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Default Planescape: Torment - Reinstall @ PCGAMER

May 21st, 2013, 11:08
PCGAMER has a retrospective article about the original Planescape: Torment.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Richard Cobbett delves into the questions of human nature while beating up monsters in Planescape: Torment.

Most RPGs give you a quest. Torment gives you a question: “What can change the nature of a man?” It’s not a riddle. It’s not a puzzle. It’s simply the first hint that you’re about to embark on the smartest, most philosophical quest of your life.

What can change the nature of a man? As I said at the start, there’s no wrong answer. Still, nothing sums up the breadth and wonder of Planescape than this, a short monologue given by The Nameless One to an angry specter:
“If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear—whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I’ve seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag’s heart half-circle. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me…”

There’s no replacement for serious, smart storytelling —between Fallout in ’97, Fallout 2 in ’98, Planescape in ’99, and Icewind Dale in ’00, Black Isle produced some of the best RPGs of the era. My only regret is that I can’t get the kind of targeted amnesia that would let me experience this game all over again for the first time. Torment or not, I suspect it’d be worth it.
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May 21st, 2013, 11:08
Probably blasphemous to say it, but I think the way dialogue works in games such as Torment could do with a lot of improvement. Dialogues are arranged in a tree and the choices are mostly illusory because you generally have to click on every option and sub option in order to avoid missing some quest trigger hidden at some deep branch in the tree. This hardly makes for very realistic conversations with NPCs and can become frustrating when you hit the same branch multiple times and trigger the same NPC splurge in attempting to complete the tree. One worry I have about Tides of Numera is that they will make this kind of frustration even worse by having interminable NPC dialogues with massive trees (what are all those writers for?). Much better I think to have the NPCs cough up what they have to say without you having to screw it out of them.
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May 21st, 2013, 22:15
Hard to see how they can avoid the branching tree structure until we can create machine intelligence that is as smart as a human.
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May 21st, 2013, 23:08
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Hard to see how they can avoid the branching tree structure until we can create machine intelligence that is as smart as a human.
No, all that's needed is that NPCs don't stand around in one place and behave like airport information terminals. Instead their textual utterances can be keyed to events at particular times and places. Think BG2 & Wizardry 8 already did this pretty well, if you think about it.
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May 21st, 2013, 23:52
PS:T is a wonderful example for all the things you are saying you'd like to see, actually. Not only you don't have to click through all options, but most times you don't even get the chance to do that. NPCs are not info terminals at all, each of them is sorta like a minigame in conversation. The same goes for the BGs as well, generally, but they were much less talk-heavy. IWDs are not relevant, because they barely had any conversations to speak of.

So when you say "games such as Torment", what exactly are you referring to?
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May 21st, 2013, 23:59
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
Probably blasphemous to say it, but I think the way dialogue works in games such as Torment could do with a lot of improvement. Dialogues are arranged in a tree and the choices are mostly illusory because you generally have to click on every option and sub option in order to avoid missing some quest trigger hidden at some deep branch in the tree. This hardly makes for very realistic conversations with NPCs and can become frustrating when you hit the same branch multiple times and trigger the same NPC splurge in attempting to complete the tree.
The exposition dialogue is certainly like that, but there are quire a few paths in the dialogue trees in PST which are mutually exclusive as they indicate particular choices being made and are irreversible.
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