- + Cool premise; war on Mars and sweet electric powers
- - Clunky fighting mechanics
- - Mundane storyline
- - Sub-par graphics
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Tech-NO-Mancer”
Technomancer is a third person action RPG developed by Spiders. No, not literally developed by arachnids, that’s the name of the developer studio. It follows the story of Zachariah Mancer, a Technomancer working his way up the military ranks. It is set on the planet Mars and revolves around the fight for water, the most valuable resource on the red planet.
You may be wondering what a Technomancer is. It is an individual who is gifted with electrical powers; these powers come in the form of shooting electricity arcs, electrically charging a weapon or creating a magnetic armour. The use of these skills will help you to progress through the harsh terrain and fend off the many foes. As a Technomancer, whilst you have access to these powers there are also three stances to choose from when fighting; Warrior, Rogue and Guardian.
Warrior equips you with a long staff which can be used to cause area of effect damage. Rogue is an agile stance allowing you to nimbly dodge incoming attacks and inflict damage from afar with the pistol. Finally, Guardian, grants you a shield. This is a much more defensive stance, being able to block attacks can really come in handy. I personally stuck to the Warrior stance as it was the suitable for most encounters. I did, often, have to switch to other stances depending on the type of enemy I was faced with. I found this a little tiresome. If I have the option to pick stances and upgrade them, I’m more likely to focus on just one rather than all of them.
Throughout your playthrough you will receive points to upgrade your skills, talents and attributes. This is where I got a little confused and I think it could have been designed an awful lot better. Skills dictate what abilities you can do on the battlefield, i.e. electric fist, berserk, explosive shot and shell. The skills are separated into the different stances and one tree for Technomancy. Whilst there is the option to unlock new abilities, a lot of the skills are passive and increase damage, critical hit chance and efficiency of the different abilities or weapons.
Talents seemed very out of place. It was as though the developers had forgotten to add a few mechanics to the game so chucked them in the last minute. They consist of Charisma, Science, Crafting, Stealth, Traps/Lockpicking, Exploration. Each one doesn’t really do that much if you level them up. Yes, there are a number of locked chests around the area which require a lockpicking skill, but the loot inside is so dreadful and useless that the skill itself is, quite frankly, useless. The same seems to be true for the other skills. For example, charisma; upgrading this allows you to convince NPCs to do certain actions. If you don’t have a decent enough charisma, then you can just threaten the NPC anyway. Like I said, the talents seem very out of place and last minute.
To finish we have attributes. This is certainly a feature I’d expect to see in an RPG game, allowing you to level up Strength, Agility, Power and Constitution. Fairly bog standard stuff here. Strength increases your hand-to-hand attack effectiveness, agility ups the chance of inflicting secondary or critical effects, power will aid your Technomancer abilities and constitution makes you more resistant to attacks. This area of character progression made sense and was a clear and wise addition; you could choose from here what kind of play style you’d be using. As I mentioned earlier, it is not possible to progress through the game using just one stance. I, unfortunately, found this out a little too late.
The story of Technomancer was fairly lacklustre. It was your job, as Zachariah Mancer, to ensure there was peace and that factions didn’t get too out of control. This would require you to stroll around the slums, picking fights with common civilians to make certain they wouldn’t cause trouble. So much of the campaign was just mindless fighting. And this is where the game truly falls flat on its unpolished face. The fighting mechanics are unbelievably clunky, for a game released in 2016, it’s very surprising. A game of this genre should have smooth, fluid fighting instead of this medieval and outdated engine. At times during the story there are bosses, the first one being quite early on. When fighting these bosses, you need to be able to dodge attacks whilst darting in and striking quickly. This, unfortunately, was a massive pain in the arse as the controls and engine simply do not allow you to do this. Many a time I tried to dash in and hit the enemy only to find that the character was rolling in the complete wrong direction. Sometimes this would result in my death and other times it wouldn’t be a problem. Either way, it’s still an unwanted annoyance.
Speaking of death, checkpoints were very few and far between. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated certain sections of this game; each time more infuriating than the previous. Granted, there is a Save button under the Options menu, but rarely was I able to actually click on it. It seems that you’re only allowed to save at certain times and areas within the game.
I really don’t have much good to say about Technomancer. At first glance it looked like an interesting game, featuring a rich story and cool fighting techniques. How wrong I was.