Written for Xbox Gamer Dad | Reviewed on Xbox Series X
Magic has driven the fantastical world of Aveum into decay under an oppressive regime. Replacing guns and traditional weapons with spellbinding gauntlets and sorcery, Immortals of Aveum puts a magical spin on the First-Person Shooter genre with frantic elemental gameplay that literally puts power in the player’s hands to stand alongside a legendary faction known as the Immortals.
Playing as Jak, a teenager pickpocketing his way through the world alongside a group of other youngsters, the emergence of a dormant power awakens within him during the opening moments of despair. Possessing the power of a Triarch, an incredibly rare ability to wield all three forms of Aveum’s magic simultaneously, Jak is unwillingly thrusted into the Everwar, a millenia long struggle for control over the magic of Aveum.
Fast paced gameplay, light environmental puzzle solving and a world full of secrets and new abilities to discover come together in the Ascendant Studios developed adventure that offers a fun alternative to traditional FPS titles that constantly evolves and challenges players to master the magic at their fingertips in extremely satisfying fashion.
Blending a medieval type of world with highly advanced technology sets Immortals of Aveum apart from traditional FPS settings by delivering a world that is unique in its arcane aesthetic and how it is explored. The contrast of styles works wonderfully and sets the stage for Jak’s adventure as one that is consistently unique and exciting.
Jak’s place in the world of Aveum is driven by circumstance, removing him from his humble beginnings in a war-torn society, he is saved by the Immortals during a tragic series of events and cast on the path of fighting on the frontlines of the Everwar with his newfound magical abilities. Rising through the ranks of the Immortals takes him on a journey of self-discovery, uncovering secrets of both sides of the war and learning what’s truly at stake.
Supported by an interesting, well developed and diverse cast of characters, Jak’s companions remain interesting and continue to develop throughout the course of the adventure in ways that meaningfully raise the personal stakes of their relationships with each other while also unravelling their individual parts in the grand scheme of the Everwar’s brutal history and imminent climax.
Playing on the medium difficulty my playthrough of the rather linear adventure took just ten hours, surprisingly short but one that feels perfect to capture the magic of Immortals of Aveum without overstaying its welcome. Riddled with plot twists and meaningful character development the main quest line of the story is just the beginning of what’s on offer, with a wonderful world of hidden secrets and challenges accessible before and after the credits have rolled.
My full 10-hour Playthrough can be found here:
The gameplay in Immortals of Aveum continues to evolve throughout the adventure, with new abilities constantly introduced that challenge the player to juggle and master the magic within via engaging gameplay and puzzle solving. Equipped with gauntlet-like arm accessories known as Sigils, Jak can fire elemental magic in various capacities by alternating by the three core sigils at his disposal. Red magic acts similar to a shotgun with high impact, close range strikes that deal slow but devastating damage. Green magic offers more rapid but weaker ranged attacks and blue magic feels more like single shot assault rifles or high-powered pistols if comparing to traditional FPS arsenals.
Equipping newly found or crafted Sigils based on the three primary-coloured Sigils allows new ways to customise the combat playstyles with varying damage, rates of fire and complimentary impacts such as homing projectiles, explosions and slowing of time. Switching between the three Sigils is the simple press of a button, akin to switching guns. Understanding the diverse variety of enemy types is key to combat as the colour of the enemy or their shields indicates which Sigil will be most effective, for example the red Sigil will deal more damage against red enemies while using blue magic will still deal damage, albeit less than red.
It’s simplistic yet effective and challenges the player to think a little rather than simply blasting through anyone with anything. On top of the standard Sigil attacks, special abilities can be unlocked that deal incredible damage, with one of each Sigil colour becoming available through story progression to pack a greater magical punch to the larger enemy types introduced later on. These require brief cooldowns and can be replenished by using a totem to restore Mana, the magic required to unleash them. As well as these special attacks, an ultimate-type ability is available that unleashes a powerful, continuous beam of energy that combines all three Sigils and their respective types of magic that decimates any enemy found in its path.
Less impactful abilities are also available that allow Jak to use a Lash that can pull weaker enemies up close for intimate encounters or pull him up to larger enemies, a disruption beam that can stagger enemies and a Lumpet throwable that can slow an enemy’s movement. These each have brief cooldowns but with the variety of combat options at the players disposal, managing all of the cooldowns for the different types of abilities is easy given the fast paced and instant Sigil switching nature of the gameplay. Not only can these abilities be used in combat, but they can also be used on specific parts of the environment for traversal, platforming and puzzle solving.
Blending primary attacks from the Sigils, casting the special abilities and manoeuvring the battlefield with snappy movement, a dash ability, hovering and double jumps keeps the action frantic and fast paced at all times. The absence of the ability to mantle or clamour onto higher platforms restricts traversal somewhat, a feature that would significantly improve the ease of traversal. The inclusion of a magical barrier that serves as a shield that can be summoned is a godsend, allowing Jak to play defensive while still casting attacks from behind it. This too has a cooldown after it’s been broken.
The combat is incredibly satisfying and the rate at which new combat elements and abilities are introduced which keeps the adventure refreshing and evolving throughout. Environmental puzzles are rather simple, tasking the player with utilising the appropriate Sigil with their corresponding coloured objects in the environment, opening doors and new pathways that have special chests tucked away with new gear, gold or crafting materials.
Forges are scattered throughout the world where Jak can craft and upgrade gear at the cost of gold and elemental materials found in the wild or dismantle unwanted pieces in exchange for gold and materials. As well as improving his gear, Jak can unlock abilities within a skill tree allocated to each of the three colours of magic by spending Ascendant points, essentially level up points in the traditional sense. Enhancing the stats and passive elements of each of the three types of magic allows the player to truly empower each type of Sigil to compliment their playstyle and preferred Sigil of choice.
Immortals of Aveum is a genuinely beautiful world to explore and experience, packed with gorgeous vistas and diverse biomes, interesting enemy design and strikingly colourful combat encounters. Aveum is consistently vibrant and alive despite the deteriorating state of the world. Punchy sound design, ominous and dramatic scores punctuate the epic adventure from start to finish, highlighting the world ending stakes at play in the power struggle for the magic of Aveum.
Surprisingly modernised language and colloquialisms inject a delightful spin on the high fantasy setting, replacing the traditional old English feel of this type of game with a balance of accents and performances that give Immortals of Aveum a slight edge.
+ Very fun, energetic gameplay
+ Well developed cast of characters
+ Interesting story
+ Perfect length that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome
+ Modernised take on the setting is refreshing
– Missed opportunity with lack of co-op or additional game modes
– Inability to mantle doesn’t make sense
Developed by: Ascendant Studios
Published by: EA
Release Date: August 22 2023
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and PC
* DISCLAIMER: A digital code was kindly provided to Xbox Gamer Dad for the purpose of content creation, and as a member of XBGD, this title was covered by Games of DAYNE. *
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All digital photography captured in-game by Games of DAYNE