A Review of Immortals of Aveum

Ashley_Buckwell
edited August 2023 in Gaming

Immortals of Aveum is the upcoming debut title from AAA indie studio Ascendant Studios and published by EA Originals. Ascendant Studios is an ambitious game developer led by CEO and Game Director Bret Robbins, who was also the Creative Director of Visceral Studios’ Dead Space and several Call of Duty games. Publisher Electronic Arts have been hyping up Immortals over the past few months as a single-player, first-person shooter that takes place in a world full of magic.

Essentially, in Immortals, you have magic spells in your arsenal instead of guns. Familiar yet different, the game is difficult to characterize: it has a little bit of everything. It is a high-octane looter-shooter set in a lore-dense fantasy world, and it will no doubt be a matter of balancing out the colorful battle frenzy with moments of peaceful exploration to give each aspect some time to shine. 

Immortals of Aveum developers: Ascendant Studios

Immortals has been a new challenge for a brand new team of developers. The title “indie” generally conjures up images of small studios carving their own path with innovative ideas and eye-grabbing concepts. It certainly doesn’t make you think of big-budget productions standing toe-to-toe with industry juggernauts. Although technically defined as an indie studio, a team with full creative control and no external parties in which to oblige, don’t let the label fool you; Ascendant Studios has approximately 100 employees, and Immortals certainly looks like a big-budget game.

Storyline and gameplay

Storywise, Immortals has a relatively basic plot. You play a magic user, Jak, who has been recruited into the army of a large faction that is trying to push back the armies of another faction that seeks to dominate the planet of Aveum. Jak is an Unforeseen, someone who develops their magical abilities later in life than is normal.

Within this world, there are technically five factions, with three of them basically being side-plot material while the other two duke it out for dominance and the fate of the planet. For lack of a better term, you represent the good guys in all of this. You were discovered on the streets by a woman, General Kirkan, who becomes your mentor and who trains you to become a soldier in her army. You are taught that there are three types of magic in the world that are connected through ley lines, which you can see blanketing the sky. The three forms of magic are Force (blue), Chaos (red), and Life (green). Each form of magic has its own flair for power, with distinct characteristics and limitations. As Jak, you will use these different types of magic through a device on your arm.

A host of nonplayable characters are introduced as the game progresses that paint a picture of the state of the world and the war at hand. The narrative in the game is a significant highlight of the overall experience. Although action has its moments in the spotlight, Ascendent Studios has done a great job of laying out the rules of this world without overly lore dumping.

Gameplay mechanics

Being a first-person magic shooter, the game primarily features fast-paced combat action. As a battlemage, you use magic as a weapon with the help of a Sigil—the wrist brace–like harness you wear. You can upgrade your Sigil to hone three core spells, and you can develop Talents to help tailor your “weapons” to suit your preferred playstyle. 

While the action is very much the focus of the game, Immortals also features some light RPG elements, such as crafting gear, equipping new types of armor and magic conduits, and building your skill tree in order to create your own version of Jak. It’s not possible to fully max out the skill tree, so this means you have to be mindful in how you spend your points across the three magic disciplines. Light puzzles require you to use your magic abilities to access credits and other rewards. These aren’t meant to stump you, but it’s great for pacing the overall levels, so you’re not faced with constant back-to-back battles.

When navigating the environments, exploration is rewarded with new weapons and credits. Still, movement is fast when the action ramps up, so you need to always be prepared for combat, such as by being conscious of your “ammo” and cooldowns. Even though we’re dealing with magic here, “weapons” do need to be reloaded. There are three weapon types to cycle through, and functionality depends on the equipped weapon. Some sacrifice ammo capacity for power, and vice versa. Blue spells are for ranged attacks, red spells serve as your heavy short-range attacks (similar to a shotgun), and green spells are for autofire and projectiles.

You can also Blink from place to place, or use a magic Lash to pull enemies closer. Fury powers draw from a limited pool of mana and give Jak short-term special abilities. Between reloads, you can use other battle options, such as a grappling hook, melee, or special attack. As a result, there’s a flow to combat that makes everything appear fluid and satisfying.

Graphics and design 

The game is built in Unreal Engine 5.1 and will be launching only on the latest-gen consoles and on PC. The minimum system requirements are hefty. For 1080p/60fps gameplay, you’ll need a machine with at least the following specs:

  • Intel® Core​™​ i7-12700 or AMD® Ryzen​™​ 7 5700X processor 
  • 16 GB RAM 
  • NVIDIA® GeForce RTX​™​ 3080Ti (VRAM 12 GB) or AMD® Radeon RX​™​ 6800XT (VRAM 16 GB) graphics card 
  • 110 GB available disk space

The demanding system requirements make sense once you see the game in action. Showcased at Summer Game Fest 2023, Immortals looked gorgeous. Its cinematics were particularly impressive: the motion capture was smooth, and the character models were finely detailed, with delicate eye markings and layers of gear. The clarity of the cutscenes made it easy to get lost in the dialogue and the ravaged fantasy world of Aveum.

Perhaps the most impressive element of Immortals is the exceptional scope and scale to the levels. As one of the first major-publisher games to release using Unreal Engine 5.1, you world obviously comes across as very large.

Unique artistic choices have been made to represent the different forms of magic and make sure they look distinct, something that's extra important due to the lack of traditional weapons in the game.

A flaw in the graphical design of Immortals that will hopefully be addressed is the extent of the game’s visual noise. The battles can be extremely chaotic, with all the magical spells and explosions going off. Spell projectiles produce cascading particle effects that blanket every encounter in colored light, which hampers visibility while never returning weighty, impactful feedback from direct attacks. The excessive visual noise can make gameplay more difficult than would otherwise be warranted and can lead to framerate dips depending on your hardware.

Outside the ongoing light show, the world design in Immortals is varied and detailed. The world is vast, as is the scale of the ongoing Everwar. Massive colossus-like statues are dramatically positioned throughout the world, and floating enemy warship carriers bear down from the heavens with reinforcements. Environments are finely rendered, featuring crumbling architecture, geometric formations overgrown with exotic flora, and high-tech gates nestled among quaint mountain cabins. 

Immortals of Aveum release date

Immortals released on August 22 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. We don’t know yet whether it will be coming to Xbox Game Pass, but make sure anyway to check out the lineup of games the Xbox Game Pass has on offer. Furthermore, with the purchase of a Windows 11 PC from Acer, you can enjoy one month free of Xbox Game Pass

Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.

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