Planescape: Torment

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Heraopx21, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    Planescape: Torment's depth comes largely from its character development and the freedom you are given in shaping your character.
    More than in any other game, the characters are fleshed out and respond to your actions giving you a sense of really playing the kind of character you want to play.

    Because, really, Torment does give you an extraordinary amount of freedom for a game that is so plot-heavy.
  2. Eyenixon

    Eyenixon Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 11, 2008
    But depth implies that there is meaning beyond just words on the page. With Dak'kon it's some bonuses to his combat abilities, but what is depth when that means absolutely nothing? What is depth when that weathered tree of possible actions and reactions provide something as artificial as an XP bonus and a slight shift in alignment?

    In Fallout your major choices altered aspects of the plot, there was depth because it had an absolute effect on the environment, so much that it altered the ending of the game, it's one of the reasons individuals enjoy the ending blurbs so much, they're clear representations of your actions beyond a slight message informing you of an experience bonus. In some extreme cases, you even gained a perk or a karmic title.
    I don't see any of that in Torment (aside from a few ways to slightly alter the ending, each of them lackluster), and since Torment's combat system is very shallow as is nearly every other aspect of its roleplaying system, there is no depth beyond the words. And what is that if not sublime yet arbitrary surface material?
  3. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    Have we gamers fallen so far we fail to appreciate the sublime pleasures of written word and emotions it calls forth, if it doesn't carry a tangible reward, such as XP or combat bonuses?

    You say it's meaningless, okay. Your opinion. But please don't argue that PS:T lacks depth simply because it focuses on writing and problems that don't translate to stats and gameplay.
  4. Eyenixon

    Eyenixon Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 11, 2008
    It's a video game, not a god damn book, what am I supposed to expect? Poetry and deliberation on the meaning of life and belief?

    If I want that, I would watch a film that exists to ask questions, such as Stalker or read a book that does so for itself, as in The Glass Bead Game, but when I play a video game I desire a game and when I play an RPG I desire a damn good RPG. Writing does not mean squat for depth in regards to what drives the backbone of a video game, it doesn't mean anything because as far as writing concerns itself in PS:T, there is so little to do with the way the game plays, the whole experience is very linear and your choices affect little beyond what I mentioned before, a flat XP bonus or some useless trinket.

    Where's the depth? Apparently someone decided that it belongs in the words and the game play can take a backseat, it's just too bad that they forgot to provide the human reactions that gives these words depth and instead dump out mere sprinklings of character sculpted dialog smothered by excessive, philosophical, Great Walls of words. Chris Avellone took a big page from Ayn Rand, whether he likes it or not, a big, size six font monologue laden page of explicit "smart".
  5. slamelov

    slamelov Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jul 29, 2006
    A videogame has video, graphics, text, sound and music. What's the problem with the text?. It's part of the game also. And very important in Planescape.

    Imagine a guy who says he doesn't care the dialogues in a film, that a film is for seeing and not hearing. "It's a fucking film, not a radio".
  6. Patton89

    Patton89 Vault Dweller

    Nov 21, 2008
    Honestly, the saving grace of PS:T was the writing.
    It has bugs.
    It has simple combat.
    It is linear.
    It didnt use its full potential.
    The writing made me finish the game. NPCs had personality. Dialogue was great, and deep, even philosophical. The setting was unique. The atmossphere was tremendous at times. It had funny, dark jokes. Great writing can save a lot in a game.
    Better combat, better quests,less bugs and more choices, and it would have been TRULY magnificent game.

    If fallout 3 had the same level of writing,the same QUALITY, i think it would have been a actually good game adn better RPG. And i am not exaggerating here.
  7. TheLastOutlaw

    TheLastOutlaw It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 1, 2008
    Damn, now I feel fucking old. I loved the Zork games and yea, that pretty much was like reading a book...

    I have to agree with Patton and the others who have made the same observation. The writing is what makes PS:T. Yea, the game had flaws, yea it rushed out the door. But it was damn good at making you want to learn more about the game world and characters.

    Coppereyes? Creepy motherfucker. But the game didn't tell you he was creepy, they let you glimpse his backstory through other characters comments and you drew your own conclusions.

    The crier mourning his dead until you decide to help him by getting the monument wall marked for him? Sure, you can draw the parralel to simple step and fetch it quests but the story, the motivation was there. I appreciated the effort that was put into the story, the characters, the little details. There was depth, the feeling of immersion.

    I really have to go play this again.
  8. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    Your opinion I guess. That's why I've been largely playing Japanese games lately (esp. Visual Novels), cause they, you know, have a lot of text and a good story.
  9. Dirty Smuggler

    Dirty Smuggler First time out of the vault

    Dec 23, 2008
    I didn`t think of myself as spoilt either. I was new to PC gaming and felt this was how things worked. In retrospect however after playing through years that produced nothing but dross yes I was spoiled with all the good games. In gaming world that was a rare golden era. Fallout 2, Planescape, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Half-Life, Operation Flashpoint, Europa Universalis, Descent: Freespace and many others...

    EDIT: typo fix
  10. Josan12

    Josan12 Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 15, 2007
    @ Eyenixon: you've got some good points that are well observed.

    But i think you also need to remember to compare a game like PS:T to other RPG's. After all, i would say a games quality is in many ways relative to it's 'peers'.
    And i find the shallow garbage RPG's they make these days really remind me what depth is. In fact, after playing the all-too-common 'console-retard' games i find i have to play games like FO and PS:T to remind myself what i'm missing. (or watch Blade Runner :))
  11. Dirty Smuggler

    Dirty Smuggler First time out of the vault

    Dec 23, 2008
    Watch out for the slow down bugg (fixed by the official patch), everything else you can live with.
  12. janjetina

    janjetina First time out of the vault

    May 31, 2007
    Yes, a human being with developed higher intellectual functions is supposed to enjoy something else besides the instant "numbaz" gratification.

    You are creating a false dichotomy between the depth of writing and characterizations on one hand, and interactivity on the other hand. A game, unlike a book, or a movie, can have both, as PS:T clearly shows to those able to pay attention.

    Your first sentence is false, as evidenced by the best games in adventure and RPG genres, where writing has a significant effect on the appeal of a game.
    Your second sentence is flase as well, as from the mechanics standpoint the whole game can be viewed as a huge character generator, where your choices, made in different situations, have huge effect on your character (recalling memories, stat changes and alignment shifts are very imoportant in the context of the game, and they are governed by player's stats and by player's choices, as they are supposed to be in a RPG).

    Newsflash, comprehending the words and choosing the answer that fits your character among the many presented responses (dictated by your stats) IS a part of the gameplay. Any time a player needs to make a choice, he is actively participating in a game, hence the dialogue, that you need not only read through, but act upon, is no less part of the gameplay and intellectually stimulating than taking an aimed shot at a super mutant's eye. In addition to intellectual stimulation, good writing provides another feat reserved exclusively for human beings - emotional stimulation.

    Translation: oh my, the game has a story and it uses many written words, that's outrageous!
    While the story of the Nameless One has a fixed start and a fixed ending, you have more than enough opportunities in shaping the Nameless One's persona and influencing the world around you, for good or for evil. Many side quests have multiple solutions with significantly different outcomes, and many of them can be completed through different (combat or non-combat) means. PS:T doesn't compare with Fallout or Arcanum in that department (though in Fallout you also have fixed starting and ending points, as you need to destroy the Master and the Military base - joining with the Master doesn't qualify as the real ending, no more than the ending of PS:T of becoming the Silent King of the Dead Nations, however PS:T could have used ending slides to reflect the consequences of your choices through the game, especially in Sigil where TNO's actions could have quite an echo). However, PS:T is the only game where the side quests are centered around the prevailing motives of the game (belief, alignement, the Planes, redemption, the butterfly effect etc.), while in other games the side quests are more often than not detached from the body of the main quest.

    Depth is in the character and you are, if able, supposed to discover that depth by interacting with different people you meet at the streets of Sigil, Curst, etc. The fact that you state that the character interaction of PS:T is tedious leads me to believe that this is the game that doesn't fit your particular subjective taste, or from another perspective, you are not fit to play this game, so whay exactly do you post on this topic? It is apparent that PS:T is not designed to suit your wet dreams of playing an uber character taking over the world after reaching level 100.

    The system behind the game is the simplified AD&D used in all IE games of that era (BG, IWD, BG2), along with the same mediocre RTWP combat present in all those titles. The difference are the numerous stat checks in dialogues, and the fact that your choices have a profound effect on your stats, your alignment, and even your companions' morale (the morale stat is now visible thanks to the bugfix and restoration efforts by Qwinn and Scient). PS:T system might be basic, but is used to the fullest in the context of the game, and comparing it to the bland POS that is Foblivion is a sign of incurable cluelessness.

    Personal character growth and coming to terms with yourself and/or your past actions, or as you put it "worthless "growth" ", is an important motif of the game. Your companions experience it as well as you do, and also the connection between them and the Nameless One is revealed, providing the player feedback on how much TNO has affected the world during his lifetimes.

    Unless you are playing the game with your beer goggles on, it's obvious that the combat system is almost the same as in other IE titles (the only difference being the spell system). As in other IE titles, combat is mediocre. There are ranged weapons in the game (Nordom's crossbows). The fact that there are no bows or giant mega holy vorpal avenger swords so you can't play "an Elvish archer" or "a Paladin with a big sword" can only be viewed as a bonus. The fact that you don't get to play dress-up as often as you want to is also not a flaw at all (even Fallout has only a few types of armor/clothes). Spells (after bug fixes) are in fact more balanced than their IE counterparts (melf's minute meteors, stoneskin, iron skins, abi-dalzim's horrid wilting, time stop, let alone epic spells improved alacrity and dragon's breath from BG 2 and unlimited monster summoning from BG 1 come to mind first as being unbalanced). Spell animations are a matter of taste - I liked them more than the spell animations in any other RPG title. The view is not zoomed to close, the control over the battle is complete (unlike in NWN 2 titles, for example) - are you playing on 320x240?

    I don't claim that PS:T has good combat, but claiming that its combat is worse than other IE titles or any major title (except TOEE) that came out after it is ludicrous.

    Let's compare:

    BG 1 combat: summon monster xtimes, select all, attack

    PS:T combat: Ignus' terror, select all, attack (+ use a few high level spells for stronger opponents like Trias, heal with Fall from Grace against tougher opponents)

    BG 2 combat:
    stoneskin, select all, attack (mage with melf's minute meteors)
    against dragons: lower resistance x3, greater malison, finger of death
    against the demilich: protection from magic, abjuration immunity, attack with >+4 weapons

    IWD, IWD 2 combat: select all, attack, hack, slash, repeat until you get old

    This is incorrect. You are either playing an unpatched version or are spreading false information.
  13. Herr Mike

    Herr Mike Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jul 28, 2008
    Ignore all this hoo-haw and just play it, if you haven't.
  14. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    Yea, I would highly recommend making your own opinion on Planescape. As you can see, some people love it, some hate it. But if you're going to love it, you don't want some twats convincing you its a lesser game so you skip it. Play it.... do it.
  15. Ausdoerrt

    Ausdoerrt I should set a custom tit

    Oct 28, 2008
    Which gives that BG2 has the most interesting and versatile combat system out of all Infinity Engine games =)

    PS:T isn't great, but I enjoyed wrecking havok with higher-level spells. Also, Fall-from-grace is for pussies :lol:
  16. janjetina

    janjetina First time out of the vault

    May 31, 2007
    It was not the combat system (which was almost the same, with the exception of the spells) that gave the edge (considering combat) to BG2 over other IE games, but better design of the encounters. As long as the opponents are versatile (dragons in BG2 that have formidable physical and magical attack, the Twisted rune encounter in the Docks house entered with the help of the Rogue Stone has five challenging opponents), you have to think about beating them. Opponents in PS:T, with the exception of Trias and Ravel, rely on physical attacks only, so they are trivially easy to overcome (even the Moridor's box demon, thanks to FFG healing). Trias fight (post Qwinn's patch) is challenging though, as he is able to cast deadly high level spells and his saving throws are high. It is necessary to point out that only Ravel and Trias fights are necessary to finish the game. The rest can all be avoided. BG 1 was much worse than PS:T with the endless Monster summoning spam, unavoidable battles and skeleton spawn spam with neglegible XP gained from it.
  17. Szeder

    Szeder It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 6, 2008
    There have been lot of replies, but let me put it like this:

    Planescape Torment is the best roleplaying game Black Isle has created. It pains me to say this here, and I love Fallout as dearly as anyone but as far as the quality of general rpg elements are concerned, Planescape is simply unbeatable. Don't get us started with examples, go buy it/download it/steal it, I don't care. Just make sure you have the time to play this miracle because Planescape tends to be demanding and it's merits are hidden in its dialogues and story. So pay attention!!!
  18. Aaron

    Aaron It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 8, 2006
    I love Torment, but I wouldn't classify it as a role-playing game. The very nature of the plot is that you can't play your role. The Fallouts were better RPGs, and probably better games. Torment beats anything in gameworld-depth, but it's not sandbox enough, and sometimes I felt it's linear. And don't get me started on the combat system... enuff was said about it. But I recommend everyone to play it - even if they're like me and their diplomatic character ends up butchering everyone around... ;)
  19. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    I disagree. When you look at the mechanics and the responsiveness of the world, Fallout 2 gives you more options and more reactions than Torment.

    Not classifying Torment as an RPG because the plot is somewhat linear is ridiculous.
    Torment is probably the game that gives you the most room to play a real character, as it gives you a lot of options and responses to the way you portray the Nameless One.
  20. Aaron

    Aaron It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 8, 2006
    Those were two separate points. I think it's not an RPG, because you're not freely portraying your character, but trying to do what you would do, and meanwhile you're constantly hit by your background, which obviously affects your choices. So you know, that you must play a specific role, but the game is about finding out what that role is. So it's not like an ultimate sandbox RPG where you're creating you own background. Probably that doesn't makes sense, whatever.

    Btw, Torment is the most disgusting game I ever played. Sometimes it's not even fun.