Overall - 70%
Immortals of Aveum is a worthwhile and interesting spin on a genre that is renowned for its lack of drive and innovation. It features an engaging and rewarding combat system backed up by an excellent narrative in a fleshed out and immersive fantasy setting that wouldn't feel at all out of place in a Netflix show.
The debut title for independent AAA studio Ascendant Studios, Immortals of Aveum looks to shake up the stagnating FPS genre as a “single-player first-person magic shooter” that’s set to “defy FPS conventions.” An FPMS, if you will. Not sure that will stick.
Immortals of Aveum Review
While plenty of indie games offer interesting takes on fantasy-style FPS games, there aren’t all too many from the AAA space, most looking to stick to the tried and tested COD-style formula. It’s familiar, safe, and it sells. Immortals of Aveum looks to brave new grounds with a story RPG fans will love, but with a combat system that is FPS right to the core.
Immortals of Aveum follows the journey of Jak, a young man from the slums of Seren. The world of Aveum is rife with conflict as the two opposing nations of Lucium and Rasharm fight for control of the magical ley lines that power the very fabric of the world. Jak is an Unforeseen, an individual with latent magical powers. He later becomes a Triarch Magnus, one of a group of very rare magic wielders that have the ability to harness all three of the magical elements.
I’m never one to dive heavily into the story aspects of a review, as each additional detail has the potential to spoil one plot twist or another. I will say the Immortals of Aveum story is up there with some of the very best the FPS genre has to offer and while that bar is pretty low, its a memorable adventure.
All too often, FPS games give the narrative a backseat, an afterthought, giving way to the traditionally fast-paced nature of the experience. Immortals of Aveum’s narrative sits front and center of the journey and will keep players on their toes from start to finish. While some of the facial animations – alongside tongues and creepy eyes – felt a bit off-putting at times, the cast and voice-over work is stellar. Gina Torres steals the show, but the entire cast gives a memorable performance for relatable and intriguing characters.
This is very much an FPS game, I cannot stress that enough. It has some RPG-like elements, character progression, and large open areas to explore, but it never really fully dives into the RPG ethos. There’s nothing wrong with that; the game is described as a single-player FPS game and that’s exactly what you get. I guess the magical elements, which are both forefront of the combat and the story, just left me searching for that RPG hook. I can’t actually recall the last magic-based game I played that wasn’t an RPG, and that’s where Immortals of Aveum’s true appeal lies.
The action is fast, flashy, and challenging; so much so that I had to drop the difficulty on a number of occasions. Having very little time to dedicate to a single genre of game nowadays, it often takes me a few hours to get back into the swing of the FPS style of combat. This was very much the case with Immortals of Aveum, but after the first few hours, I really started to love the combat. It’s an experience you won’t find in many other games today, especially in the AAA space.
The combat centers around dealing three different types of elemental damage. Force (Blue), Chaos (Red), and Life (Green). Each magical type has its own unique attacks and abilities, and some perform better against certain enemies than others. Within each of these types of magic are several other categories of ability, including Strikes, Control, Furies, Augments, Dominions, I finished the game with around 25 different spells and abilities, and therein lies the games most challenging aspect.
The combat is very akin to Forspoken in that it is easily approached in one of two ways. You can get through the game just using the basics, the barebone abilities designed to dish out damage. While somewhat effective, this method never allows the combat system to truly shine, becoming monotonous very quickly. However, if you have the patience and skill to truly explore the different abilities and spells on offer, you can finish challenging fights with a level of satisfaction rarely seen in this genre.
While the game does suffer from a lack of enemy variety each enemy has weaknesses that, if exploited, can turn a challenging fight into a far simpler one. Slowing down speedy enemies with Limpets, Lashing distant enemies to pull them in close, blowing through enemy armor and shields; it’s a combat system that will reward the most skilled of players with a hell of a good time. However, for those that see every problem as a nail, using the same hammer over and over again won’t bring this games strengths into full view.
For much of the game, I really enjoyed the rapid switching between different magical abilities, explosive finishing moves, and overall fast-paced design of the combat but as the hours passed, I did find myself resorting to just throwing out my highest damage bolt at whatever stood in my way. There’s a level of fatigue with the combat that sets in after the 15-20 hour mark that I just couldn’t shrug off.
Enemies, that when first introduced were an exciting challenge, became frustrating and predictable, and trying to target anything specific during some of the flashy animations became a game of complete chance. The combat visuals are fantastic and each spell looks unique and impressive, but it’s often at the expense of actually being able to see what you’re shooting at.
The Immortals of Aveum formula is a simple and familiar one. Linear story missions introduce new areas as you fight through and clear out enemies before taking down a number of bosses. Once an area is cleared, new abilities and paths of exploration become available in an almost Metroidvania-like approach. The boss battles are epic, even with the over-the-top flashy combat animations. I can’t recall a single dull boss battle, with each ending with a giant sigh of relief and a subtle mumble of “hell yeah.”
This is a synergistic approach for players, offering both the easy to follow satisfying nature of a linear story and a more open-world approach to exploration and rewards. You can completely ignore all of the side content and just stick with the story, following the journey of Jak and friends with minimal distraction. Likewise, you can spend hours exploring some of the larger regions, solving puzzles, and finding new gear. The gear upgrades are strong if somewhat uninspiring, but they do a lot to make Jak a formidable opponent.
Aveum’s landscape is beautiful and offers some fantastic views, many of which make the exploration component worthwhile alone. The puzzles, while simple in design, capture that perfect balance of being hard enough to feel rewarding but never too difficult to the point of swearing at the TV in frustration, and that’s coming from me. I hate puzzles.
Immortals of Aveum is a worthwhile and interesting spin on a genre that is renowned for its lack of drive and innovation. It features an engaging and rewarding combat system backed up by an excellent narrative in a fleshed out and immersive fantasy setting that wouldn’t feel at all out of place in a Netflix show.
in Game Reviews
in Game Reviews