The Technomancer Review

Big Corporations are running Mars with an iron fist. Water is the most valuable commodity on the planet, contact with Earth is considered to be the stuff of ancient history, and a shadowy cabal of space wizards- sorry, no… Technomancers – are trying to keep the peace. As new recruit Zachariah Mancer, you’re tasked with uniting a ragtag team against evil. Largely through sloppy combat and insipid dialogue trees.

Combat in The Technomancer relies heavily on a dodge/parry into a counterattack system seen in plenty of games since the Arkham series, and is universal across the three playable classes. You can either go into battle with a dagger and a pistol, a huge staff, or a mace and shield combo, switching between them all on the fly depending on the situation. That’s the theory anyway; the reality is much more infuriating.

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The gun and dagger combo offers a weakened damage output which seems to make its inclusion pointless in comparison to the other two classes. The staff has the best damage, but the dodge move associated with it could be described as a drunken shambolic lurch towards the nearest Tequila bar. It’s like a Friday night in Liverpool all over again. So by process of elimination, the bludgeon and board is the only viable strategy. Being able to block attacks makes for a much easier experience; especially when dealing with strange alien bug beings.

However, there’s a level of inconsistency that permeates through the combat that’s completely inescapable. In order to stop enemies from having their way with your internal organs, you have a “disrupt attack” move; usually this amounts to the world’s most disorientating lovetap, which is frankly absurd. Taking a staff full-on to the face does nothing to halt the momentum of a charging thug, but one well placed boot will send your would-be assailant crashing to the floor. It shatters any sense of reality that the game is trying desperately to create.

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Navigating the trials and tribulations of Martian combat wouldn’t be such a drain, though, if the plot and characters weren’t devoid of any semblance of personality. Technomancer seems to be shooting for a cross between Mass Effect and The Witcher, but when Zachy-Boy is compared to Commander Shepard or Geralt, he doesn’t stack up. He’s a charisma vacuum, adrift in genre filled with much more engaging protagonists.

His merry band of misfits aren’t much better either. Mild spoilers here, but one of the characters shows clear disdain for traitors, but after the villain labels you as one, they’re perfectly happy still being best buds. Perhaps it was the moral choices which affected this outcome, but it still makes no sense.

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Really though, The Technomancer is a disappointing experience because there’s some unrealised potential. The RPG elements, the crafting and equipment upgrades are thorough, and there’s enough there for you to find a build which suits you. There’s also your Technomancer abilities, which basically amount to various kinds of Darth Sidious-style Force Lightning, which can turn the tide of battle.

But the base combat is sloppily thrown together, the graphics are not up to scratch, the story is bland and the voice actors seem about as uninterested as the player. You might be trying to save Mars, but you’re better off escaping it. Better still, don’t even go in the first place.

The Technomancer is available from the Xbox Store priced £44.99.

Have you played The Technomancer? Let us know your opinions in the comments below!

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Get your ass away from Mars.
  • 5/10
    Overall - 5/10
5/10

Summary

No amount of space techno-wizardry, or Technomancing, can save this game from being a mess of poorly implemented ideas, monotonous gameplay and boring characters who’d much rather be doing their weekly shop than saving Mars. The greatest takeaway from The Technomancer is that not enough has been made of the interesting premise and setting, and there’s so much unrealised potential as a result. If you’re an avid RPG fan desperate for some space magic, then you may find some joy in The Technomancer, but for everyone else save your money and wait for Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Ashley Bates

Full time bearded man of Xbox One UK, and also a Senior Editor. Self-appointed Fighting Game Hype Man, because no one else on site appreciates the art of fisticuffs. Catch me on Twitter @donovan_ryder.

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