#1 Edited by Heycalvero (96 posts) -

I bought Planescape on GOG for its acclaimed story and played something like an hour. So far, the main character and plot setup do seem interesting, but the very old RPG tropes and visuals are hard to get through in 2014 (for me at least).

I was wondering if there is a particular point in the game in which one might say: "If you're not hooked now, you won't be ever". I will probably play more of this, but games like it usually start slow and have a point where they turn around in some amazing way. Would be cool to hear opinions on this!

Thanks, duders.

#2 Edited by coaxmetal (1623 posts) -

I can't think of a particular point where that happened for me, even though it is my favorite game. I think I just got hooked at the start. Wrt graphics though, make sure you are playing with the widescreen mod + also fix packs from http://www.gibberlings3.net/

Also get Dak'kon if you haven't.

e: oh, also, become a wizard.

#3 Posted by Veektarius (4865 posts) -

I can only tell you that I put in about 10 hours years ago and never reached a point where I became engaged. I'm undoubtedly more patient now, if I were to try again, but basically all I recall about it is an ugly world, lousy combat, and huge blocks of dialogue.

#4 Posted by BeachThunder (11986 posts) -

For me, it was at least several hours. The game also took a few tries for me to get into it.

BTW: I would say that it is essential that you put everything into Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

#5 Posted by DiamondDog (62 posts) -

I'd say to give it at least 2 hours, the game really does take some time to open up. Like others have said, pump everything into charisma and wisdom, or you'll miss some of the best stuff.

#6 Edited by Tall_Guy (3 posts) -

It was hard for me to start playing this game in 2008, and I'd imagine that it'd be even more difficult for me now. Give it five hours. The combat is awful, but once the story starts to open up and you start to open dialogue branches with your party, you'll really start to enjoy it.

#7 Edited by Kovie (202 posts) -

Planescape is a bit of an odd affair, it's downright fascinating with it's narrative and also the way it connects with how you play the game. For something as cliche as a plot revolving around amnesia is in the video game world, holy shit is it ever remarkably unsettling in Planescape. I've had a save of the game sitting around for quite a few months now, so I still haven't seen the thing through, and I can't say that I'm very much drawn to the CRPG genre, but I do think it's kind of an amazing game, of course qualified.

The combat is really a convoluted mess for no reason, and it confuses me dearly when you hit sections and all pacing is removed, where you're just reading dialogue for something like an hour, seemingly because the game is designed expecting the player to just skip most of the many available conversations and side-missions. On that note, it's really weird because it is a game where (to the best of my knowledge) you can just sort to play it a certain way and miss out on most of the notable stuff (stats, conversation choices, and other weird little things lead to narrative paths and intrigue), so that's kind of weird - I got the impression that it's built to facilitate missing interesting moments (and I guess the expectation that you'll be clamoring to replay it), instead of, you know, directing you at them or whatever.

I don't know, my perspective on the game is skewed in a lot of ways. I restarted it something like 5 times before I mustered the patience needed and felt okay with the first hour or so. It really does demand patience. It's also kind of fun to just make saves and experiment with how different situations can play out, I guess what that means is that your entertainment value will probably be dictated by how much you're willing to give the game.

For me the best moments of the game (so far) have just been learning more about the main character, which requires a certain diligence (and I guess it helps to have good non-combat stats?) to actually see a major portion of. There were some specific story moments that I really liked, but it'd be undermining to spoil them.

e: oh, also, become a wizard.

I was totally a wizard, and I completely regret the decision.

#8 Posted by NmareBfly (67 posts) -

@veektarius said:

I can only tell you that I put in about 10 hours years ago and never reached a point where I became engaged. I'm undoubtedly more patient now, if I were to try again, but basically all I recall about it is an ugly world, lousy combat, and huge blocks of dialogue.

If 'huge blocks of dialogue' are something you consider a problem (which I assume because you listed it after two clear negatives) then you will never reach a point where this game will engage you. Torment IS huge blocks of dialogue. I'm not saying this to knock your preferences -- but it's best to think of this game as a visual novel and not a standard RPG. No mechanics in the game are as important as the writing.

#9 Edited by Humanity (9375 posts) -

Planescape is a much better story than game so it's more a question of just how interesting do you think the plot is. Interesting enough to plow through some questionable game design?

If you do plan on going through with it then let me tell you that it's a very unique and quite satisfying story. Also from a gameplay perspective two things will help you out - be a Mage and dump all your points into intelligence. That and talk to everyone constantly - and be prepared that they'll have plenty to tell you. Being a Mage somewhat trivializes combat later on as you become insanely powerful and having a ton of intelligence unlocks more dialog options which help to flesh out the story and learn more about your companions.

#10 Posted by Zelyre (1207 posts) -

@veektarius said:

I can only tell you that I put in about 10 hours years ago and never reached a point where I became engaged. I'm undoubtedly more patient now, if I were to try again, but basically all I recall about it is an ugly world, lousy combat, and huge blocks of dialogue.

If 'huge blocks of dialogue' are something you consider a problem (which I assume because you listed it after two clear negatives) then you will never reach a point where this game will engage you. Torment IS huge blocks of dialogue. I'm not saying this to knock your preferences -- but it's best to think of this game as a visual novel and not a standard RPG. No mechanics in the game are as important as the writing.

Pretty much this. Planescape took story telling in this format to a new level. However, the world is purposefully ugly and the combat never gets any better. The huge blocks of dialogue are what made this game good to the people who enjoyed it.

It's a very polarizing game, and if you don't like the text I don't think there's anything that can redeem Planescape for you. I was in my late teens/early twenties when this game came out and even hardcore me resorted to a character editor so I could blow past combat.

#11 Posted by Salarn (465 posts) -

Are you using any of the mods to boost the resolution and do 16x9 support? That helps a load with the 1994 visual.

#12 Posted by BeachThunder (11986 posts) -

@salarn said:

Are you using any of the mods to boost the resolution and do 16x9 support? That helps a load with the 1994 visual.

1994? Are we thinking of the same game?

#13 Posted by Corevi (3581 posts) -

I highly recommend using the Widescreen Mod to make the game look much sharper.

Other than that give it 2-3 hours and if you don't like the writing at that point then it's not for you.

#14 Edited by flasaltine (1675 posts) -

The widescreen mod is great. Also, the character sprites are big enough so you can set it to 1080p and still be able to see what is going on. On other IE games like BG2 if you set it to 1080p all of the characters are like ants. I personally think the visuals and graphics in the game are great due to the pre-rendered backgrounds, but that is just me. There is also a fantastic UI mod by ghostdog.

#15 Posted by SoulHarvester45 (25 posts) -

I give most games about an hour or two before I decide if it's worth my time or not. For open world/RPG games, I do at least a few main missions and a bunch of side missions.

#16 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1264 posts) -

I consider Planescape: Torment to be one the best games ever made so keep that in mind with everything I say. Putting a time on the duration It'll take you to "get" what the game is about is practically impossible since that'll almost completely depend on how fast you read and decide while engaging with the primary gameplay element: unprecedented, highly interactive dialoge that tells an ambitious story that evolves as you interact with it!

The game starts in a mortuary which contains all the "tutorial" and setup you're going to get. Definitely get out of there before stopping. You'll end up in Sigil, the game's main hub. Here everything starts opening up in a big way. Explore, get a feel for all the factions, meet more characters and so on. If you've been at it for a while and truly don't enjoy the setting or are getting fed up with the dialoge, chances are you're not going to enjoy P:T, I'd say. Eventually events are going to push you towards a character called "Ravel" and that marks the point when you'll first get a clearer view of crucial plot points aside from countless tidbits hidden everywhere in the game at all times.

The mortuary is absolutely your obligatory first RPG dungeon. The final stretches of the game get surprisingly focussed and linear as well. Everything in between pretty much happens in Sigil with very few restrictions on what you can or cannot do at any given time.

#17 Posted by Discoman (167 posts) -

Plot wise, it is a fantastic game. The combat is absolutely terrible and frustrating. Being a wizard is good in that its the only class that rewards you for wisdom/intelligence, which enhances the game and dialogue options. Other than that, the Wizard is probably the most frustrating class in the game; you can only cast spells once a day, which means you need to rest to actually do anything. Sadly, this is not balanced in combat, and most of the spells are crap anyway.

It would be nice if the game got tweaked or remade, just for the combat alone.

#18 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11791 posts) -

I would heavily suggest glancing at a walk through (there is one on GFAQs that is fantastic). The beginning of planescape is a bit of a confusing mess since it dumps you in the world and says "Find Pharod, kthxbye"

Also make sure to install widescreen mods, unofficial patches, etc. If the writing doesn't grab you then it's not like the combat will make you stay.

#19 Posted by BBAlpert (1486 posts) -

I would heavily suggest glancing at a walk through (there is one on GFAQs that is fantastic). The beginning of planescape is a bit of a confusing mess since it dumps you in the world and says "Find Pharod, kthxbye"

Also make sure to install widescreen mods, unofficial patches, etc. If the writing doesn't grab you then it's not like the combat will make you stay.

The first time I played, I got an hour or two in, wondering when certain core mechanics (like magic) were going to be introduced. I later found out that I'd just not spoken to the right people at certain points. I would imagine (or at least hope) that there would be other chances to get spells later on in the game, but it ultimately didn't matter as I hit a game-breaking bug/crash soon afterwards.

Something about the way I'd set up the game on Dosbox or whatever caused the game to freak out and grind to a halt (and then crash) when some particle effect was used in a cutscene.

Online
#20 Posted by Hugh_Jazz (354 posts) -

The very first bit of the game is also the worst bit. Once you've found Pharod and have gotten back to Sigil proper, that's when I tend to think the game gets good for real.

#21 Posted by thomasnash (557 posts) -

The very first bit of the game is also the worst bit. Once you've found Pharod and have gotten back to Sigil proper, that's when I tend to think the game gets good for real.

I think all of the stuff withh Pharrod is probably the real test. That's the first really involved bit of questing iirc, and also the point where the story hooks really start to make themselves known. So yes, once it's over, the best is yet to come, but at the same time I feel like if you really hate it after that, you might not like anything after it any more...

#22 Posted by OldGuy (1561 posts) -

Hehehe... I love seeing complaints about older games "not explaing how things worked." Older games had these things called "manuals" that were big, thick, spiral-bound things made of paper with words on them. The GOG verstion comes with this stuff and, just like the game, it's wordy - if you don't like reading a lot, this is not for you.

For the record, I never found the combat bad, but I've been playing CRPGs since Ultima 1, so...

#23 Posted by Corevi (3581 posts) -
@oldguy said:

Hehehe... I love seeing complaints about older games "not explaing how things worked." Older games had these things called "manuals" that were big, thick, spiral-bound things made of paper with words on them. The GOG verstion comes with this stuff and, just like the game, it's wordy - if you don't like reading a lot, this is not for you.

All you really need to know from the manual is basic operation, the rest is actually well explained.

#24 Posted by august (3846 posts) -

Don't trust the skull.

#25 Posted by OldGuy (1561 posts) -

@oldguy said:

Hehehe... I love seeing complaints about older games "not explaing how things worked." Older games had these things called "manuals" that were big, thick, spiral-bound things made of paper with words on them. The GOG verstion comes with this stuff and, just like the game, it's wordy - if you don't like reading a lot, this is not for you.

All you really need to know from the manual is basic operation, the rest is actually well explained.

Really? Oh. Well, I haven't played in forever (despite it being one of my top 10 games - I should fix that) and I did just rearrange a bunch of games and the manual (while not Falcon 3 size) is substantial...

I stand corrected (and I'm waiting with baited breath [c'mere beasties] for Tides of Numenera!)

#26 Posted by JBG4 (415 posts) -

I played it when it released. I enjoyed if from the start... Games, RPG's spevifically, have changed so much over the years that I can see how if would be tough to play for the first time now.

#27 Edited by Jeust (10676 posts) -

Personally I would instead read the free novelization of the story, possible to download from: http://www.wischik.com/lu/senses/pst-book.html

It's not as personal as the game, as it presents a fixed story and playthrough, and not all the possible dialogue, but is an representative and awesome ride as the way it is.

#28 Posted by HarlechQuinn (449 posts) -

@humanity said:

Planescape is a much better story than game so it's more a question of just how interesting do you think the plot is. Interesting enough to plow through some questionable game design?

If you do plan on going through with it then let me tell you that it's a very unique and quite satisfying story. Also from a gameplay perspective two things will help you out - be a Mage and dump all your points into intelligence. That and talk to everyone constantly - and be prepared that they'll have plenty to tell you. Being a Mage somewhat trivializes combat later on as you become insanely powerful and having a ton of intelligence unlocks more dialog options which help to flesh out the story and learn more about your companions.

I would second this and further recommend this modding guide.

#29 Posted by Heycalvero (96 posts) -

Thanks for the awesome replies, duders, I'll make sure to give this a try. P:T seems like at least a very relevant game to video-game history.

I installed the mods and they really are essential.