Fallout and lose the nuclear waste. Take Planescape: Torment and factor out the
interminable dialogue. Add a heapin helping of real-time combat. Mix these
ingredients well and fold them into an entirely original 3D fantasy world, and youve
got Torn, Black Isles intriguing-yet-risky new RPG.
Isle bestrides the PC RPG world like some digitized geek colossus, routinely producing
games that win RPG of the Year (as they have for the last four). Lately theyve been
winning with stunning PC iterations of the AD&D universe, so it seems
gutsy-bordering-on-crazy for Black Isle to turn its back on such a sure thing and set its
next RPG venture in an heretofore unknown fantasy setting. Theres nothing that
demands a deep backstory like an RPG, and it remains to be seen whether players will flock
to a new and unknown world.
Isles betting that the games deep RPG system will overcome such obstacles, and
that eventually the world of Torn will become as well-known as that of the Forgotten
Realms. Torn will use the Fallout series S.P.E.C.I.A.L. character system, which will
allow players to solve game problems in many different ways, from force to guile. This
should make the game much deeper than your standard hack n slash fantasy RPG, and
with a non-linear story line and a deep character generator, Torn may very well become the
thinking mans RPG.
any case, it was nice to see a fantasy world that draws from a mythos other than those of
Tolkein and AD&D. Even the playable races deviate from the usual. While the game does
contain dwarfs, elves, humans and halflings, they dont look at all like the standard
issue ones, and the game also introduces two very unusual racesthe ogres and the
sidhe. Torns monsters are also an interesting combination of the familiar and the
hard to tell how the game will look. Black Isle is using the Lithtech engine to create
Torns graphics, and at E3 they were sort of a mixed bag. Mostly they looked a lot
like Baldurs Gate in 3D, and thats a good thing and a bad thing. However, some
of the games monsters were extremely well-rendered, and we can only hope that the
graphics engine sharpens up as the games development progresses.
hard to make a call on this one. If it all comes together, Torn could be Black Isles
next big Game of the Year franchise; if it doesnt, they could have their first real
flop. Since Im big into originality and risk-taking, Im pulling hard for thembut
theyre facing a lot of competition, not least from their own Baldurs Gate