11 - Finished Planescape: Torment

This is the last entry about playing Planescape and will be followed by my thoughts and final opinion on the game.  It took quite a while, but I’m happy to have seen success with this system and my ability to keep up some semblance of a posting schedule. I’ve gotten over 1,000 views and am feeling pretty good about the project. I just wanted to say I appreciate all readers and thank you, even if you are just reading in passing.

Now, onto the game.

Are you sure we’re ready?

[This is the final portal.]

Things have come full circle. We find ourselves next to the slab where we started the game, staring at the final portal. Joined by my comrades in torment, we prepare to enter and find the truth. Trias told us that to activate the portal, The Nameless One must tear a piece of skin off and write your regret in blood. Painful, but necessary.

[The last cover up is revealed.]

[I like you too, buddy.]

A wonderful scene occurs in which all of your followers re-affirm their support of you, some more poignantly than others. Morte is particularly emotional when talking about your current incarnation compared to others. This resonated very heavily with me as you will see next entry. After having been through Hell and high water with The Nameless One, Morte is finally standing at the end of a terrible era. He’s dealt with craziness, overbearing practicality, evil, good, and just about any other point on the spectrum of human emotion. The fact that, after all of this crap, he will follow me into almost certain death was a bit emotional as a player. Well done, game.

After circling our wagons and making sure everything is ready to go, we stepped through the portal into…

The Fortress of Regret

This is the real endgame and, unlike the rest of the journey, you can die. We become separated from the rest of our party who must all fight for their lives in this place that should not be. Deposited outside, I ran across the ghost of Dionorra for the last time. She tells me that the nature of my immortality lies in the life of others in that when I die, another’s life is taken in trade for my resurrection. Since we are on a completely different plane, too many deaths will result in the true end. New mechanic. I also took the time to tell Dionorra that I understand what happened in the past and, even though I don’t love her, I care for her as a broken piece left from a former incarnation. I didn’t feel much of a connection with this plot thread, though, as it was too far removed. Maybe I’m just a terrible person.
After that, we step into the last area of the game: the interior of the Fortress of Regret.

The entire map of the area contains almost no interactive points and is a mad dash from shadows that are produced as a result of every death you have had. This is not, of course, a reflection on your performance because you’ve already had an uncountable number of deaths before rising for the first time at the beginning of the game. Of course, the more you do die during this portion of the game, more shadows will appear as a result.

After entering the fortress, we see a cut scene in which the Transcendent One who taunted and killed Ravel earlier seduces Ignus to fight against us. He was a tenuous ally anyway, and now it looks like he has become my enemy. Now we are free to wander about the fortress, although this is not advised because tons of shadows you cannot even HOPE to defeat all of are chasing you around trying to rip you apart. It now becomes a giant game of tag that is, somehow, not nearly as annoying as Curst, the outlands, or Baator. In the course of the mad dash, I found a hint left from myself that indicated that activating a variety of “war machines” that look like futuristic canons. After touching these, you witness a cutscene in which each of your allies falls to the Transcendent One defending you to the death. This is pretty affecting as most of these followers (Especially Morte and Da’akon) have seen both the best and worst in you and still care enough to die for you. I liked this part until I thought back from the end, which is weird and I will touch on later.

After activating all the war machines, a portal opens into a chamber containing a crystal and Ignus who is waiting to light me up. This was a tough battle and I was able to last through his tough spells until we duked it out fist to flame. I was not at all sorry about killing Ignus because his madness/lack of characterization made him very difficult to empathize with. Luckily, this is the only character this happened with. I touched the crystal, fell into darkness, and found myself…

Three’s company, but one is better.

…in a room facing three of my former incarnations: the original super-practical personality that initially wanted to be immortal, a crazy incarnation with multiple personalities and schizophrenia, and a purely good incarnation. This part of the game seems to represent reconciling with your past and accepting your wrongs. Pretty deep stuff for a game, right? This will also be discussed next post. The point of this scene is to talk to, understand, and convince each incarnation to become one once again and own your past. The good incarnation is easy as he is willing to join you for the greater good of life and move on. The practical incarnation is very tricky and wants to absorb YOU so that he can remain immortal and continue on the journey. He was pretty cunning, but was luckily full of hubris. He thought his mind was stronger than me, but because of my insanely high intelligence (25), he had hoisted his own petard and became trapped in his own mind while I absorbed him.

The final incarnation, crazy man, was a bit trickier to absorb. He had left the encoded journal in the sensate hall and admitted to killing the language master. Because of his paranoia, my character chose to talk to him in the secret language he learned to trick the ‘other voices’ in order to speak privately. Because of this, he became calm and acquiesced. I’m glad I read that journal because I am pretty sure the only alternative is to fight him melee and, let me tell you, he is tough. I tried it out and died repeatedly. If you ignored that puzzle box, I hope you were a fighter.

[I guess the Nameless One was a psychotherapist in a past life.]

[With our new knowledge we can use the sphere.]

[The name. Sorry about missing assets, this happened a lot.]

After becoming whole again, we move to the final part of the game.

The Real End

Here we are folks. The end. The final part. And, even though I was very happy to finish my first game for the blog and get to a new genre and setting, I was a bit sad that such a great game will be over. I haven’t been able to flesh it out for you to see very much, but the game is so rich in dialogue and writing there is no way I could do it justice in this blog. I encourage you to go play it immediately. Get it from GOG for the best version or dig out those CDs again. It’s really a unique experience and is so meaty that I’m sure I missed well over 30% of the game that is just as good as what I experienced. I’ll talk about it more in the next blog, but just know that I had a great time and now it’s time to end it.

I found myself on a platform floating in void, inky blackness all around, with my allies lying in the center. Dead. I approached the Transcendent One for the final confrontation.

If you hadn’t guessed by now, the big boss of the game is the physical manifestation of my mortality which is, apparently, neon green. This was really awesome. I asked why the TO was trying to kill me and it stated that as long as we are separate, it cannot die. It can literally live forever, as can I, as long as we are separated. Once we are joined and die, however, it is all over. Or, of course, I could kill it and that would be the end as well. Here lies the choice.
You are able to end the game in several different ways that range from good to bad:

Bad: Remember that blade made for us by the golem in the siege tower ages ago? Yeah, it’s still there and can be used now that we are in a plane separated from the others. Doing this kills you without your immortality so, even though you enter oblivion, it is a state of undeath that is torment in its own way. This movie rolls if you get that ending.

Ok ending: If you choose to fight the Transcendent One, you are in for a huge battle that is really tough. I didn’t even try this because I was not specced for battle and would have gotten ripped to shreds. It is very possible, however, and is met with this ending vid.

I chose the best ending. Remember that bronze sphere we got for Pharod that I picked up? It was actually a deactivated sensory stone that one of my incarnations had knowledge of. When I used it, it revealed the entire past life I had originally lived as well as my true name. As we know, your true name is power, and with it you can do almost anything. (Hint: Don’t ask what the name is because they never tell you what it is, much like what’s in Marcellus’s briefcase in Pulp Fiction) Using this name, I threatened the TO with the power associated with it and commanded him to rejoin with me. He did, and I was greeted with a cutscene and the ability to die.

[I know what you are.]

[Let's stay together.]

Before passing on to the lower planes (Some lives were pretty horrible), we have final conversations with the recently resurrected companions. I was not sure how this worked in terms of a story beat because it felt like a cheapening of the deaths that occurred earlier because the stakes were raised and then destroyed for seemingly no reason.  What it is, however, is simply a goodbye from all the characters and the chance to say any final words. I wanted to focus mainly on Morte because he seemed to be the most similar to my character. Living without knowledge of his past (He forgot how he died and his living memories after being in the pillar of skulls) and going from one nightmare to the next with you. I enjoyed this the most followed by an emotional goodbye from Annah whom I romanced earlier. It didn’t go further than making out, but I’m kind or glad because sometimes sex in games can seem weird and awkward, much like real life. Get it? Anyway, the cavalcade ended and we are left with the final cutscene: The Now Named One descending into the lower planes as a complete being to continue onto whatever comes after.

[Goodbye Da'akon.]

[See you, Morte.]

[The end.]

What's next?

The next entry will be my feelings on the game and how it touched a very personal part of my life.  It will come shortly and be followed by the announcement of the next game. Sherlock Holmes will not be happening because of motion sickness that I mentioned last post, so we’ll have to go a new direction.
See you next time.

--Backlog Killer