Dark Light

Electricity, fire and maybe demonic powers, these attract many people to video games, and I am no exception. So being able to use electricity based attacks just seemed to pull me to the Technomancer even before I got my hands on it.

Having spent more than 50 hours on the game and after playing The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine this game did not take much to get into. And if you have played enough Mass Effect, you will be comfortable with the visuals and tone of the game. The story although not something out of the ordinary keeps you engaged throughout the playthrough. Technomancer does nothing special or very well, but it doesn’t do anything really poorly  either.

The Technomancer

Detailed Review

(+) The Perfect Warrior:

The three stances based on different weapons are are- Warrior Stance (Bo Staff), Guardian Stance (Mace & Shield) and Rogue Stance (Dagger & Gun). All these varieties have their own advantages and their own weaknesses. The Warrior stance is more focused towards clearing more enemies in a wider place and works pretty well in well spaced areas with longer dodges and more range in comparison to the other weapons and also an area damage attack. The staff is very ineffective in very small areas against melee and ranged enemies. Coming to the Guardian stance, this was the stance I used least since it is more for heavy damage to one enemy and the dodges feel very stiff, short and restricted. The Rogue Stance will be used in tight spaces because the dodge in this is effectively a roll and it is highly effective to maneuver around enemies. This stance is rarely ineffective, unless you want to have a time consuming fight with a few enemies in a wider range. Last but not the least, there is a stealth stance, which is practically just an added mechanic, which sometimes can be quite fun, to just zap your way around.

The Technomancer has a lot of Witcher-esque combat and you will not have a problem in taking down enemies unless of course you are trying to hacknslash your way through. I started the game on hard and I could definitely not just charge into the crowd of enemies throwing heavy blows.


The similarities with the Witcher gameplay end there though. There is a variety of weapons you can choose from and they actually are affected by the different areas you are fighting in. During a fight, you can also give your team-mates orders to be defensive, aggressive, focus on healing or focus on ranged attack depending on the character.

Now there are some aspects that make this game’s combat better than Witcher 3. One clear example is the targeting system. I never used the target lock system in both of these games and if there are multiple enemies, it is futile to have a target lock, and when you are faced with multiple enemies, the controls should be able to approximate the target you are trying to hit. In this aspect Technomancer seems to have a slight edge over the Witcher. You are almost seamlessly able to change targets without having to compromise on your defense. Yes, of course when two target are standing close to each other, you may not have that kind of accuracy, but the game gives you a staff which is good for a crowded battlefield.

Another obvious positive is that there is no jump, which can also be a negative aspect in some cases. Yes many people have complained that Geralt can’t jump over small obstacles while in the combat stance and this game cleverly removes the mechanism of jump. Well it does work for them because after all, it’s not a totally open world where you have to traverse long distances on foot, so it doesn’t make you feel awkward when an obstacle blocks your path.

Another great part of the combat system is that you are not slowed down when you enter any kind of combat stance. In Witcher 3, when you are facing an enemy you are almost reduced to half the jogging speed and your only alternative of moving out of the way of the attack becomes dodging, that is not the case with The Technomancer, as you can get into your desired stance and dodge an attack by simply moving. Also the sprint button almost responds immediately giving you speed to close in on your opponent.

Another aspect, or detailing which I liked was the dodging mechanism. It’s not just there for you to press and make sure the enemy doesn’t hit you. One micro detailing I noticed here was that if you had a staff and dodged in the direction of someone shooting you, it was highly probable that you’ll take the hit, because dodging with a staff is generally done in an almost upright position. If in the same scenario, you are in the Rogue stance, dodging becomes rolling and you have much lesser chance of getting hit even if you roll in the direction of the enemy holding the gun.

The Technomancy allows for some great looking and effective attacks. I mainly used the Technomancy skills as last resorts or when I was cornered because they have a chance of stunning or at least stopping the enemy and they are a great addition to an already great variety of weapons. The only problem here that I found with the game was that, somehow, Technomancers who are supposedly very powerful beings are being beaten up by mere humans, which seems weird, but may also be due to the lack of experience of our character.

(+) Life On Mars:

Another great aspect apart from the combat is the setting which the developers have been able to visualize. Mars, for a long time has been considered a planet that would be able to sustain life, mostly because its the closest planet to us, and less because we have evidence of life being supported.

In the case of The Technomancer though, Mars does seem like a place that has been colonized for just 200 years and humans have yet to discover ways to fully extract the resources that the planet has to offer. For now, the people are fighting over resources and are aloof of the fact that something of much greater importance is to be done. And it shows with the rugged way of living and the different locales that show contrasting variations of structures.

Humans have reached Mars, only means that the people should be civilized, but no contact with the Earth and lack of resources has driven the human race to where it all began and this contrast is pretty obvious when you play the game. Those exposed to the sun have mutated and it’s not just the humans. It seems humans of earth were creating a sort of Noah’s arc to bring all the creatures to Mars and set a sustainable eco-system on the planet, but the mission failed miserably. And the few animals that have been shown to mutate are gorillas, bats and ostriches, which I admit have been detailed pretty well.


(+) Growing Up On Mars:

For an RPG, the character has very limited customiztions, because our name and gender remain the same, all we can do is change the cosmetics, but boy, the default character looks badass.

The starting cutscene shows the current state of affairs going on in your city and then you are given a chance to create your character. The only aspects that can be changed here are the skin color, hair style, hair color and eye color. Heck you can’t even change the scars on your face, but that is a part of the narrative of the story, so I didn’t rant much on that and the default character looked cool anyways, so I didn’t change much.

Many people might say that “RPG elements are missing” and all such stuff, but well that is not the only aspect of a good RPG, in fact it is not even a necessity. What sets RPGs apart are the in-game decision making and in that area Technomancer does it’s job pretty well.

The character development is another aspect that I found very interesting. Not as deep as many would expect from an expansive RPG, but it truly depicts a Technomancer just graduating from the school. There are three development trees- Skills, Talents and Attributes. While the skills and attributes are related to mostly the combat part of the game, the talents are more related to how you interact with the NPCs and the best part is you can keep all of them activated if you have unlocked them, one aspect tat left me wanting more in The Witcher 3.

The game captures the essence of how a warrior will grow and that is one aspect which I found unique to this game; in the way that you have to learn the skills that you see other Technomancers displaying and the passive abilities do not buff you up to a whole new level; it is after a few upgrades that you’ll notice a combination of all the upgrades working together to make you a very competent warrior, and the best part is- The more you fight, the more XP you get, so that’s a plus point.

The crafting system is not something very great and is mostly used for upgrading stuff. It is clear that crafting is not a major focus of the game, it is just there and most of the useful things like exploding traps are already available in the loot boxes present.

(+) Making Friends…On Mars:

The companion system is pretty decent and if you have played Mass Effect, then you’ll find this pretty similar- doing quests and helping your companions to gain their trust. The world is actually somewhat receptive to your actions, and you can hear people talking about stuff that you did or happened recently and that makes the world more believable.

The companion system also has it’s own perks if you develop a level of trust with them. One certain character increases the charisma set of your Talents’ skill tree, another allows you to carry extra weight and yet another allows you to heal in combat, so overall I wouldn’t complain about the system. The developers have claimed that if you tend to deviate from a companion’s nature too much, they will leave you, well I didn’t test that, so I can’t comment.


(-) The Technical side of Mars

Playing on a PC, I didn’t have many technical issues like crashing or lagging, although at one part in a cutscene, the game did freeze for quite a few seconds. The loading times were pretty less, topping just about 30 seconds and averaging at about 15-20 as opposed to the PS4 version which had quite few crashes and long loading times.

(+) Sights and Sounds from Mars:

The music score is pretty good. Some tracks actually resonate the surrounding environments and are pretty strong on the chords. The only bugger here is that sometimes the transition to different areas confuses the game and you can hear a mixture of 2 tracks while moving from one area to another. Apart from this I think all the other parts have been done well.

(-) Now You Don’t See Me:

Right off the bat you’ll notice that the graphics of the game are quite dated; and while I don’t mind it, sometimes the animations are just too weird. The graphics look a lot similar to Mass Effect, but are very inconsistent. Some things look downright gorgeous while others might be missing textures. While this is not a deal breaker, it certainly takes out the immersion

For example, there was this boss, the great mantis and I couldn’t help but hold the tab button  to see it’s magnificent detailing (Which is actually for selecting skills and giving orders, but also slows down the time to quite a great degree) during one of it’s attacks. But the contrast comes in this screen shot itself. Look at the detailing of the sleeve of the armor and the mantis, overall the graphics looks pretty good, but when you look at the chest armor and the greaves, you will immediately notice the inconsistency in detailing. This happens a lot throughout the game and leaves a sour taste.

Same is the case with environments, sometimes the walls look very detailed, but the sand just below seems stale and non-real, especially because your footprints don’t appear on the sand.


(-) Overshadowing:

While the graphics don’t matter much, and there is quite impressive lighting to the game, it is hard to ignore the shadows falling on the characters. The shadows caused by different objects on the face of the characters appear as polygons for some reason, and while in general, the shadows are decent, the flickering and the polygon shaped shadows are a big turnoff because the faces become very weird.

Another problem with NPCs is that there is a very short loop in their actions for whenever you interact with them, meaning that the character will keep on repeating the same loop of action over and over again within a span of 10-15 seconds. That is another immersion breaker.

(-) Talk Hard:

The Technomancer is based on Mars; in a time after humans have successfully colonized the planet for 200 years and then have bizarrely disappeared. Humans of Mars have lost contact with Earth and Technomancers are the only group of people who can re-establish it. With this being the central theme, there are also quite a few sub-plots going on in parallel to the main quest, and while the game handles them quite well, it isn’t able to hold your attention.

The Technomancer starts off with a very simple premise of internal and external conflict on Mars and the tutorial not only introduces the combat system, but also updates you on what you are going to be heading into. You basically are about to graduate from the school where gifted people, The Technomancers are trained for the army, and as the Technomancer’s latest offering to the army, you need to walk a fine balance between handling your responsibilities as an officer, as a Technomancer, and as a human being.

What keeps getting in the way of the narrative though is the voice acting. It almost feels emotionless and many a times, the other characters feel more charming than the main protagonist.

Sometimes, it feels like Zachariah is trying just too hard to communicate. The dialogues are well written, but many a times if you fail a side mission due to not being able to complete it owing the talent trees’ lack of skill points, you can try again and again till you succeed. Though the plot is good enough, the characters don’t keep you on your toes and the narrative begins to feel forced after a while.

(-) Padding:

The game has quite a few length padding missions, that have you backtrack between the two same places 2-3 times and you can clearly feel the padding. It is a common problem with RPGs, but many of them cover it up using some kind of other illusionary side winkie but this game does not do that. If you don’t hurry through the side missions, the game becomes bland quite easily. Though the game does reward XP for fighting enemies, it also does allow you to farm for experience (take it any which way you want to).

Another obvious flaw is the enemy restriction to areas. Yes, you can run through guards and monsters and when you go a certain distance ahead of their designated area, they stop following you. This is a big hole especially because some missions need you to reach a certain part of the map in a given time, and fighting enemies along the way is a big part of that.


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