Thursday, July 25, 2024

The Technomancer is a Fine Blueprint for Focus Entertainment Games.

( I’ve touched on Focus Entertainment’s Vampyr and The Surge and we’ve explored reviving Outriders but amazingly, we’ve never touched on The Technomancer. It’s interesting because we went into what made Kairosoft such a great studio on mobile and one of those three strong features is the gameplay formula.

Focus Entertainment has taken to that same mantra in several games. Vampyr actually plays similarly to The Surge. It’s something I noticed from the UI, skill tree progression, and even more obviously: combat. There are elements that Focus Entertainment likes in its games and developers within its family of publishers and developers such as Spiders, Cyanide, Giant Software, Don’t Nod, and Deck13.

 Technomancer game.

The Technomancer is the Blueprint for GreedFall

Actually, The Technomancer was the blueprint for most of the publisher’s action RPGs. Released in June 2016, it’s a sci-fi story set in a dystopian Mars taken over by large corporations with power and influence of governments. Countries and settlements hinge on the favor and backing of these mega-corporations.

A large part of these companies’ ability to amass such power are the technomancers: basically superhumans who can wield fantastic and destructive powers. They are often trained from childhood in how to use their powers as well as receiving weapons, hand-to-hand, and stealth combat training. They are then utilized as super soldiers for the corporations.

They do this with the knowledge of their origins and how they are destined to be weapons of war. However, there is hope in your character Zachariah becoming a kind of heroic leader who gathers a group of able adventurers and fight against the overlords.

Except, that’s just part of his story. Really, the fights with the mega-corporations are a side effect of his interactions and decisions as well as the need to protect the technomancers’ secret.

This is a game with a lot to its adventures and it serves as a blueprint in that sense as well. GreedFall has a lot of lore to it and features both the relationships and alliance relationship mechanics of The Technomancer. In TT, you have to manage your relationships with your teammates as well as with different factions on the island.

A few things impact these factors. Conversational choices and decisions in related side quests for a character. You tend to get a boost to the relationship just by completing their side quest favorably. As for the factions, they each have some quest for you and avoiding violence with them helps.

However, having too strong of a relationship can impact your standing with another force since certain outcomes can impact their standing on the island. Also, all characters are associated with a faction and assisting those groups can reflect favorably.

These features are all polished in GreedFall and has a few similarities to the relationship system in Vampyr.

However, it just works for the games published by Focus Entertainment. This is the third must-have feature for action, action-RPG, and any open-world game the relationship system. The first is the nemesis system from the Shadow of Mordor/War games and the other are the turf wars from GTA Vice City Stories and GTA San Andreas.

Just think: the civil war in Skyrim could’ve played out better with a stronger focus on fighting over and defending turf constantly. You could say the same about the faction conflict in Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 3, and Fallout 4.

Black Marks on The Technomancer

The Technomancer isn’t without flaws as it’s a game that doesn’t feel like a fully polished game at times. I’d say this is often down to the combat early on. At times the dodging can be mediocre while the attacks become more impressive as you level up and invest in attributes and skills.

Oh yeah, can’t forget that Focus mechanic: multiple-point systems. When you level up, you get two kinds points every other level. There are points for natural attributes and points basically for skills. GreedFall would expand on this system and it would be featured in other action RPGs from the publisher.

Let’s just call it Focus-type skill trees. Again, they have a type of game they like to put out and those games work for them. However, a common negative across their action RPGs is this failure to fully grasp dodging. In several Focus games, dodging becomes such a difficult skill to pull off at times, it ends up becoming the most important thing to master.

This was the case in Vampyr with that game’s movement being stiffer and far from arcade-y and the dodging being mediocre for its often close-range combat. At long-range, the dodging was decent. The same can be said about The Surge. In The Technomancer, dodging can be a bother at any range but it depends on the enemy.

Also, it depends on your combat build and gear. You’d think that would make sense but it actually seems to just compensate for blah dodge mechanics. The blocking is fine. It’s very weird because you’d think it would be uniform for a specific part of a mechanic—defense.

Even more weird is that this seems to be an issue with other Focus action RPG titles where you really have to learn the combat mechanics. With that said, if it becomes familiar in The Technomancer, you’ll take to other titles smoothly. This could be the source of my frustration with Vampyr early on. While I’ve played TT in the past, I didn’t connect that they were similar in some ways down to the combat.

Have you played The Technomancer? What did you think of it and is it worthy of a sequel? Let us know in the comments.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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