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The Technomancer review: This sci-fi epic is skin deep

Hayden Dingman | June 29, 2016
The Technomancer has all the appearances of an epic sci-fi RPG, but it's surface level sheen over a cavalcade of boring.

See, this is Knights of the Old Republic, but fifteen years later and with mediocre writing even by 2003’s standards. And worst of all, it’s like Knights of the Old Republic in that you’re forced to run through large, labyrinthine environments to try and find the one person you can actually interact with. There aren’t many places to visit in The Technomancer, but you can count on each to be about ten times as large as it needs to be—mostly made up of empty corridors or, worse, corridors full of enemies.

The Technomancer

The latter is a drag, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, combat’s just not very interesting. It’s whack-whack-whack on the X key and then sometimes dodge—similar to The Witcher 3 honestly, but every character is a damage-sponge and there’s no weight to it. Then there’s the fact enemies seemingly scale to your level, so you never feel like you’ve made any progress. And then that’s paired with the fact enemies never go away. At the end of the game you’ll still be fighting the same four dudes at the top of the elevator in Abundance as you were the preceding seventeen hours. They respawn every damn time you’re forced to sneak into the city.

(Spoiler: It’s a lot of times. Security is terrible, given the fact Abundance is supposedly a police state.)

The puzzle of The Technomancer ends up being “How can I get from here to the quest-giver without either a) fighting a billion enemies or b) running an entire marathon?” And the answer is: You can’t. Saddle up, bucko.

The Technomancer

All of this—the tedious combat, the respawning enemies, the oversized-but-empty environments—all of it would be forgivable (or at least bearable) if The Technomancer’s story were worth seeing through. But it’s not.

Zach’s story is in every instance predictable. It’s a double-cross story where nobody is ever in any real danger and nothing matters. Everything is given to you, you never struggle, you never make a tough choice, you never care. Characters are a scattering of archetypes with the personality of a windblown plastic bag, and Zach’s voice actor reads lines like he got dragged in to help with a buddy’s school project.

And that’s the main quest, which makes up only a smidgeon of The Technomancer. This is an RPG in the vein of Risen III—a boring tale padded with generic, junk-food filler fetch quests. Go here, talk to this person, go there, fight some guys (or don’t), pick up an item, run a million miles back, turn in the quest. Obtain meaningless reward. Yawn and check how long you’ve been playing. Think to yourself “Maybe I should just replay The Witcher 3 instead.”

 

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