Immortals of Aveum is a brand-new IP that enters the FPS market and quickly sets itself aside from other franchise like Call of Duty with the biggest difference being there are no such things as guns, only magic. I was looking forward to the game as the premise does look very interesting and with it being published under EA Originals, would hopefully be a strong showing.
The story takes place in the fictional world of Aveum where multiple factions fight over the control of magic in the Everwar. By the time of the game, there are only 2 factions left fighting, Rasharn lead by the big bad Sandrakk (played by the great Steven Brand) and Lucium where the titular Immortals come from and the side your player character fights on. Speaking of the player, you take the role of Jak (Darren Barnet) that decides to join the fight when Rasharn attacks the city where he and friends live, and you can guess the rest. This also introduces you to the fact that you are an Triarch and can use all types of magic and an Unforseen, a mysterious and unknown entity that develops their magic significantly later in life.
While the story does take a bit of real-life touches such as the prejudices that the Magni, powerful magicians that normally come from royalty, have towards the Lightless, those who have little to no magical power. This does show the class difference that you can basically find anywhere in the world and while not the full subject of the game, does drive certain characters and their motives in the world. This can also be seen as the character starts off living underneath the city of Saren, right above the Wound, a bottomless hole that stretches across the world and anyone falling in and will be lost forever all while avoiding the corruption that grows all over the world.
As you progress in the story and eventually join the Immortals, the best and strongest of the Lucium Magni, in the battle against the forces of Rasharn, you start encountering various characters. None of the characters come off as unlikeable as their motivations and decisions are clearly set out and even the more hostile team members start getting a bit likeable. The Immortals consist of General Kirkan (Gina Torres) leader of the Immortals, Zendara (Lily Cowes) Jak’s field commander and Devyn (Antonio Keel) another member of the Immortals that acts very much like the joker of the group and has a comment to say about everything. While there are more, these are the ones you mainly have interactions with as the story progresses or stick out the most among the various characters.
The story does a great thing of setting up the gameplay, which is the the real meat of the game. As mentioned previously, Jak is a Triarch so he can use all three kinds of magic which is separated into 3 different colours: red, green, and blue, which are respectively called Red, Green and, guess what, Blue magic. This does make it easier to follow as there are no big fantasy names for each so actually makes following the different kinds of magic easier.
Each type of magic differs vastly from each other, and this also affects the style of play. You use a tool called a sigil to focus the magic power, witch each colour having different sigils. Depending on what sigil you pick, it also changes the type of attack with the colours of magic. The blue sigil can have 8 shots, but they pack a weaker punch, equivalent to an assault rifle in a military shooter, while another blue sigil has less shots but deals more damage at a greater range like a sniper rifle. Red sigils are more close combat magic, and the sigils can fire a large radius shot that acts like a shotgun while others release a single powerful blast like a grenade launcher. The green sigils also vary and could be compared to SMG’s as they are faster firing (casting?) but deal less damage while others allow you to charge up an attack and fire everything at once.
On top of the sigils, you can learn other spells called Furies that are basically powerful spells that use mana but tend to deal larger amounts of damage or can break shields or other abilities of the enemies. Blue abilities are normally used to pulling enemies closer to you using the magic leash or break an enemies shield with a mass of rocks popping out of the ground. Red abilities can be used to disrupt enemies casting spells and does some damage or blasting away any enemies that are close to put some distance between you and them. Green has a few more uses outside of combat as the magic item allows you to slow down items that are glowing green or alter things like bending tree roots or statues to cross over gaps and such. These are normally part of exploring the landscape or progressing in the story.
While the game is not an open world and follows a linear style of story telling with it being separated into various chapters, it does encourage exploring as you can find various treasure chests containing items or resources. It also encourages to do some back tracking every so often as you start to learn different spells or collect items that allow you to explore areas that were out of reach beforehand. This does mean you can run through the entire game in about 10 hours or so if just playing the story but around 25 hours if you go about exploring the world and taking your time in the various challenges, called shroudfanes. These tend to provide health or mana upgrades allowing staying longer in combat and using Furies more often.
The soldiers of Rasharn make up the various enemies you fight, each utilizing a different type of magic, since most mages can only use one type as Diarch and Triarch mages being very rare. Blue is normally used by archers and marksmen to attack from range and shielders that try and protect them but can engage in melee combat if close enough. The basic soldiers. Called Nightblades, use red magic to attack and deal damage at close range with the larger Brutes being able to push the player around while dealing massive amounts of damage if hit. The grenadier lobs big green balls that explodes after a while and allowing them to heal themselves or others. While the enemies are not that dangerous by themselves or in singular groups, they normally attack together and this can result in a tricky fight as the melee enemies charge in and the range enemies attack and stun you from a distance, forcing you to defend and attack at the right time or take cover while wating out a barrage of spells. Not all enemies are humanoid as there are a variety of different creatures that inhabit the world or can be summoned to aid in the war efforts by the correct mages. These tend to also favour a colour of magic so also need to be handle with the right attack and defence.
As you defeat enemies, complete quests, and find some of the golden chests and flying coloured wisps, you get experience points that you can use to level up and then assign the points to talents. These talents are separated by colour as well with each tending to contain passive abilities or boost the basic sigil or furies attack power. There are a total of 80 talents spread across the three colours, allowing you to create a playstyle that suites you. Stronger talents do require you having a certain number of points in the colour to unlock but there are others that require a mixture of points between 2 different colours.
To further augment your play style, you can equip a variety of gear, 2 rings and a bracer, that can increase spell abilities, damage, reduce cooldowns or increase defence and as mentioned early, there are a variety of different sigils that can be equipped. The most basic of rings just increases a certain colour of magic with the more powerful ones contain other abilities like mentioned before. There are a few ways of getting gear like construing it using the magic resources and gold in game as well as finding them in golden chests scattered around the world. If you happen to find an item that is only marginally better than your current one, but you much prefer it, you can also upgrade the gear to increase the attributes to be more powerful. This is done using the same resources and gold as well. In the event of getting the stats you want; you can also purchase upgrades to hold more health or mana stones. Although they can be plentiful in the game with me having one of each throughout the game and never running out.
After seeing the trailer for Immortals of Aveum, my first reaction was “That looks pretty fun”. My second reaction was “I hope it’s good” and thankfully, it is. I had a blast playing it, the combat is fun and makes you feel like an actual powerful wizard, blasting away any poor souls that dare to challenge you. The story also does not feel like a massive cliché and all the characters are likeable, with some very cool designs to boot. Overall, it is quite a first outing for Ascendent Studios and really looking forward to what they can further. And while there is a plethora of issues on the PC version, there was barely any issues besides for a single crash on the console version so do hope they can sort them out so others can experience the game properly.