You'll love it if:
- You enjoy easy first person shooters.
Not for you if:
- You like being immersed in a new world.
- Good music is a must for you in a game.
- Cringe-worthy dialogue makes you gag.
- You prefer a hero with character development.
What happened to this game? I remember seeing the announcement at the Game Awards 2022 and feeling excited about the prospect. A fantasy shooter from veteran developers of Call of Duty and Dead Space? Sign me up! It sounded like a cool concept. So, how come the result is an uninspired generic FPS with uninteresting characters, a story that progresses like it has a train to catch, clunky gameplay, and a dialogue that sounds like Forspoken’s lost twin?
Immortals of Aveum review TL;DR
Immortals of Aveum is a disappointment on a lot of levels. Storywise, it provides annoying characters and a rushed plot. The gameplay, while serviceable, doesn’t include any creativity in its formula and becomes boring after a while. Last but not least, although the visuals and the voice actors provide a lot of merits, they can’t hold up this below-mediocre game experience. See some footage of it, remove it from your wish list, and forget that it ever existed because I sure as hell almost have.
Story: Everwar? More like Eversnore
Let me take you to the surprisingly interesting world of Aveum. The plane of Aveum is a continent that is separated by an unfathomably large crack called the Wound into five nations. Magic is so strong and pervasive in the plane of the living that even long-floating rivers of arcane origin called Leylines can be observed from anywhere on the planet. The Leylines themselves provide all of the nations with the magic that, at this point, is needed to operate literally everything in Aveum.
Of course, as you’ve already understood, they are the most important military resources that the continent has to offer. And so, for their control, a war was started. A war so long that, by this point, it is called the Everwar. During this continuous conflict between the five nations, only two superpowers remained. The nation Lucium and the nation of Rasharn. And so the battles have been going on for years. With the Magus of both kingdoms harvesting the magic Leylines in three distinct schools of magic, Blue, Red, and Green, the appearance of a specific person that has the ability to master all three schools may as well tip the balance of the war. This is where our main character comes in.
Our protagonist, Jak, lives as a street urchin in the kingdom of Lucium with his sworn friend Luna. Life is tough for the kids, but with years of experience, they are able to get by and survive in the city. Unfortunately, everything changes when their city of Seren is attacked by Rasharn. Luna sacrifices herself to save Jak. Fueled by his chaotic emotions, he explodes with multicoloured magic, realising that he is a Triarch, a magus capable of using all the colours of magic. After being saved by Kirkan, a Lucium magus, Jak swears revenge for Luna and starts his journey as a warring Magus against the nation that took his only family.
The premise sounds extremely interesting, and I’m not going to lie; at the beginning of the game, it is. The problem comes after that. The pacing of the story is one of the most rushed series of events that I have ever seen. It offers the player no time to appreciate and delve into the world of Aveum and drags Jak around like there’s only one hour to live and the Everwar just reached the final stage of confrontation while he was having a quick toilet break. For a story that puts a lot of emphasis on how big of a scale the Everwar is, it sure as hell feels like everything is ending in a few minutes with only the involvement of the protagonist and a handful of people that talk to him on his magical-cellphone orb.
The cheesy dialogue also doesn’t help with the tone of the game. With Jak and almost everyone else (except two or so characters that seem to take the situation seriously) making one unfunny joke after the other, even in extremely tense situations, there is no way in hell I can concentrate and feel the sense of anxiety that the game tries to portray. Having Jak cough out the word “Trap” during a truce meeting between the equivalent of two world leaders doesn’t make the character quirky or endearing. It just completely removes any seriousness from the scene.
Visuals: Good looks but no substance
Immortals of Aveum looks good. It is an Unreal Engine 5 game, and it shows. The natural environments have a crisp feel to them, and the game in general, although not a feast for the eyes, has done the best it can to look good for the player. It also has one of the best motion-captured series of faces I have ever seen. All the characters clearly express feelings and emotions during cinematic dialogues that make the player wonder if they are actually real people.
Here is where the positives stop. Immortals of Aveum has a world that is, unfortunately, visually boring. In a continent of magic and wonder, the generic and mundane pop out to the casual observer way more than in a normal setting. Trees and ruins will be all you see for a big part of the game, with nothing to make you wonder what else this world has to offer. You will have to fight in dozens of generic villages that don’t feel lived in but are accurate representations of their true use, cardboard cutouts. At the end of the day, Immortals of Aveum commits the cardinal sin of not only having an indistinct art direction but also making the player apathetic with how generic everything looks, even in its most magnificent scenes.
Gameplay: Flirting with mediocrity
Immortals of Aveum is a first-person magic shooter. Our protagonist, Jack, can use three different kinds of magic that serve different gameplay purposes. Blue magic is synonymous with precision and calmness. Blue magic bracers mostly work as snipers and semi-automatic weapons in the world of Aveum. Red, on the other hand, goes well with violence and explosions. All your red bracers operate as shotguns and even grenade launchers. Lastly, green provides the most versatile style of combat. Rapid shooting submachinegun-style bracers go hand in hand with slow and powerful railguns.
Jack is supposed to rotate between all three styles depending on what fits his purposes first while doing combat. Unfortunately for the player, this is completely unnecessary. Immortals of Aveum tries to provide the gameplay of DOOM without having any of the parts that make its counterpart the masterpiece that it is. The change between weapons feels sluggish and clunky, making you use just one style of bracer in most of your encounters.
Enemy variety is almost nonexistent. That makes the need to change your approach for different enemies almost nonexistent and, by extension, severely limits the gameplay variety that the player experiences. A simple way to describe the gameplay of immortals of Aveum would be this: Move to an area, kill all the enemies in an area, and move on to the next area. That by itself would be serviceable if the gameplay could provide any kind of enjoyment at any level.
Sound: Magically shooting yourself in the foot
Immortals of Aveum has a competent soundscape and even very good voice acting. I will not lie. The voice acting by itself makes the game way more bearable than it should have been. Professional actors like Darren Barnet (Jack) and Gina Torres (Kirkan) really alleviate what should have been a very cringe-worthy experience based on the dialogue alone.
Here is where we stop talking about the positives. Immortals of Aveum has one of the worst music scores I’ve ever heard in a video game. A slow synth elevator music that keeps looping at all times, completely taking you out of this fantasy world, permeates the soundscape of this game. It got so annoying and immersion-breaking that, for the first time in a decade, I actually had to turn off the music volume completely. A waste of potential and clearly a subpar piece of sound is the only way that this game’s music can be described.
Conclusion: A forgetable game
Immortals of Aveum is a forgettable game that will disappear from everyone’s memory in a short amount of time. It does everything bad, but most of all, it doesn’t have a soul characterising its existence. For its price range, I believe that the content it provides falls extremely short of our expectations as consumers. Keep your money, don’t buy the game, and realise that no matter how many good actors you use, this still is a videogame, so gameplay is KING!