters. We know what Juhani is feeling when that Twilek slaver says that the males of her species should be killed and the females enslaved. When Carth finds out who the player really is, it isn't like "oh, Carth knows you're Revan now, he's mad he didn't know, continue with the main plot". KOTOR bothers to show, in full, Carth's shock and then bitterness, and then slow acceptance of the situation. You never see anything like that in Torment. It's not just the voice acting, the writer(s) just seem genuinely more interested in who these people are. And you don't even need to have characters be at all complex in a game like KOTOR, which is at its bare bones a standard good v. evil with lightsabers story. But with a game with a story like Torment's, the lack of understanding of the characters is really kinda crushing.
And KOTOR can be pretty disappointing in parts too. We never really saw Bastila beyond her distant, proper exterior, even when she was confessing her love to Revan. It looks like her shell might be cracking after the subplot on Tatooine with her mother, but no, never goes any further than that. Carth, Mission, and especially Juhani are better developed than her, which is a problem since she is vastly more important to the story than those three combined. And KOTOR doesn't go far enough with the theme of identity in Revan's story, but they had to give the player a lot of choice as to where to take him/her, so I forgive. But still. I love how the interactivity of a game can enhance the atmosphere and mood of a story. That's one of the main reasons I play games at all instead of devoting the entirety of my energies to books (movies are too short, and there's so little TV that's any good). And at this point I don't think it's an unreasonable request to ask some games to really try to make their characters into real individuals. But so far, the only games that have done what they could have done with their characters are The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, Final Fantasy VI, and to a lesser extent, System Shock 2 (in regards to Shodan) and the Thief games (Garrett).
This is not to say I dislike Torment. It is a very, very good game. And I know my verdict is awfully premature. But ugh, sometimes I wanna yell at the writer about the game he could have made with these ideas.