The Technomancer Hands-On Preview: Part Technology, Part ‘Mancer, All Action

The Technomancer is the latest title to be developed by Spiders, a French studio known most recently for their work on Bound by Flame, the first RPG to be released on current generation systems. Eschewing the high fantasy setting, this time I stepped into the shoes of Zachariah, one of the titular technomancers that resides on a future colonized version of Mars.

Rather than being able to create my own character from the ground up, The Technomancer’s opening character creation offered enough tools to customize Zachariah’s outward appearance. There were plenty of options to customize Zachariah’s face, hair, and eyes to make each player’s version of the character feel unique.

The opening moments of The Technomancer were as you’d expect of any good role-playing game. There has to be enough world-building and exposition to bring the player into the world without being too overwhelming. I think that Spiders’ has done a solid job of creating an established setting aboard Mars and technomancers feel powerful enough of a force to change the outcome of whichever conflicts the player decides to take part in.

While I didn’t spend all too much time in combat during my brief hands-on with The Technomancer, the few encounters that I took part in felt fast paced and empowered compared to the standard formula for this style of RPG. Often I would swap between my character’s three different stances to take advantage of the diversity in weapons and styles. Even going with the traditional ‘sword and board’ defensive style was enjoyable as each swing had some weight behind it and the visual impact of swinging my weapon across an enemy’s jawline had just the right amount of impact to make it look believable.

There was a special dance of hopping back to avoid a telegraphed attack only to jump right back in and follow up with a pair of quick swings or electrical powers. Combat was never as punishing as something like the Souls series, but there was a special joy to being able to navigate the combat scene and only take minimal damage through proper dodging.

Sadly, my time with The Technomancer wrapped up before I could invest too heavily into the world and story. Much of my experience was spent with a fellow ‘Mancer companion at my side although I’m told there would be plenty of other diverse members to fight alongside, just as in Spiders’ previous work Bound by Flame. Sometimes just the witty banter between companions and the protagonist’s actions can help liven up a somber story and is what I look forward to most in the full game.

My brief preview of The Technomancer doesn't quite do the game the justice it probably deserves, though it is unsurprising since this is a roleplaying game. At first glance, I'm already feeling much more confident of the title than Bound by Flame. It may have been enough to get a feeling for this power struggle on Mars, but there could certainly be something to Mars that's going to take far more than just one hour to discover and experience.

Gamers won’t have to wait long to get their own hands on The Technomancer. Whether you’re playing on a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC, The Technomancer will be available across all three platforms on June 28th. 

Check out the E3 2016 trailer below, and our previous interview with Spiders' CEO Jehanne Rousseau here.

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