A couple of years ago, Spiders Studios had their PlayStation debut with the PS3/360 release Faery: Legends of Avalon. While it wasn’t the best RPG the generation had seen, it had a well-developed world and art style to go along with it. Fast-forward a handful of years, and Spiders is back with its most ambitious title to date, The Technomancer. We were able to see a presentation by the developer at E3 2015, and have our impressions ready for your reading pleasure.
It’s a Red Wasteland
The Technomancer takes place in the wastelands of Mars, after a cataclysmic event has all but wiped out the colonized life on the planet. Now, even sunlight on this world can be harmful. You play as Zachariah, who is training to become a Technomancer. You have shown potential with an ability to bend electricity to your will. The power is reminiscent of that of the Apprentice in The Force Unleashed, but without the Force Push ability.
On Mars there are now six factions, including the army, a rebellion group, a mob, and a few other groups not elaborated upon, which I imagine would include the Technomancers, who are a revered group of inhabitants on the planet. Somewhere in your own story, you stumble upon a great secret about the relationship between mutants, who are an enslaved people on Mars, humans, who are seen as perfect beings and whose home planet Earth has not been able to be contacted for some time, and Technomancers. What that secret is, and what your role in the ultimate fate of Mars, was of course left as something to be found out by the player.
As a Technomancer-in-training, you also learn how to craft various things such as upgrades or entirely new weapons, accessories, and more. Speaking of weapons, your staff is the Technomancer’s weapon of choice, and can quickly become an instrument of pain when combined with electricity. There are multiple stances to take when in combat, and you can utilize Technomancer powers in every stance. One stance we saw involved stabbing an enemy up close with an electrically-charged knife, then following that up with a quick gunshot to finish them off. Combat looked like it was pretty fluid, though without actually getting our hands on the game it was hard to say for sure.
E3 2015 - The Technomancer Preview -- PlayStation LifeStyle
As you progress through the game, you will of course be able to level up your character. You can unlock and upgrade skills and attributes, and tune the character in a way that reflects your play style. The Spiders representative even stated that it was possible to upgrade your character while completely disregarding the Technomancer skills. This will result in a more physical game with attacks focused on melee and gunplay, but the game will also be harder to play this way. Still, the option is there, and choice is rarely a bad design decision, so it will be interesting to see if anyone successfully plays the game this way.
It appears Spiders Studios has learned a lot over these many years on the consoles. The Technomancer feels like a much more complete game, including full voiceover work and a detailed art style. Hopefully their idea has legs, and we can see a story that players will care about, rewarding combat and leveling systems, and a reason to come back and play the game besides obtaining PSN trophies. I like where the game appears to be headed, and await seeing the fruits of Spiders Studios’ labor when The Technomancer releases in 2016.