The Technomancer

Frans van Berendonk # Video Games # The Technomancer

The Technomancer is a science-fiction action-RPG set on Mars, developed by Spiders.

After a short tutorial where the player is introduced to the setting of the game (a dystopian future on Mars), he/she gets to select the features Zacharia Mancer (the player character). Character creation is quite simple, offers little in terms of customization but suffices for the type of game this is. The presets at least look pretty decent given the somewhat mediocre quality of the character models. After you have made your choices, you get a short mission that explains the basic controls and from there the player find himself in Ophir, the first mission hub. Apart from NPC's that help the player progress the main quest, there are also NPC's offering various sidequests and Merchants where you can buy/sell items and armour.


While there is only so much one can do with a dystopian Martian landscape, some of the vista's in this game are quite breathtaking. While technically, the graphics are nothing special and the character models are even a tad bland, the atmosphere is excellent and reminds me of the original Total Recall movie. A cool feature is that modifications to weapons and armour actually add more detail to their visual models. It's too bad the game is so dark we can barely see those! In conversations, the flashlight on Zach's armour turns off... a mind-boggling design choice given that this game is so dark you'll sometimes activate Sneak mode just to see the environment.


As with lots of RPG's nowadays, The Technomancer offers choices, or at least a convincing illusion of choice. Along the way you'll shape your relationship with a few factions such as the Abundance Army, Mutants and Vory criminals. How you handle several conversations will have a lasting impact on the ending, but doesn't change the game's events by a large margin.


As far as stories and settings go, the Technomancer has great potential but falls flat in it's execution. Quite early on we learn that the Technomancers "big secret" is the fact that they are technically mutants, and this secret must be kept from the population to keep the peace. Naturally, there's your typical tyrannical badguy with an interest to dismantle the Technomancers influence: ASC's Colonel Victor. We spend the majority of the game running from this douchebag and gunning for support of the various factions, and the trust of our own companions. However, faction support consists solely of a score per faction, which decides whether or not you can get their support at a few key points in the story. Increasing companion approval opens up a single sidequest per companion and improves the considerable bonusses they each confer on Zach.


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