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Immortals of Aveum Review

A less than magical world full of RGB

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When publisher Electronic Arts launched their EA Originals program over 8 years ago, it was an interesting business case. The company would assist smaller studios by finding their projects and releasing them under the label, but the developers would retain the rights to their IPs. It gave studios an opportunity to unlock a large publishing budget without entering into any hostile and binding agreements. The program has been decently successful in terms of the quality of the games that have been produced – with the likes of It Takes Two and Unravel. But things appear to be shifting, as the program is moving away from the typical smaller scale experiences and moving to something more grandiose. Earlier this year, Wild Hearts tried to become an alternative to Monster Hunter, and now Ascendant Studios are able to make their debut through the EA Originals program with Immortals of Aveum. Sadly though, bigger doesn't mean better.

Immortals of Aveum

Immortals of Aveum is a first-person shooter that takes place in a world of magic, instead of bullets. The world of Aveum has been locked in a civil war for centuries, as the kingdoms of the land are in constant battle over the control of all magic. There are just two kingdoms left in the fight, and the endless conflict has seemingly caused the Wound, a bottomless chasm in the center of the world. Players assume the role of Jack, a thief surviving on the streets with a few friends. While he has basic magic abilities, he refuses to join the war. But one night after the enemy faction invades the city and kills his friends, in the midst of anger he unleashes a powerful magic blast. A military leader named Kirkan from his home kingdom observes this event and recruits him into the army. Now driven by a need to avenge his friends, Jack agrees and the story skips five years. The conflict continues to rage, but Jack is eager to help his kingdom win and join The Immortals, the elite battle mage squad. He eventually succeeds, but not before a new narrative thread begins to unravel that threatens to unleash devastation on the world and give the enemy full control of the source of magic.

Despite the rather original setting, especially for a first-person shooter, the narrative setup in Immortals of Aveum is quite basic, and you will see its few twists coming from a mile away. For the most part, the story is actually undone by its weak writing and terrible dialogue. The writing suffers from a variety of very contrived situations where things happen because they need to setup the next beat of the adventure, and not because they make sense in the immediate situation. There are a number of occasions where the boundaries of magic power are unclear, and how much it's able to alter the world. The game loves to host lengthy cutscenes full of exposition and character names, magic locations, and heavy lore, but it's all extremely unengaging.

But the real culprit is the dialogue. Much like a number of higher-budget cinematic games released in recent years, the title suffers from an extreme case of modern Marvel-style dialogue, where everyone is trying to be as cool as possible while also attempting to joke around and curse excessively. This sort of writing continues to undermine games where it’s used, and doubly so for those with a fantasy setting. Having a character named Jack (also highly generic) constantly try to make jokes filled with modern day slang and cursing completely takes you out of the experience, and whatever lore or atmosphere the game tries to establish. The writing pedigree is illustrated with exchanges such as, "Wow, I feel invincible! Take it easy, you are still vincible", and "This is some real end-of-times sh*t". With a few contextual changes, the dialogue would suit a realistic action game that takes place in today's world – no magic required - and it would have still been just as annoying.

Immortals of Aveum

The amount of storytelling is honestly a bit surprising, as FPS games are not known for trying to cram in a bunch of lengthy exposition. It feels as though Immortals was heavily inspired by another EA title, namely Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but it doesn’t work as well with an FPS. The pacing is all wrong, with lengthy sections of combat followed by times you run around the central tower of military command just pressing F to talk to characters and open doors. There are even the cliché moments of slowly following someone else while they continue to drone on. The game also manages to cram in a dialogue selection feature that pops up infrequently and has you decide what optional information you want to know about, or even respond to others under a timer; all of it feels entirely out of place and for whatever reason you can't use a mouse cursor to make the choices.

Just as the story and writing is average, skewing towards poor, so is the gameplay. The game borrows a bunch of elements from elsewhere, but does nothing to make its implementation original. For the entire game, Jack has access to three magic types that serve as his guns – red, green, and blue. That's actually what they are called, as the game couldn't be bothered to come up with a name despite the heavy lore elsewhere. You are able to quickly swap between the three, and the idea is that some enemies are either vulnerable to, or have a shield of a specific color, so you must match that color when shooting them. Further, each of the three colors has a different feel – the blue magic is like a DMR, with single shots and focus on precision; the green magic is like a medium-range SMG with rapidfire; and the red magic is shotgun-like. It's nothing groundbreaking, but the game does a decent job of rotating you through the three magic color types.

The attributes of your weapons will further change as you find new equipment over the course of the story. Rings and other slots produce passive stat bonuses, while equipping new sleeves into the weapon slot of each type will affect the damage, rate of fire, and reload times of that magic. So the green magic can go from a fast-firing SMG to something more akin to a minigun that needs some spin-up time. You may have to deal with a surprising amount of recoil on some of the sleeves. Also, because the red and blue magic types are single-fire weapons, and end up being the most useful in combat, Immortals actually has a clicking fatigue problem that's rare these days. Particularly in the final hours of the story, where you're forced to blast at heavily armored enemies and bosses for what feels like an eternity, it gets seriously tedious and borders on Cookie Clicker.

In typical encounters, enemies spawn in the area of the level you're in, and on regular difficulty they are dispatched within moments. The first round of combat always feels trivial as foes perish within just a few shots; but elsewhere, spike damage is a very real problem. Mid-level and end-level boss fights will take out half or more of your health bar with a single attack sequence, and suddenly you're forced to dash around and use your shield ability. Healing only happens manually by pressing the corresponding key, and you can only carry a few healing crystals at a time. The action constantly flips back and forth between easy fodder and annoying enemies with huge pools of health. Combat definitely needed quite a bit more balancing and consistency.

Immortals of Aveum

Regardless of what magic type you're using, the action feels entirely weightless and lacks impact. The war is waged against soldiers of the enemy magic faction as well as some supernatural creatures. They usually have a melee or ranged attacks, and move around quite swiftly. There is a slight sense of aim assist, but otherwise it's up to you to track and eliminate targets in typical FPS fashion; just instead of bullets you are shooting magic beams or orbs – though you still need to do reload animations/pauses. You can also jump, hover briefly, dash, and produce a shield to block some of the incoming damage. You also equip Totems that add special abilities such as a whip that can draw enemies close to you, a beam of energy that disrupts enemy spells, and a green glob that slows down enemies. Over the course of the game you also unlock powerful magic attacks, such as various colored blasts of energy that are meant to do high damage and have a magic meter that depletes with each use. This meter, like health, is refilled only by manual action from pickups.

Many of these abilities and movement options are used outside of combat, when traversing the mostly linear levels and dealing with occasional platforming and exploration. You will often have to cross large gaps either with the double jump or by using the grappling Totem to latch to specific spots in the environment. Progress is linear, though there are sections where you must figure out how to climb higher, or find color-coded pigments to shoot so a door opens. While you can return to areas later through a teleporter/gateway-filled world map, and open some previously locked rooms, it doesn’t feel worth doing. Occasional very brief side-paths will contain chests with gold and crafting materials. As mentioned earlier, you'll find new gear and be able to dismantle or improve it at forges scattered around the map, with gold and red/green/blue materials needed – and many material bundles are found in the optional hidden chests. Crafting new items from scratch is also possible, as is improving the gear you already have. Gold can be difficult to come by when you need exuberant amounts for end-game crafting. The crafting and inventory system is very straightforward and doesn't add much to the experience.

The level design is decent at least on your first trek through, and gets better over time. You will encounter scenarios like being chased by an invulnerable enemy through underground caves, climbing tall interior library rooms to clear magic debris, and other neat set pieces we won't spoil. From fiery lava caves to snowy areas and typical green pastures, the visual variety is decent, if very predictable. One constant annoyance with platforming is that the game doesn’t have any sort of ledge-grab mechanic, so you have to clear the landing surface or fall to your doom.

Immortals of Aveum

You earn experience, too, and with each level gain an Ascension which is basically a skill point. The points can be assigned to one of three skill trees – you guessed it, red, green, and blue, in accordance with each weapon. The upgrades mostly improve the power of each magic type and associated abilities, reduce cooldowns, and so on. It's another unremarkable implementation of a very traditional mechanic.

The title is powered by Unreal Engine 5, but using the latest version of Epic's engine actually results in more harm than good. The game's PC system requirements are astronomical, and even on low settings the game began to seriously chug during the bigger battles. Low settings was all that our test PC could afford - AMD Ryzen 7 5700X, AMD RX 6700XT, and 32GB of RAM - though the game at least has a neat feature that shows you which visual settings will affect CPU and GPU performance. And it's not like the visuals are worth it anyway – the art design is rather generic, and the technical presentation – from effects to textures – is average at best. The magic-infused particle effects from combat looked better a decade ago in Infamous: Second Son. Some of the cutscenes look nice, with quality lighting and facial detail, but nothing about the game screams "visual showcase". In fact, given how uninspired some of its design and narrative choices are, an onlooker could mistakenly think it's just an early and unoptimized UE5 tech demo that just happens to be a full length game.

Immortals of Aveum is an unfortunate miss for debutants at Ascendant Studios. Despite the power of EA Originals and Unreal Engine 5, the final product is a largely uninspired shooter that's let down by its simple mechanics, unsatisfying gameplay, dull and contrived story, and even worse dialogue. The fact that this is a full priced, 10-12 hour game further hinders its prospects as at least a curiosity for fans of unique worlds and FPS experiences.

Our ratings for Immortals of Aveum on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
65
Decent but uninspired visuals, voice acting, and music.
Gameplay
60
Repetitive and weightless shooting that needed better difficulty balancing. Some of the levels are entertaining.
Single Player
40
A contrived and shallow story with even worse writing, that doesn't fit the magical setting at all.
Multiplayer
NR
None
Performance
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700X
GPU: AMD 6700 XT 12GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
PC Specs

50
The game has outrageous system requirements that it doesn't justify in either mechanics or visuals. Still runs into framerate issues even when using settings it recommends.
Overall
55
Immortals of Aveum may have an interesting premise, but with a dull story, repetitive gameplay, and poor technical performance, this full priced first person shooter lacks magic.
Comments
Immortals of Aveum
Immortals of Aveum box art Platform:
PC
Our Review of Immortals of Aveum
55%
Mediocre
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Immortals of Aveum is ranked #1807 out of 1988 total reviewed games. It is ranked #97 out of 101 games reviewed in 2023.
1806. South of the Circle
PlayStation 5
1807. Immortals of Aveum
Screenshots

Immortals of Aveum
9 images added 322 days ago
Videos
Immortals of Aveum - Teaser Trailer
Posted: Dec 9, 2022 19:28
Immortals of Aveum - Reveal Trailer
Posted: Apr 13, 2023 21:28
Immortals of Aveum - Gameplay Trailer
Posted: Apr 20, 2023 22:22
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