The Technomancer — Should You Play It?

Is The Technomancer 2016’s hidden-gem of the action-RPG genre? We find out…

The Technomancer is a game that has considerable potential – there are some features that show heart and care, but are ultimately undone by poor combat and fairly bland level designs. It wears it’s influences such as The Witcher 3 and Mass Effect on its sleeve, but the desire to forge its own is lacking.

What Technomancer gets right is a very straight-forward levelling up system, where you can upgrade skills, talents and attributes. Your combat stances are upgraded through a skills system with four branches: Warrior, Rogue, Guardian and Technomancer. Each stance is a combat style, with Warrior being your standard attack style which has close and sweeping strikes, Guardian relying on defence, and Rogue which has a ranged attack with quick melee attacks. The Technomancer skill enhances each of the stances and augments your weapons as well as provide you with a variety of electrified range and melee attacks.

Technomancer 1

Skill sets such as crafting and lock picking are upgraded through the Talents tree, allowing you upgrade your weapons and armour and opening locked crates and lockers. Attributes such as Strength, Constitution and Power can also be upgraded to increase the potency of your attacks, how much damage you can withstand and how much power your technomancer can deal.

All of the upgradable trees are simplistic, well designed and well thought out, however, the rest of the game cannot be provided with much praise. Firstly is the karma system that is affected based on whether or not you kill an enemy. Should you kill an enemy, you will gain more serum (which is the games currency) to purchase upgrades, weapons and items from vendors. However, by doing so, you affect your karma negatively, but this has no affect the outcome of the game. This is a very superfluous system that seems more of a cosmetic add-on than anything of substance. It is also quite bizarre to “punish” the player for attempting to gain more in-game currency.

Technomancer 6

It is almost criminal with the current generation of hardware that a game does not include a jump button, let alone for an RPG to not have a parry system that extends to all weapon choices and for there to be invisible walls.

Graphically it was never expected for The Technomancer to be on a similar level of most AAA titles, but even though lighting, environments and character models are competently designed, characters seem extremely stiff and marionette like, lip synchronisation is terrible and the dialog is clichéd at best. Your character would of been better as a silent protagonist, as his character is very dry and extremely boring, making him uninteresting and hard to invest in as a character.

However, the biggest fault with The Technomancer is the combat. Either the foes are overly easy or you are just as easily overwhelmed by two or more characters early on, and it doesn’t help that your companions will likely struggle to fight their way out of a paper bag. There is no weight to strikes and you are easily countered or struck while mid dodge or attack, leaving very little feeling of mastering any type of combat system.

Technomancer screen 4

The control layout is also very complicated and unnecessarily cluttered, making assigning and allocating necromancy skills, health and focus serum a messy affair. However, like in most RPGs, there are ways of assigning serums and powers to shortcuts, making certain actions easier as well as making serums accessible. The best of the worst is the ability to switch between combat modes during battles, which provides the player with opportunities to figure out the best way to approach enemies.

Technomancer 5

There were some high expectations for The Technomancer, expected to be an underdog that would delight and inspire, but sadly the developers should of taken their time, improving on the combat and the finer details that could have made this game a standout.

Sadly it is too hampered by its own ambition, where more effort and thought was put into a bland character’s journey, but not enough into the core mechanics that truly matter, such as competent combat, far better asset management and controller layout. As it stands, it is simply a below average one, and as much as it wants to show its influences, it fails to meet its goals. Although not an entirely bad game, I find The Technomancer hard to recommend but I am sure that it will find its way into the hearts of those that really appreciate the underdog

Are you interested in The Technomancer? Let us know by tweeting @MenStuffZA and commenting below.

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