Immortals of Aveum is the latest first-person shooting game from Electronic Arts and is the first game developed by Ascendant Studios, which was established in 2018. It can be described as an old-school game with a single-player story campaign and no microtransactions or multiplayer modes, which is extremely rare for any title in 2023. Despite falling in the first-person shooting genre, the game doesn’t feature any guns and instead relies on magic to provide an immersive combat experience. The game was released globally on August 22nd and can be purchased on PlayStation 5, Windows, or Xbox Series X/S.
(Note: We were provided a review copy by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 5, on which we conducted our review.)
Story and characters
As the publishers describe aptly, Immortals of Aveum is set in a world that is engulfed by magic and conflict. There are essentially five realms in the world of Aveum — Oremen, Lucium, Kley, Kalthus, and Rasharn. The game’s narrative mostly deals with the final part of the millennia-long conflict, called Everwar, and at this point, only Lucium and Rasharn are the two superpowers left. Jak, who is the protagonist, and the Order of the Immortals, the elite Magni (people with magical abilities) battle forces, belong to Lucium. Rasharn on the other hand, is home to Sandrakk, who is a tyrant and a run-of-the-mill power-hungry villain figure.
In this good vs. evil story, we witness the character arc of Jak, portrayed well by Darren Barnet, who turns from a nonchalant and flamboyant youth to a responsible adult who realises his responsibilities over time and puts his special abilities to good use when the need arises. Jak is described as an Unforeseen in the story, someone who discovers magical abilities much later in life (Jak discovers his in a moment of rage early on in the game when he loses his friend Luna). What makes Jak even rare is that he is a Triarch Magnus, an extremely rare spellcaster capable of wielding all three colours of magic.
While the backdrop of Aveum appears promising at first, most of the characters, including protagonist Jak, lack the depth and dimensions that could have possibly given more complexity to their roles and actions. The cheesy dialogues in the game do not help the case either. The dialogue writing in particular lets the game down as it often feels a bit cringey despite some great voice performances by the actors. The standout performance here is from.. as you might expect – Gina Torres, who plays Kirkan, the Grand Magnus of the Immortals and is a forty-year veteran of the Everwar. She is the one who recruits Jake and mentors him in the story. Her command over the language and her craft elevates the otherwise basic character.
Combat gameplay is the one aspect that can make or break a game like Immortals of Aveum. With a sigh of relief, I can say that Ascendant Studios has done a really good job here. While you might initially feel that Jak feels underpowered, the progression system has been designed for you to feel this way. Over the course of the story, as you gain more abilities and climb through the skill tree, Jak learns some amazing abilities and battles become more and more enjoyable.
The finger guns, used in place of guns or other weapons, are essentially divided into three categories. Blue-coloured attacks feel like you’re shooting a standard pistol, green-coloured attacks offer a more rapid firing rate, and finally, red-coloured attacks feel like shots from a shotgun. As Jak is a Triarch Magnus, you even get to shoot a beam that combines all three colours into a single attack and makes you feel powerful and distinct as the central character. What’s more impressive is that you can customise the shots from these coloured attacks in terms of reload speed, firing rate, and more.
I really enjoyed the combat mechanics in the game and the colour-coded magic spells and shields reminded me partly of Hogwarts Legacy, which used a similar system, and it works while dealing with multiple enemy types here too. However, one qualm that I had was that the enemies feel a bit repetitive after a while. In a game that doesn’t have a long playtime or multiplayer components, the developers could have done a better job at adding enemy variety.
Graphics and sound
Immortals of Aveum has been developed using Unreal Engine 5 and this is undoubtedly the department where this game shines. The game looks gorgeous and the different environments shown in its brief playtime (around 16-17 hours for the main story) are breathtaking, to say the least. As we are talking about a game that involves magic and combat elements, there are certain sequences where the screen is filled with colours, blasts, and characters. These sequences look great in HDR and unlike the PC version of the game, where players have reported some performance issues, on my PlayStation 5, I didn’t face any stutters. However, I would like to point out that the Display section in the settings menu only allows Gamma Correction and a Colour Blind Mode, so those of you who like to tweak the graphics settings to your liking will not get many customisation options here. However, you can adjust the HUD location, which is an important inclusion, from the User Interface section.
As far as sound is concerned, the background score in this game really adds to the immersion and I found myself humming it even after I was done playing the game, which shows how captivating it is. The war sequences and the final boss battle have memorable background scores and as the game is thin on dialogue, sound plays a pivotal role in ensuring that you stay hooked.
Immortals of Aveum belongs to a rare category of single-player-only action adventure games that are a rare sight in 2023. The game has brilliant graphics, a good background score, and enjoyable combat mechanics. However, it falls short when it comes to the story, has a short runtime, and has some lazy dialogue-writing that can get on some people’s nerves. Having said that, as the fundamentals of this game are strong, I would hope that Ascendant Studios will improve the story and dialogue writing with the sequel and make sure that this breed of games continues to entertain us for the foreseeable future.
Editor’s rating: 7 / 10
- Great graphics
- Immersive background score
- Good combat gameplay
- Bad dialogues
- Short campaign story