Where do I start summing up about this game? Well you might say from the start that's the logical place. To do that, we should consider this games origins as it were.
Spawned from not only a fantastic table top RPG setting, TSR's Planescape for AD&D 2nd ed, it is in itself the long awaited sequel to Planescape: Torment, a PC exclusive relate from way back.
To anyone who is aware of any of the above, will know that the Planescape setting is perhaps one of the most fantastical, bizarre and intriguing settings of all. We are talking inter dimensional or planar travelling here and each realm is perhaps more weird than the last. It would be a hard job to capture it perfectly but Torment managed to do just that.
It was made by the same folks that did Baldur's Gate and the excellent Neverwinter Nights games so it came from good stock (Ice Wind Dale was another product too) but it would take some time for a sequel to torment to come our way.
But was it worth the wait?....
It starts with the end..
The game begins in just a bizarre fashion as Torment. The started with the game's main character waking up in a morgue and discovering that he was undead, and his heart was in a box elsewhere. He would be accompanied on his task by a floating, talking skull.
Got it? Good.
This one starts with our hero (or heroine) falling to his doom. He crashes through the roof of a building in a land he does not know but at the same time seems oddly familiar. Our hero must now figure out what's happened too him, and what he actually is. It seems quite possible that our friend is an aspect of a god like being, a cast off or indeed an afterthought.
The rest of the tale I shall leave for you to uncover and unravel for yourself. I have played quite a lot of this and still not learnt all of his back tale.
You are not gifted with a skull for sidekick, but rather two individuals who look at you somewhat differently. The woman takes you as you are whereas your male companion regards you with suspicion.
As you travel talk too them, sway their opinions of you though be warned they can be swayed both ways, and it's likely that your travelling companions will be added too with a fluid supporting cast.
How you interact with them and others you meet, impact on what lies ahead. Upset someone, flatter someone, and they will remember you for it.
This could literally mean the difference between life and death so tread carefully.
There are three types of character you can have, with relevant skill sets. A fighter, a more stealthy rogue type and a magician/mentalist as most 'magic' is actually a manifestation of the person's will.
Each archetype has it's advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses and the character can be modified in many ways, in terms of looks, skills and abilities. There are a lot of options, far too many to sum up here. Some skills are active, others are passive but all need a pool of points to work that are exhausted as they are used.
There are ways of course that they can be replenished and many vendors and fallen enemies will be able to supply them.
Your assistants have skills too, and they can use these abilities to boost your own in both battle and social interactions. Get to know them well and see where they can best suit you.
If you think this is another Balder's Gate.....
Then think again. Whereas that game you fight constantly and the battles are not that tricky to begin with at the start, be advised unless you have invested your time in exploring and learning skills, you will struggle to win battles at the start.
Pick your fights carefully, more often that not (especially in the early stages) your wits and words could well be your best weapons. Mind you if you die, you are brought back to life. Hey it seems that you are the product of a God's mind after all....
Remember your characters can not only fight with you but aid their own bonus skills to boost your own. But remember whatever you do engage the brain cells first.
It's one hell of a journey.
This will take some time to play through and the options to replay it with different character types as well as gender will have you coming back to it. Try playing through it with a different character class, influence different people and see what happens the next time. This is NOT easy and you will find it's a long journey but with patience and perseverance you will get through it and on the way will be surprised, maybe even shocked a little.
It is not all black and white, many times you will be walking a thin line and realise that there are a lot of ambiguous grey areas to engage and perhaps perplex you.
I have to be honest. If you are not familiar with the original game then perhaps it will be a good idea to try and find a copy and experiment with that first. Diving straight in, you may well find its a little too bizarre and strange.
It's almost like playing a darker version of the afore mentioned Baldur's Gate but only written by Michael Moorcock or Roger Zelazny. I also suspect that this may well put some people off it, and it will not be to everyone's taste.
It's bizarre, has a nonlinear story line and has a visual style all of it's own. However once in, it has the potential to pull even the most dubious in, but you will need patience and an open mind.
A hack and slash tale this is not; it's a cerebral quest with a distinctive take on the genre all of it's own.
As I know the setting I'd say it would class as a must buy but bearing in mind it's style and how it may look to newcomers then I'd say worth a look or at least a try first. If you are a newcomer then I'd say try and find Planescape Torment first if you can find it. This is not a direct sequel, just a new tale in the same setting.
Now excuse me, I have to try and see where my road takes me now...it's going to be one heck of a trip.....