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“Immortals Of Aveum” Review


Many of us aspire to greatness…and many of us fail. But sometimes, in failing, we still manage to do something good. It’s something I thought about while playing the ambitious but underwhelming and yet still engaging fantasy first-person shooter Immortals Of Aveum (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC). While it falls short of what would seem to be its lofty goals, what Aveum does offer is exciting combat in interesting places against competent enemies, and that’s enough to make it kind of fun.

Immortals Of Aveum

In Immortals Of Aveum,

a war over who should control magic has raged so long that it’s blinded everyone to another threat, one that could destroy them all. Not that you care. You’re Jak, a thief with minor magic powers, and you’re just trying to get by. But when the war comes to you, killing your friends, it unlocks a power in you, a power you can’t fully control, a power you don’t fully understand, but a power you can use to avenge your friends.

As I said, Immortals Of Aveum is, at its core, a first-person shooter, but with magic instead of guns. But it’s not like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, or one of the BioShock games. Instead, it feels more like playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with a cheat code for unlimited magic if that game was linear and not an RPG.

Or, more accurately, Ghostwire: Tokyo, if that game was also more linear and set in a fantasy realm (though one that’s more like the Renaissance than the medieval-esque The Lord Of The Rings). Like Ghostwire, Immortals Of Aveum has you shooting color coded magic bullets from your hands. Red spells, for instance, are stronger and better at close range, kind of like a shotgun, while blue spells initially come faster, and have more range, like bullets from an assault rifle. Though as you progress, you gain different variations, such as a blue magic spell that’s like a javelin you charge up and throw.

Immortals Of Aveum

You also have combative magic abilities…

in Immortals Of Aveum that are not like those in Ghostwire: Tokyo. For instance, you can pull enemies towards you like when you use Force Pull in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor or your leash in Bulletstorm. And yes, doing this and then blasting them when they arrive is just as satisfying here as it was in those games.

Other magical abilities in Immortals Of Aveum include a fast dodge move, the ability to double jump and even glide a little, and a protective shield that has the added advantage of being see through. You also have an augmented melee attack in which your entire body is trust forward, fist first, and at blinding speed. Which is helpful during a fight…and a bit much when you just want to open a chest.

Then there’s the powerful spells called Furies, which can, say, send out a rolling wave of energy that culminates in a burst of spikes or send a barrage of magical spikes. Though unlike your normal combat attacks, shields, or movement spells, Furies use mana, which you replenish by crushing special crystals. Don’t worry; you’ll find a bunch just lying around, or dropped by enemies you’ve vanquished.

This is also how you replenish your health (albeit, with different crystals). Which you’re going to have to do, a lot. Immortals Of Aveum is one of those games where you’re frequently hurt, but always have a way to get healthy.

Working in concert,

these magical elements make for some compelling combat that’s nicely frantic and often challenging without ever becoming unfair. Your enemies are reasonably determined not to die, and some have some interesting magic powers of their own. There’s even some who’ll remind you of the big jerks from Resident Evil 2 and 3 if their stubbornness could be used against them.

It also helps that the areas where you fight are varied. And rather hazardous. Much like the Death Star, the architects who built structures in Aveum apparently don’t believe railings next to cliffs and ledges save lives.

While Immortals Of Aveum is mostly a magically-enhanced first-person shooter, it has some role-playing mechanics as well. (Though, really, what action games beyond Call Of Duty don’t these days?) Not only can your abilities and skills be upgraded as you level up, but enemies often drop armor and supplies when they die, even enemies who don’t wear armor. Or have pockets.

Immortals Of Aveum

There’s also a conversation mechanic,

as well as the usual economic aspects. Hence why you should break every box you see and take a moment to look around, you might find a hidden passage where someone left a treasure chest full of the gold and different colored essences you need to buy new spells and armor, or to upgrade the ones you own.

But while the combat in Immortals Of Aveum is varied and challenging enough to sustain this game, it has some problems. As does the rest of the game.

For starters, Immortals Of Aveum‘s story is rather pedestrian. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before (well, assuming you’ve read any fantasy novels beyond the obvious). Not that I need much motivation to shoot things in a game — or blast them with magic, as the case may be — but it’s always better when you do.

It also doesn’t help that Jak sounds more like an entitled jerk from our world than, well, an entitled jerk from a Renaissance-like fantasy realm. Or that his voice always sounds flat, especially when compared to his commanding officer, Kirkan, who’s mellifluously voiced by Gina Torres (Firefly, Destiny 2). Then there’s the distracting background characters, who sound like they were recorded from a distance, and on a cheap tape recorder.

There are even,

as I said, issues with the otherwise engaging combat. Because of all the different kinds of magic you use, you don’t use the left trigger as iron sights, which would’ve given you more accuracy when casting your basic combat spells. This is especially noticeable when trying to shoot someone from far away.

Even worse, your regular melee attack is not nearly as effective against enemies as it is against boxes. Which is irritating because, if it was, it would’ve been a really satisfying way to take someone out, especially if you’ve yanked them towards you first.

It’s also confusing how, when you take a hit, the sound becomes muffled and the edges of the screen turn reddish. Especially since, in other games, that’s how they indicate that you’re close to death and should consider using a health potion.

The spacing of post death checkpoints also leave a lot to be desired.

Jak would also benefit…

from wearing more than just 2 rings. I’m not saying he should go full Little Richard, with one on every finger, but wearing just 2 on one hand seems like he’s wasting a good opportunity to, say, add “+20 green magic power.”

Of course, Immortals Of Aveum isn’t entirely combative. There are segments in which the focus becomes more about platforming and using magic to get around. But while some of these moments are interesting, especially when you gain some Spider-Man-like abilities, most of these bits come up short in the same way platforming parts often do in first-person games (see Doom Eternal).

There are also times when you can solve some color-based or Tomb Raider-esque puzzles, or take color-based target practice for a prize, but the payout for both isn’t always worth the hassle of figuring out the problem and executing a solution.

Immortals Of Aveum

In the end,

Immortals Of Aveum aspires to be great, to be revolutionary, to be unique. And it’s not. But once you realize that it’s none of those things, and take it for what it actually is, you’ll find it’s an engaging magical shooter. So much so, in fact, that there were times when, while playing a particularly combative stretch, I’d lose track of time — always a good sign. Which is why Immortals Of Aveum may not be a great game by any measure, but it’s not a failure.

SCORE: 7.5/10



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