The Technomancer is reminiscent of an eighties science fiction film. The acting is mediocre, the narrative is simplistic and horribly predictable, and the soundtrack occasionally makes you cringe. However, there is something in all of this that causes us to play the game mindlessly and have joy.
Studio Spiders offers us on another journey to the realm of Mars: War Logs. This time, we play as Zachariah, a technomancer caught in the crossfire between corporations, technomancers, and persecuted minority in the form of mutants. Throughout the main story’s 30 hours, we must play the roles of a cop, a mobster, a rebel, a country unifier, a grand master, an archaeologist, and a monster hunter. Such a detailed biography would not offend Commander Shepard or Geralt. The Technomancer is an action RPG in which the developers not only took aspects from Bound by the Flame and Mars: War Logs, but also plainly attempted to emulate the works of the Bioware company. Positive associations are evoked via rich skill trees, dramatic conflicts, the implications of decisions made during discussions, and reputation points for particular sides.
However, none of these components are flawless. Character models that are uncharacteristic, voices that are not coordinated with lip movements, and a general lack of expression on the faces of the majority of the characters are noticeable. Conversations between team members and ostensibly moving moments do not leave an impact, but the whole thing has something distinct and nice about it, so we become used to it after a few hours and disregard most of the kitsch. The finest components of the game are developing abilities and equipment, as well as combat. Zachariah may transition between three combat methods that serve as archetypes at any time: a tough bruiser with a shield, an agile villain with a rifle and daggers, and a warrior with a long stick. There is a talent tree for each combat style, and we also receive a fourth one for the technomancy skill, which we employ regardless of fighting technique. Controlling electricity adds variety to battles, as the hero maintains control of the battlefield with tremendous energy discharges. The fight is fast-paced and surprisingly difficult. Enemies attack in bunches, attempting to corner us and take us out with a few fast punches or an automatic weapon volley. We will load the last save game several times if we do not move constantly and use our talents.
In battle, Zachariah is never alone since he is constantly accompanied by two allies, to whom we provide simple instructions that vary strategies: rushing the opponent, defensive fighting, focusing on talents, and healing. Unfortunately, like in Mars: War Logs, your comrades are not particularly intelligent, and they are stunned halfway through the conflict. Equipping them with higher-quality equipment boosts their efficacy marginally, but you still can’t rely on them completely. Kompani unquestionably belong to a vast assortment of oddities. A wicked scientist, a bold female mechanic, an oversized mutant with a large heart, and even a one-armed technomancer with more luck than brains join the squad. The Technomancer’s universe is substantially wider than that of Mars: War Logs, and the action takes place both in the wastelands and in cities, where we perform thousands of side quests. We tour the heart of Ophir, as well as the massive slums and tunnels beneath it, two other cities, the surrounding canyons and wastelands, and many enigmatic research centers. The developers also made certain that fun activities awaited us everywhere. A huge portion of the missions are straightforward instructions to kill creatures and outlaws, but an equal proportion entail dialogues, negotiations, and scheming intrigues. However, the story is clearly separated into major strands that are preceded by a dozen trifling missions – side missions save us from such monotony.
Despite the scenario, which is evocative of old C-class films, the developed environment is substantial and distinctive in general. Diverse wildlife, intriguing towns, and a wide range of attire and decorations from all cultures show the universe’s uniqueness. The sound design is not particularly great. In certain places, the soundtrack sounds like a washing machine rinsing or the rear of a kitchen full with inventive dishwashers. While Olivier Derivière was able to thrill with new melodies in Remember Me, he could not provide anything exceptional here.
Overall, The Technomancer isn’t a top-tier game, but it’s also not your typical average game. The adventures on Mars are so entertaining that we spend more than thirty hours staring at the screen.