What is The Technomancer?
The Technomancer is a futurist action role-playing game in which you play as Zachariah, a young man fighting for survival on the planet Mars. Mankind has colonised the planet, and companies have been established, each fighting for control over the precious water supplies that are left. As Zachariah you explore the different areas on Mars, making allies as you go, and defending yourself from both the monstrous hybrid creatures you encounter, and rival companies who try to kill you. This game is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
How do you play The Technomancer?
The Technomancer is a single player game, with a focus on becoming stronger and more skilled, as you complete quests, take on more and more difficult enemies, and play through the game's winding story. You earn experience from completing quests and defeating enemies, granting you points to spend on improving talents (such as lock-picking and crafting) and your overall fighting abilities. You also collect materials by looting defeated foes, and opening boxes found throughout the game, using the materials you find to craft better armour and weapons. You can also have up to two other computer controlled characters join you to help you fight. As the titular Technomancer, you can fight with a variety of weapons, such as a gun or mace and shield, and use spells that let you manipulate electricity, and fire lightning bolts at enemies. You can also create a force field around yourself that knocks your attackers back when they strike.
How easy is The Technomancer to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, the Technomancer is a fairly complex game. Some quests in the game are timed - one involves travelling through a desert area from one city to another under the cover of darknesses. If you can't complete the trip before the sun rises, you'll receive too much solar radiation, so you need to get undercover as quick as you can. Although The Technomancer is a sequel of sorts (to Mars: War Logs), it's set 200 years from the last game, so the main storyline is new, and there's a handy explanation of where you are, and why you're there given in a short scene at the very beginning of the game.
The Technomancer is fairly easy to pick up and play, and provides you with a range of optional tutorials that guide you through the basics of different weapons, allowing you to get a feel for one that suits you. If you lose a fight, you'll be forced to reload from the last point at which you saved the game - although you can save at any point, so long as you're not under attack (so it's best to do so regularly!) At some points the game does save automatically, but it's also best to do it manually to make sure.
The game is fully voiced, and there is also the option for subtitles. A reading ability, however, is required to read through your quest log to remind yourself of what to do, or where to go. However, there's also a mini map on your screen which shows markers of where to go next for a quest.
There's a range of difficulty levels on offer (Easy, Normal, Hard, and Extreme), however, we found the Easy mode was still a bit tricky, so it's probably best to start there and then scale up as you go along, especially if you're new to games.
There is a lot of strong swearing in this game. Almost immediately we hear Zachariah shout "F*ck off Alan!" and the word f*ck is used frequently throughout the game. There is fairly regular moderate sexual content in the game as well, with scantily clad prostitutes being the main example. There is no option to engage with their services, but there are storylines that discuss their trade, and they'll make provocative comments as you stroll past. The dialogue between characters sometimes also contains innuendos, mostly sexist remarks from men. There is a quest which involves protecting a female shop owner from brutish soldiers, who aren't directly discussing raping her, but their discussion heavily implies that they intend to do so. Luckily, this doesn't actually happen, as you arrive in time to stop them.
While there's a lot of fighting in The Technomancer, it's not particularly graphic. Weapons don't have realistic impacts, but when someone is hit they do stumble back and cry out in pain. When you defeat a person they don't immediately die, they just fall to the ground. However, you do have the option to kill them.