Forever or forgotten? Find out in our Immortals of Aveum review.
Over the years, many developers have tried to shake up the First Person Shooter genre by trying to bring something new to the table. This magical new IP, from Ascendant Studios, combines some of the best FPS elements of the last decade and turns it into something fresh with a little RPG sprinkle on top.
Field of dreams?
This is Ascendant Studios’ first game they have developed and with the help of the team at EA Originals, they have gone for a huge leap into the gaming space. So, will Immortals of Aveum spawn a new franchise or be quickly passed over as another generic shooter? Find out in our Immortals of Aveum review ahead!
Immortals of Aveum Review – Story
Immortals is an origin story and as with most origin stories they start with the main character being unimportant or from some sort of slums. You play as Jak, a common thief who along with his best friend Luna, lives with several other orphans in the town of Seren. They are barely getting by when the Rasharn attacks their city and a tragedy changes Jak forever.
These slums look nicer than most cities.
The lore in Immortals of Aveum is quite extensive, which you discover more as you progress through the story. Aveum has been fighting over magic for thousands of years, aptly named the “Everwar“, and now only two main factions remain strong. The Rasharn, led by the tyrant Grand Magnus Sandrakk, and Lucium where the immortals reside. The select few powerful battlemages aren’t actually immortal but use the term to strike fear into their enemies’ hearts. Both sides vie for control of magic and are determined not to let their opponent be victorious.
You can’t be named Immortals without a flying fortress.
This is where Jak comes in, who upon coming face to face with death, explodes with a magical power he never knew he had. This rare individual is known as an Unforeseen. He quickly rises through the ranks thanks to the Immortals leader, Kirken (played by Gina Torres), as she sees great potential in him.
Love the smell of magic in the morning.
With Jak’s powerful new abilities, it’s up to him, alongside the Immortals, to discover Sandrakk’s evil plan and stop the Everwar before Aveum crumbles into oblivion. With most of the story focusing on sharing power and magic, there are a few twists and fun characters to meet which all culminates in an reasonably predictable ending but is a fun ride nonetheless.
Immortals of Aveum Review – Gameplay
In Aveum there are three types of magic: Blue which harnesses force and physical manipulation, Green embodies the power of life, death and growth, whilst Red focuses on destruction and violence. Generally, a battlemage only wields one or two of these, however Jak is also a Triarch Mage, which means he can use all three. Thus, your gameplay is divided between 3 main projectile weapons which come in the form of a Sigil that is essentially a fancy name for your shiny armband.
Ancient stone rock or Stargate?
This more or less translate to types of guns, with blue akin to a pistol, green for a machine gun and red, the equivalent of a shotgun. Whilst not only offering up different styles of combat, they have additional uses for puzzles or taking out enemy shields with the matching colour magic. Sigils even include a “reload” function but don’t require ammunition or the use of mana. In order to heal or regain mana quickly, you have a limited supply of crystals that restore both these.
An enchanted forest with enemies waiting to kill you.
That’s not all you wield though, your secondary magical items help you along your way, again one for each magic type. A Blue ward shield and grapple, a green ‘Limpet” to slow enemies/objects and a red Lens that stuns enemies but also is used to light crystals in order to advance through doors or puzzles. The grapple even lets you travel via the magical conduits throughout the land, known as leylines.
I feel the need, the need for speed.
A few additional powers you control are a blink/dodge, glide and an additional subset of special spells that use mana. You unlock more of these as you complete missions with the ability to upgrade them using your ascension points.
Ascension is critical to upgrade your abilities, with an extensive upgrade tree for each type of magic. Earned by completing missions, side activities and defeating enemies, you have a multitude of upgrade options. Depending on your preferred style of play and which magic you want to focus on, you can pick which section to advance first.
Each type of magic has its own skill tree.
Gear plays another big part in Immortals, similar to RPGs like Destiny or Diablo, there are different levels of rarity for your equipment. Starting from Common, then Rare, Epic and lastly Legendary. You can loot gear scattered around the map in chests or if you need a more urgent upgrade, craft them using money and essence. Upgrade materials and gold can be dropped by enemies or found in more common smaller chests.
Those shiny arm bands do look damn cool.
On top of crafting your gear, you can even upgrade it if you want an extra magic boost or a better particular stat. Your gear includes your three sigils, three totems, two ring slots and a bracer slot for additional augments. Whilst not the most extensive crafting system, it does allow for that extra layer of depth and choice regarding what equipment to invest in.
Can’t have a RPG loot system without legendaries.
Immortals of Aveum Review – Visuals
Immortals boasts the incredible Unreal Engine 5 that perfectly showcases the varied landscapes Jak travels to in his quest to end the war. From depths of a volcano to peaks of a snowy mountain, the game doesn’t relent in its stunning scenery on the broader scope. However, if you look too closely, some finer details aren’t quite as refined. The leylines look they come from the PS2/Xbox 360 era and some lesser character facial features clearly lack effort.
Flying islands? I swear I’ve seen that recently…
The lighting along with this engine is outstanding and really showcases the power of next-gen visuals, however since current consoles are still behind top of the range PCs, the rendering suffers slightly. According to some testing, instead of being run at native 4k, it is upscaled from 720p on both Xbox and PlayStation. Now whilst this doesn’t seem to be a huge drawback, it affects some sharpness in some scenes and would affect players with a larger 4k TV.
Some scenes are stunning.
The frame rate seems to be relatively consistent at 60fps even when in hectic combat situations. Enemy encounters towards the end of the game ramp up in terms of magic flying across the screen as you chase down and use all your abilities to destroy them. On a lesser engine this may be an issue, but here it runs quite smooth and makes battles incredibly immersive.
Time to play floor is lava!
Immortals of Aveum Review – Audio
Even though Immortals is set in a fantasy world featuring magic, the music sets a faster paced tone adjusting to the FPS elements. The soundtrack blends components from orchestral, electronic, and even some hip-hop overtones to bring this modern-day fable to our screens. The full OST from audio director Aubrey Hodges, music producer Jamie K, and media composer Tom Hawk is on Spotify but check out the main theme below to get a taste of what’s in store.
Another large part of this world is the characters and the role they play to pull you into the land of Aveum. The main draw here is the wonderful Gina Torres, who is best known for her intimidating character, Jessica in the legal drama, Suits. Not to mention the cult classic sci-fi series, Firefly, where she plays second in command, Zoe Washburne. Torres does an excellent job as the leader of the Immortals, showcasing her typical strong headed character and one that’s not to be trifled with.
Maybe a Firefly game next?!
Whilst being fairly new to the acting scene, Jak is voiced by Darren Barnet who does a good enough job but some lines come off as slightly juvenile. Plus, most of his dialogue is overly sarcastic which was misplaced in a few of the more serious scenes. You may have spotted Barnet in the new Gran Turismo movie who ironically plays the main character’s rival.
The only other character of note is Sandrakk, who is a fantastic, if not one-sided, villain. Portrayed by Steven Brand, he brings quite a forceful yet elegant characterization to Sandrakk, if a bit generic. A few of the side characters, Zendara, Thaddeus and Rook make up for some great humour filled roles to add some levity to the otherwise dark and world ending narrative.
Remember, no touching of the hair or face!
What Else? – Side Quests, Post-Game, Trophies
Upon completion of the 15-20 hour main campaign (depending on game difficulty and exploration) there are a few things to tidy up around Aveum. Early in the campaign, you get introduced to Shroudfanes, which are essentially an arena style activity to either fight enemies or complete a difficult obstacle course. There are 26 of these side activities to do with 6 of them being post-game bosses that require skill and fortitude to defeat.
Each shroudfane looks like this but the platforms arrange differently.
The only other task is hunting down gold chests strewn across each level. Unfortunately, there is no in game way to locate them but each map shows how many are within that area. Both pursuits give a varying array of rewards, from upgrade points, increased health or mana and even legendary gear.
The local map is quite good but no inclusion of an overworld map was disappointing.
For those trophy/achievement hunters out there, beware of quite a few missable trophies in the campaign. With no chapter select after completing the story, these easy to miss accomplishments will require another playthrough. The rest are quite straight forward but keep in mind you must play on the hardest difficulty, which wasn’t actually too hard and made for some intense battles.
Immortals of Aveum weaves a thoughtful tale of enchanting powers and deadly misunderstandings but is held back due to the FPS genre it boxes itself into. Whilst most of the gameplay is smooth and fun it does get repetitive towards the end against stronger enemies. A more extensive reach into the RPG elements may have been beneficial to achieve an even better finished product.
Will the everwar ever end?
With a bucket load of lore and possibility for an expansive franchise, Immortals has immense potential but suffers from generic story traits and limiting gun type gameplay. This game may not be GoTY worthy but it has more than enough magic to keep you entertained.
So, why should you play Immortals of Aveum?
- You enjoy games with fun and intense combat
- Original story with great voice acting
- Beautiful landscapes to journey through
But why shouldn’t you play Immortals of Aveum?
- Not much replayability and little to do after the campaign
- Writing is slightly campy/over the top/generic at times
- Some graphic elements don’t look as good as the environments
A review code was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our Immortals of Aveum review. If you enjoyed this review and are looking for more action, check out our other FPS reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about more upcoming games!