Author Topic: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)  (Read 1952 times)

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Offline Mr. Vega

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Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
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.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 01:23:51 pm by Mr. Vega »
Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.
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Offline Ace

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Lack of character development?

Make sure you're playing a character with high intelligence, charisma, and wisdom. Dak'kon's plot is tied to the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon as well as flashbacks dealing with the 'practical incarnation.' (there's a fun little 'sidequest' where you can track down what happened to one of your previous companions, Xachariah)

As for Morte... don't trust the skull. Some major character development is around the corner which explains his loyalty (or lackthereof).

As for answering Ravel's question, there's plenty of ways to answer it depending on how you play. (nothing, love, belief, etc.)

Ignus as a character is pretty basic, but once again if you've dug around enough you know why he's with you.
Spoiler:
You're the master who abused him, leading him to seek more and more power which in the end killed him.

As for Fall-from-Grace, she's the only one who truly remains a mystery, but there's some little events that shed more light on her.

Torment's character development is about digging in deep and piecing things together as none of them will spill their guts out in normal circumstances. (which is a bit better than being an emotional crutch)

Seriously though my first playthrough left a "good but... there's room for improvement" impression. I went through the game again and discovered tons and tons of new content and ways of doing things, which then answered more questions about your companions and new ways of ending the game. Then it turned into being a more satisfying experience.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 01:28:46 pm by Ace »
Ace
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Offline Mr. Vega

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
I am playing with high wisdom, intelligence, and charisma, as per your advice. And Dak'kon's crisis of faith is interesting, but as I said, that seems to be the totality of his characterization. And I know about Ignus's backstory. Still makes him pretty boring (I heeded Fall-from-Grace's advice and ditched him after that). Did Xachariah too.

Edit- Ugh, yes, for the last time, I found the extra circles that Dak'kon didn't find. I finished it.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 09:19:51 pm by Mr. Vega »
Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.
-John Maynard Keynes

 

Offline TrashMan

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Methinks you might be dissapointed with the ending.

FYBaldurs Gate 1 & 2 are the bet RPG's out there.
NWN2 is pretty cool.
The Witcher is dark and has the right atmosphere (and moral ambiguity), but it does have a few quirks that could have been handled better.

Keep an eye out for Dragon Age.. hopefully it will be ready in 2008 :)
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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
You do know why D'akkon travels with you, and you've seen all the Circles, including the ones you have to dig out yourself?

Cause really, "Crisis of faith and that's all" screams "I missed some things."  - Like how and why Dakkon is stuck doing what he's doing, as well as the fact that a crisis of faith for someone who lives in Limbo, creating his entire would sheerly through will, has a bit more....uh....direct physical consequences then it does for someone on Earth.





You do in fact, finally, get the answer to Ravel's question - the one she was looking for - if you do everything correctly.
Morte, as noted, gets a rather large bit of character development very soon, if you do things correctly.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 07:04:54 pm by phatosealpha »

 

Offline Koth

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
What? Someone doesn't consider PS:T the greatest RPG of all time? Heresy! Burn him! /sarcasm
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Offline ZylonBane

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
PS:T is not a traveling soap opera like KotOR. The primary focus of the plot is The Nameless One discovering his past. The NPC interactions are just gravy.
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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Try asking Fall-From-Grace about Morte if you haven't already, and never ever skip re-reading the entry in your tomb that duplicates what was tattooed on your back, as they're not quite identical.  Also, try telling everyone you meet that your name is Adahn sometime, you can actually create him through belief, heh.
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That is the best first post I have ever seen.

 

Offline TrashMan

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
BG pwns everything.

"GO FOR THE EYES  BOO, GO FOR THE EYES!"

"EVIL, MEET MY SWORD. SWORD, MEET EVIIIL!"
Nobody dies as a virgin - the life ****s us all!

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Offline Ace

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
I don't think so chief.
Ace
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Offline Koth

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Endure. Through enduring grow strong. (motto for all FS campaign designers)
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Offline Cyker

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Ironically, I didn't like KOTOR as much *because* they laid everything out for you.

Maybe because I'm more used to the PS:T/BG way of doing things, but KOTOR felt so contrived. It had a similar effect to watching the US version of Who's Line is it Anyway vs the original UK version.


In PS:T, the fact that some mystery remained let me wondering things after the campaign ended, rather than in KOTOR where tricky things were answered, but leaving you feeling a bit let down.

But really I just liked immersing myself in the world :)
I really got a sense of 'bangin' about t' Cage', while in KOTOR I think the character dramatizations pushed everything else aside, and everything felt like a Go Here Do That linearity.

But it was fun just for HK47 if nothing else. Meatbag. :D

 

Offline TrashMan

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Nobody dies as a virgin - the life ****s us all!

You're a wrongularity from which no right can escape!

  

Offline Mr. Vega

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
PS:T is not a traveling soap opera like KotOR. The primary focus of the plot is The Nameless One discovering his past. The NPC interactions are just gravy.

So only soap operas demand well developed secondary characters?
Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.
-John Maynard Keynes

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
Soap Operas demand any well-developed characters?
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Offline TrashMan

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
I don't think so chief.

*sicks Boo and Minsc on Ace*
Nobody dies as a virgin - the life ****s us all!

You're a wrongularity from which no right can escape!

 

Offline Koth

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
How could you forget Korgan the ever evil dwarf?
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Offline Ace

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Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
I don't think so chief.

*sicks Boo and Minsc on Ace*

I CAN FORGE PLANES WITH MY POWER. I CAN *UNMAKE* YOU.
Ace
Self-plagiarism is style.
-Alfred Hitchcock

 
Re: Thoughts on Planescape: Torment (spoilers)
But Boo is a Miniature Giant Space Hamster!  That's a level of awesome that just can't be topped!  Plus Minsc says things like "Butt-kicking....for goodness!"
Everything is better with monkeys.  Even pie.

That is the best first post I have ever seen.