By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on August 12, 2016
Welcome to Mars, ladies and gentlemen... or, at least, whatís left of this once mighty planet. 200 years ago, the people of earth colonized this red behemoth and started to make it their home. For a time, life on Mars was good, peaceful and truly worth living. But, as we all know, nothing lasts forever and a major catastrophe sent Mars spiraling off its beaten path through the galaxy and brought it much closer to the sun. Things quickly went from bad to worse as the relentless heat decimated or deformed most life on Mars and endangered its most valuable resource: water. All contact with Earth was lost, effectively isolating Mars from the rest of the galaxy.
Now, with most of the population driven underground in huge subterranean cities, Marsí dwindling supply of H2O is being controlled by humongous corporations who, in doing so, control the fate of an entire population. The rich have everything, while the poor are left to fend for themselves. Luckily, there are those who still fight for what they believe is just and are trying to re-establish contact with our home planet. These people are known as Technomancers; a select group of individuals with special powers, derived from the mutations that have been caused by the sunís deadly rays and enhanced via numerous implants. You are one such individual; a young man named Zachariah, who lives in Abundance, one of the remaining underground cities. Zachariah is about to complete his initiation and become a fully fledged member of the Technomancer organization.
Of course, where there are people still fighting for something good, there are also those who would like to see these people very much dead. The secret police is hot on Zachariahís tail relentlessly hunt him with the intent of bringing him and the whole organization down. Itís your job to show them that there are still people out there that arenít afraid of the men in charge and that the business end of a fighting staff can really, really do some damage. Are you ready to take on this monster quest?
As you will encounter numerous enemies during your travels, it's always good to know how to fight! As a Technomancer, there are three basic styles of fighting you will have to learn to use; Staff, Blade/Gun and Blade/Shield. Each of these three fighting styles handles totally different from the other two. Staff combat is centered around fast movement and crushing damage, enabling you (among other things) to damage entire groups of enemies with a sweeping attack. The blade and gun style depends more on your ability to dodge incoming attacks and lets you damage enemies from a distance, using your nail gun. Lastly, the blade and shield style of fighting relies heavily on your ability to block enemy attacks and using your enemyís strengths against them, resulting in destructive counter attacks. Each of these unique fighting styles can be enhanced using your Technomancer powers. You can, for instance, use these powers to electrify your weapons, making them deal additional damage.
All three fighting styles, as well as your Technomancer powers, can be upgraded by using a fairly simple skill tree. Will you become master of just one fighting technique, or will you invest in all three of them, making you a far more rounded fighter? Itís completely up to you, as is the way you take on challenges youíll encounter along the way. Although it is possible to rush headlong into the fray whenever you encounter enemies, itís not always the wisest of decisions. You will quickly notice that going into battle without a sound battle plan will most likely result in your untimely demise. So, as it is with many things in life: think before you act! Apart from upgrading your abilities, the Technomancer also features an intricate crafting system, which allows you to combine raw materials into new pieces of equipment that will definitely make your life quite a bit easier.
After an extensive training session in all three styles of fighting, it is time to get cracking on your initiation mission. You are accompanied by Sean, Zachiariahís old friend and teacher. He will guide you through your first real mission, and will act as your mentor throughout the early stages of the game. What I first noticed when we set foot on Marsí surface, was the absolutely gorgeous environments that really help to shape the story and make Mars a planet worth fighting for. Stunning vistas and grim-looking indoor environments enhance the feeling of purpose and help to immerse you in the Technomancerís story. And while the character models arenít exactly the best ones weíve ever seen, they are beautifully crafted with lots of attention to detail.
What the Technomancer reminds me of most is a slightly more simple version the Mass Effect series; with its expansive universe and extensive cast of characters, the Technomancer puts the player square into the electrified boots of a young but mighty warrior on a quest to save whatís left of humanity, while trying to defend and unravel the Technomancer orderís best kept secret. The Technomancer is a single player sci-fi RPG, featuring a intricate crafting system, beautiful graphics, a deep, immersive storyline and a diverse real-time combat system. While it may not be the perfect game for every gamer out there, it is a great opportunity for people whoíd like to give the RPG genre a whirl, without having to cope with the usual overly complicated skill trees and grinding slow pace the genre is known for. It might lack the depth of the genreís biggest titles, but it makes up for it in speed and easy to learn gameplay.
So, if youíre looking for a good way to get to know the RPG genre, you should really consider giving the Technomancer a whirl; it looks beautiful, plays well and offers a lot in terms of missions and side-quests. My advice: suit up, gear up and save the red planet that is now your home!