Planescape Torment (Black Isle Studios, 1999)

I wake up, look around. The place looks like a mortuary. How did I get here? I can't remember. Who am I? I can't remember either.
I look at my body. My skin is grey, leather-like. Completely covered in scars.

“Hey, chief. You okay? You playing corpse or you putting the blinds on the Dusties? I thought you were a deader for sure” says someone. It's a skull. A floating, talking skull. His name is Morte, he says (which means death in italian, by the way). We are locked in the mortuary, he says.

I get up. There's something tattooed on my back, Morte says. Some writings.

I know you feel like you've been drinking a few kegs of Styx wash, but you need to CENTER yourself. Among your possessions is a JOURNAL that'll shed some light on the dark of the matter. PHAROD can fill you in on the rest of the chant, if he’s not in the dead-book already.

If this didn't pique your curiosity, I don't know what will.
Planescape: Torment is, first of all, a story. A beautiful, skillfully written story. And know this: while playing Planescape: Torment, most of your time you'll spend reading. Reading about what happens around you, the places you see. But mostly, dialogues. You will talk to people. A lot. Even to your party members. You'll get to know them. Slowly, baby steps. But once you know them, they'll never let go. They'll always have a special place in your heart. Morte, the floating skull. Annah-of-the-Shadows, the tiefling thief. Dak'kon the githzerai warrior. Ignus the pyromaniacal mage. Nordom the construct. Fall-From-Grace the succubus priest. Vhailor the restless spirit.

Planescape Torment cast of characters

By today standards, Torment probably breaks many of the rules of good game design. Who wants to read wall after wall of text? That's a terrible thing to put in a game. You don't do that. Bad designer. Bad.
That's probably true, but guess what? In Planescape: Torment that works. You crave for the next wall of text. The writing is that good.

There's even a novelization of the game. They basically took all of the dialogues from the game and glued them together with some more text. I know, I read it. And, quite surprisingly, I enjoyed it.

What else? Well, Planescape: Torment is an isometric RPG the likes of which you've never seen before. I't set in the Planescape multiverse of D&D. Never heard of it? Neither did I, so don't worry.
Torment takes place in Sigil, a city located atop an infinitely tall spire at the center of the multiverse. Everything in Sigil can be a portal, connecting to other planes. A place can be a portal. A person, a word, a feeling. Everything. So careful where you step.

Soon enough you'll find out that you're immortal. If you die, you'll wake up in the mortuary as if nothing happened. This isn't just a game mechanic, it's also a plot device. Sometimes, the only way to progress in the game is to die.

Combat is not prominent in Planescape: Torment. You'll get your fair share, don't worry about that. But it's not what the game is all about. If you're looking for challenging fights, go play Icewind Dale. In Torment, you're here for the storytelling. You're here to answer a question:

What can change the nature of a man?

I believe worth mentioning the unusual kind of equipment you'll find in your travels. If you know D&D (or any other fantasy setting really), you'll be used to wearing chain armors, leather armors, plate mails, magical rings etc. In Planescape: Torment you'll find tattoos, earrings and teeth (the only kind of weapon Morte can use).

This is one of the retrogames I didn't have to buy again. Once i bought it, back in the day, I never sold it. Never let go of it. It meant too much to me.

planescape torment box content

The box content isn't particularly inspiring. A quite useless and skinny game manual, the 4 game CDs, and a poster with the game main characters.
A map was probably quite out of the question, considering the morphology of the multiverse.

Chris Avellone, one of the game creators, decided to ride on the wind of the crowd-funding success and started a kickstarter project for a sequel, Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is currently under development. Release date has been postponed several times, but I'm confident in the developer's work. Take your time guys. Good work requires time, there's no going around this.