Immortals of Aveum Never Ascends Above Its Obvious Inspirations | Video Games

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The storytelling has a similar lack of thrust, as long cut scenes detail a war that’s increasingly difficult to care about. The great Gina Torres of “Firefly” and “Suits” is a nice familiar face in the interstellar combat, but I checked out of this “chosen one” narrative relatively early. And the very structure of the game is often poorly considered. There was more than one time in which a cut scene ended, I walked down a hallway, and another cut scene unfolded. That’s just silly. We can’t be doing that in 2023.

It doesn’t help that the game’s world-building is thin, presenting the player with landscapes that look underdeveloped in design. Some of the later settings have more vibrancy, but the early ones blur together, especially in a year when so many games gave us fully realized worlds that felt like they had secrets around every corner—“Star Wars: Jedi Survivor” and “Diablo IV” are just two games that take setting more seriously.

Character design is also an issue here, with waves of enemies that are largely distinguishable merely by the color you must match to your spell to defeat them. “Immortals of Aveum” runs out of ideas early. The final boss fight is even a replication of one from a few hours earlier, an encounter that glitched so badly that the bad guy froze and let me pummel him in the face with magic for a few minutes to defeat him. (At least he presented a bit more of a challenge in the end.) There are a few puzzles to solve to open doors that break up the monotony.

Having said all of that, I would totally play a sequel to this 18-hour game, believe it or not. My criticisms could be ironed out with more time, love, and care in the development process. Give Jak more likability, present him with strong supporting characters, refine the gameplay, and put more detail into the settings—there is a foundation here on which to build. The team at Ascendant is clearly talented enough to do so, and I’m excited to see what they do next. And would gladly play “Immortals of Aveum 2.” Or maybe I’ll just play “Bioshock” again.

The publisher provided a review copy of this title, which is available now.


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