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Planescape: Torment is PC Gamer's Bestest RPG of All Time


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I really need to get around to playing this game.

To be honest it's only worth playing once. Go in spoiler free and expect lots of awful combat.

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"TL;DR: Schlongs make you catch the gay and are too woke." - majestic

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I really need to get around to playing this game.

To be honest it's only worth playing once. Go in spoiler free and expect lots of awful combat.

 

 

Well to be fair, I've heard praise for the game for it's writing, never for combat, so I still have an interest in playing it. I love New Vegas to death because of it's writing as well as it's RPG aspects, but it gets only modest appraisal from people for it's writing. As such, I'd be very curious to see what the games look like that have absolute critical acclaim for the writing.

"The Courier was the worst of all of them. The worst by far. When he died the first time, he must have met the devil, and then killed him."

 

 

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Oh don't get me wrong, by all means play it because it's well written and very weird. It's just the combat, which does take up a good portion of the game, is really bad and there isn't really a reason to replay the game.

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"TL;DR: Schlongs make you catch the gay and are too woke." - majestic

"I'm gonna hunt you down so that I can slap you square in the mouth." - Bartimaeus

"if you behave we will let you visit the adoption event" - InsaneCommander

"You cracked the case, it wasn't meant to be nice." - Malcador

"Obi-Wan Kenobi - Whelp, that was a waste of time." -Hurlshort

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I have to admit I've never finished it either, or indeed ever gotten more than a third of the way through. Frankly what I'd look for is just an extract of all the game's text repurposed into a text adventure, the rest of the game seems rather extraneous. Or, more seriously, just a mod to literally remove all enemies from the maps. With a corresponding increase to conversational XP I guess, but I can't even remember if having higher levels does anything for speech checks or whether such a game could just be played as a level one TNO.

Edited by Humanoid

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L I V E W R O N G

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You get stat points every level, iirc, so it would be kind of hard to hit all the wisdom/charisma (and maybe intelligence?  It's been a long time) checks without leveling up.  Not that it's necessary to make them, but there's some really interesting stuff.

 

I'd almost be interested in playing it with all the enemies removed, just so I wouldn't feel compelled to make a character who can actually survive, and could thus ignore all the physical stats.

 

Anyway, an unsurprising pick, honestly.  I can't imagine anything else that could have been reasonably picked ahead of it.

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Planescape: Torment is a wonderful game. I don't know if it takes my top stop for RPG, but it is a contender. You will only be able to play it properly once though, so take your time and savor the details when you do. There were moments were reading struck me emotionally--the writing is that good. I ended up playing as a Chaotic Evil, though that wasn't my intention. That's one of the many ways in which the game is a gem.

 

I did a fair amount of grinding early on, which made the combat go quickly later. I don't feel that it was as bad as the reputation merits, but it wasn't dreadful. The worst part about combat was the spell casting animations that I could not skip.

 

Wisdom > Intelligence > Charisma > Else. Don't bother playing as a warrior or rogue. Also, play it in as many extended sessions as possible. It's not a game that can be enjoyed if you pick it up casually over the course of weeks or months. There is a lot of investigating and plot to keep up with. Maintaining immersion is also crucial to the experience.

Edited by Mr. Magniloquent
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Wisdom > Intelligence > Charisma > Else. Don't bother playing as a warrior or rogue. Also, play it in as many extended sessions as possible. It's not a game that can be enjoyed if you pick it up casually over the course of weeks or months. There is a lot of investigating and plot to keep up with. Maintaining immersion is also crucial to the experience.

 

That's pretty spot on. The disjointed nature in which the storyline is told makes it hard to casually play the game and follow it, unless you're really good at remembering details. Keeping WIS, INT and CHA high is also necessary, otherwise you miss out on a lot of stuff, and what's maybe even worse, have to fight more battles, and those are certainly *not* PS:T's strong suit.

 

In a way this is a flaw that PS:T shares with KOTOR 2: If you don't have the right stats and actively influence and talk to your companions you will miss out on many details of the main story line - so much that it might even appear to not make sense at all or have plot holes the size of a  small moon space station.

 

I don't think it is a coincidence that both were made by MCA. :)

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It's certainly my favorite game. It's up there with New Vegas and Zork. Those are the games that I'll immediately say without having to thinka about it, which should be the single biggest criterion for anyone who is a real aficionado. Otherwise, we could think up more and more games all day and never get to the end.

bother?

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I really need to get around to playing this game.

To be honest it's only worth playing once. Go in spoiler free and expect lots of awful combat.

 

 

Well to be fair, I've heard praise for the game for it's writing, never for combat, so I still have an interest in playing it. I love New Vegas to death because of it's writing as well as it's RPG aspects, but it gets only modest appraisal from people for it's writing. As such, I'd be very curious to see what the games look like that have absolute critical acclaim for the writing.

 

 

 

The combat isn't good, but, thankfully, a large chunk of it can be avoided.  The writing, on the other hand is great.  PS:T is still the bar by which all other RPGs get measured in terms of story, characters, and character development.

 

It is my favorite RPG of all time.

Edited by Keyrock

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I really need to get around to playing this game.

To be honest it's only worth playing once. Go in spoiler free and expect lots of awful combat.

 

 

 

Well to be fair, I've heard praise for the game for it's writing, never for combat, so I still have an interest in playing it. I love New Vegas to death because of it's writing as well as it's RPG aspects, but it gets only modest appraisal from people for it's writing. As such, I'd be very curious to see what the games look like that have absolute critical acclaim for the writing.

 

It's got about 900,000 words; and I get the impression that it was a localization nightmare.  Combat is seemingly discouraged, as it tends to be the least option; though there are plenty of unavoidable fights.  I thought that they missed out on the potential of cranium rats in the narrative.  It is definitely an  RPG worthy of the title. IMO it's a better RPG than Fallout, though IMO Fallout is the better game.

 

I once asked MCA whether they cast Michael T. Weiss as Nameless for the obvious reason; but as far as he knew, the guy was simply just available at the time; so maybe it was someone else's idea. I can't imagine that it was coincidence alone.

 

*Planescape is the one infinity RPG that actually benefits from the hi-res patches. Its sprites were double size to begin with, and it looks great at ~technically reduced size.

Edited by Gizmo
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Planescape Torment is brilliant, but also completely outlandish - I wouldn't call it the best RPG I have ever played simply on the basis of it being a lot more of an interactive book than an RPG. If you asked me about the best RPG ever right now, I'd bark "Pillars of Eternity", but that'll most likely change once the game fades from my memory over time. Might go back to being "Fallout 1" again.

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I have difficulty of thinking of a single game that really perfectly encompasses all aspects of the genre. My personal favorite would be Shadows of Amn, but while the Baldur's Gate series pretty well exemplifies its particular style of RPG gameplay mechanics (...particularly with the help of mods, where it becomes, full stop, the best in its class, IMO), all three games (1, SoA, ToB) are pretty stinking weak in the writing and choice and consequences department. Even though the main plot *is* pretty interesting and more or less written, there's basically only one meaningful choice throughout the entire game (namely, choosing between the Shadow Thieves and Bodhi). Even choosing between Saemon Havarian and the Underdark Portal still leads you to literally the same exact place - although if you choose the latter, the game screws you by making you miss out on a small chunk of content and good items (including the Cloak of Mirroring in the vanilla game) even though there's no way you could've foreseen such. Not to mention often times just really quite poorly written side-quests. Torment is pretty much the complete opposite: gameplay mechanics are weak, and very little heed is paid to any sort of balance, even down to the lopsidedness of a few particular stats allowing you to basically just talk your way through the entire game (while giving basically nothing to the other stats by comparison)...but the writing is absolutely fantastic and original and there are some pretty good choices and consequences (likely one of the best in any RPG, although even it could conceivably use some improvement, although we're unlikely to ever get anything better given the logistics)...

 

They're great games that I love that both have their strengths, but they also have some pretty glaring weaknesses (Torment more so, in my opinion, than Shadows of Amn, as Shadows of Amn's writing is at least generally passable, while Torment's general gameplay is...generally not)...but if either of them are the "greatest RPG of all time", then I would say that the genre itself has some serious problems in developers being able to develop great AND well-rounded entries that actually wholly exemplify the genre.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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One tip, though Mage (and traditional INT, WIS and CHA builds) are favoured by fairly much everyone, playing with a STR build that has mediocre other stats is perfectly viable, as they will eventually be boosted anyway and unlock the same content. Through the use of a few tricks one can become an absolute combat monster in a very short time, able to take down almost everything in the game single handed, except for hard Rubikon constructs and Moridor. This makes combat far more satisfying, gives a little more late game exploration a reason to exist and avoids the tedium of spellcasting and all those repeated deaths.

 

The writing is very palatable to me, it focuses on the games themes in a very strong fashion, has an absolute ton of foreshadowing, features NPCs and creatures who are really interesting and seem quite lifelike rather than the usual talking signposts of other games, has an absolutely fantastic approach to alignment, and crafts a gameworld that really does spring to life and leaves one wanting more.

 

 

There are a few hipsterish individuals who decry the games writing as schoolboy philosophy and trite attempts at depth, however I don't believe Mr Avellone was a schoolboy at the time, nor was this the intent when trying to reinforce the central theme of the Planescape multiverse: That belief in the Outer planes crafts reality. Personally when I see these accussations the young men who make them always seem more immature than the content they are criticising, trying far too hard to appear as something which they are not.

 

 

I use all of the usual mods, and the better content, but also allow the decrease of stats to 3, which I leave CHA at so that the game recognises Nameless' scarred appearance and barbaric attire, and he is given a wide berth. The Friends spell can rectify this weakness if one wishes to, and one gains a lot of free CHA points during the game anyway.

 

Edit: Best RPG of all time? I'm not sure, Ultima 7 would probably be my pick personally, everything after that has suffered at the hands of the decline and limited scope. Torment, Fallout and Arcanum seemed to carve another path that started back along the road of ambition and variety, but it seems they have been mostly abandoned unfortunately.

Edited by Nonek
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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I really need to get around to playing this game.

To be honest it's only worth playing once. Go in spoiler free and expect lots of awful combat.

 

 

Well to be fair, I've heard praise for the game for it's writing, never for combat, so I still have an interest in playing it. I love New Vegas to death because of it's writing as well as it's RPG aspects, but it gets only modest appraisal from people for it's writing. As such, I'd be very curious to see what the games look like that have absolute critical acclaim for the writing.

 

 

Planescape Torment combat isn't bad, it's just bland.  It uses the same pause and play system as baldur's gate, but you'll mostly be right clicking instead of using any tactics.  It's not as flawed as something like Arcanum or something that's mechanically bad that it may bore you to tears.

People are exaggerating about the amount of combat though.  There is definitely not as much trash combat as Baldur's Gate 2, NWN, or Pillars.  Almost all of it can be skipped, and you're only required to fight 4 battles in the game if you're going for the standard wisdom/intelligence build.  That's certainly better than some of the amount of boring trash encounters that you're forced to fight in the other 3 games I mentioned.

Edited by Bill Gates' Son
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I don't disagree with those top 3. Arguments could be made that Fallout 1>2, but I have always loved both equally. Torment is easily in my top 3, and the BG series (as a whole) is too. I disagree with a great deal of the rest of the list, though.

 

DAO is higher rated than Arcanum and VtMB? Um, no.

 

Diablo 3? Better than 2? I don't know about that. I also prefer 1 for its darker, more gothic atmosphere (at least over 3).

 

I would have put NWN2 higher because of MotB since it is the next closest to Torment in writing. At least imho. Article calls it Shadows of the Betrayer, and that makes me sad.

 

ME2? I... Guess...? It wouldn't be on my list, but whatever.

 

List is missing ToEE, Darklands, and Krondor.

 

Ultima is represented, and that is good.

 

Things I agree with that I feel worth pointing out.

 

Kotor 2 is on there and 1 isn't. This is good. 1 was more polished, but in standard Obsidian fashion the sequels story makes it stand up over time a bit better. Which is what happens with NWN2 and MotB in my eyes. The restoration mod tips the iceberg further. Also, how you gonna make a D20 Star Wars game and not include Weapon Finesse, Bioware? Jedi/Sith are all about that weapon finesse. At least from an RP stand point.

 

Morrowind is on there, but not Oblivion, and it is higher rated than Skyrim. This is the way it should be. I am not a Skyrim hater, per se. I like it, but Morrowind is great. More interesting setting, better writing, you can't do 99% of the game in a single play through. I still play a game of Morrowind every couple of years, but can't get much past killing my first Dragon in Skyrim these days. Also, an arcane archer type character with Levitate is a blast. Bring back levitate, Bethesda.

 

Anyway, yes all RPG fans should play Torment. Build a Mage, and follow a guide online to stat out for conversations. It's a great experience. I play it again here and there because the writing is that good. It has a lot of emotional moments. I will second that the high res mod is great for torment.

Edited by Ganrich
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