Immortals of Aveum is a first-person magic shooter set in a fantastical, and often times, extravagant world. Developed by Ascendant Studios and published by EA Originals, the game is a graphical showcase, that is backed up with competent magic shooting mechanics but falls short due to its extremely linear path and safe design choices.
A Competent, Yet Safe, Narrative
Immortals of Aveum is set in Aveum, a unique fantasy universe where magic takes center stage. In fact, magic is a source of constant conflict. Aveum has been engulfed by the Everwar, a raging conflict that has been waged for over a millennia.
Initially, there were five kingdoms that ruled Aveum. But the Everwar has reduced to two remaining superpowers, Lucium and Rasharn. Each kingdom wants to take control of magic at the behest of its rival. Between the warring kingdom lies the Wound, a deep chasm that divides and threatens the very existence of the world.
Jak Takes Center Stage in Immortals Aveum
Players control Jak, a streetwise kid who discovers his powerful magic abilities in his adult life. However, Jak is unique as he can control all three types of magic, blue, red, and green, also known as a Triarch Magni. He joins an elite group of Lucium battlemages known as Immortals, to protect his home from Rasharian advances. Little does Jak know that this sets off a series of events to save Aveum from catastrophe.
For the most part, Immortals of Aveum story beats don’t take too many risks and often rely on exposition to provide background explanations, especially when discussing lore and world-building elements. Despite that, the story kept my interest and kept things simple. It was easy to digest and never veered off the deep end. Immortals’ story beats do feature your typical twists and turns, but nothing is too surprising, and it is executed in a satisfying, yet predictable manner. This is primarily due to the fantastic cast portraying the game’s characters. For instance, without spoiling too many of the story beats, someone betrays Jak. That particular betrayal did not have any lead-up and just felt rushed and its motivation didn’t feel convincing.
Simple, Yet Serviceable, Gameplay
Immortals of Aveum has a basic gameplay loop. Players will travel across several zones that encompass Aveum. Portals litter the world and take you from zone to zone. The game is predominately guided by its main story quest and completely lacks any side quests.
This makes the game very linear, where you simply go from waypoint to waypoint. In between waypoints, the game is broken up with combat segments and some light traversal and puzzle mechanics thrown occasionally in the mix.
Puzzles primarily came in the form of manipulating light beams to reflect on statutes to open doors. I felt that the lack of side content was a major missed opportunity, as the game’s zone system suggested that side quests could have appeared across its various locations. Instead, there are more XP to earn and maybe some occasion loot that will likely be useless, especially if you progress deeper into the game. Despite this simple loop, the game took me around 16 hours to complete across 19 chapters.
The last chapter, titled “The Epilogue”, just opens up Aveum to tackle any additional areas that you may have not cleared. The rewards usually come in the form of chests with potential loot or getting more XP to deck out Jak. But by this point of the game, I felt I had done and seen everything the game had to offer and wanted to conclude my time with Immortals of Aveum.
Immortals of Aveum Takes Metroidvania Cues
Immortals even incorporates Metroidvania-like mechanics where new abilities open up new areas for players. For instance, the lash (a magical whip) can be used to grapple and swing to new areas. While the barrier smash ability can destroy force fields in previously inaccessible areas. If new accessible areas aren’t related to the story, then the only thing they offer are chests that may or may not contain gear. For the most part, it wasn’t worth the effort because the rewards weren’t that impactful in the grand scheme of things.
Immortals of Aveum breaks up its loop via its Shroudframes. These portals are mini-challenges that take you to an otherworldly plain. These challenges include combat or traversal trials and in the end, you’ll be rewarded with XP or vital crafting materials. So, they are definitely worth completing if you encounter one, and it’s a nice break from the game’s linear path. Especially since they are usually found along the main quest path.
Tiered Gear Finds its Way into Immortals of Aveum
There are tiered weapons and gear in Immortals of Aveum. These gear and accessories offer stat boosts and passive buffs. For instance, you can alter your build if you want to focus on a specific magic color damage output and abilities such as blue magic shield or green torrent fury magic.
I felt that it did add to my enjoyment of the game and piqued my curiosity to try out new builds. But like most games, I eventually settled on a particular build that I found was most effective. During my playthrough, I focused on blue magic and buffing up the magic shield while also generally increasing damage output on red and green magic. Though avenues for experimentation are still there, once I settled on my preferred way of playing, I stuck to it. Especially with the lack of loadout slots made it a bit of an ordeal to remember your exact setup.
Players can even craft and upgrade their weapons and gear at forges which are littered throughout Aveum. Of course, with crafting you can also deconstruct items, but I felt that the payoffs were on the stingy side.
Decently Sized Skill Trees
Immortals of Aveum also has a decently sized skill tree that is divided into 3 sections. Every magic color has its own skill tree. Each color magic skill tree can also upgrade the specific skill sets such as magic shield in blue magic and torrent fury in the green magic skill tree. Best of all, the upgrades felt worthwhile too. You get decent damage output increases or useful skill upgrades such as increasing your shield health or adding a decaying status effect to the torrent fury damage. All in all, the skill trees were well thought out and provided meaningful stat, albeit normal, boosts that could accommodate your play style. You might have to think about which skill you want to add a little pizzazz to, but for the most part, you can’t go wrong with your choices.
Magic Variety is Indeed the Spice of Life
Weapons come in the form of sigils and there are three primary magic colors: blue, red, and green. Each enemy has a designated color and matching that color will deal more damage. There are magic furies which are special skills with their own cool downs. The blast skill is red magic based and would destroy what’s in front of you. While the green torrent skill would rain down homing shards.
Each color sigil had weapon variations as well. The blue magic weapon variation comes in three varieties: shrikebolt, javelin, and archlight. Shrikebolt performs similarly to a sniper shot and can reach distant enemies. Archlight is a straight-up blast projectile while javelin materializes a spear that Jak can throw at enemies. Green magic also had stormshard that shoot rapid and slightly homing projectiles. Seekershards fire a volley of accurate homing projectiles. While Maelstorm has a higher ammo capacity and requires a little time to rev up similar to a mini-gun.
There is a decent amount of weapon variety to keep combat interesting. Luckily the controls were tight and responsive and even though you’re shooting magical projectiles out of your hand, it felt satisfying and had some weight to it. For instance, red magic variations were close to shotguns and grenade launchers and it felt that way too, as red always had extra oomph and weight when casting off. When casting a shield it would slow your movement down. It was these subtle touches that added dynamism to the game’s combat.
So Close to Ledge
Strangely enough, Immortals of Aveum does not have a ledge-grabbing mechanism. In other words, if you miss the timing of your jump, even if you’re right by it, you won’t land where you want. It was such an annoyance and its omission became very apparent. Especially mid-way through the game, where the game’s traversal opens up immensely with lash, floating, and leyline gliding becoming more essential for the game’s platforming instances.
Immortals of Aveum is a Graphical Showcase
Immortals of Aveum is an impressive graphical showpiece. Ascendant Studios masterfully made use of Unreal Engine (UE) 5.1 and it shows. The in-engine cinematics were on similar levels to a Pixar movie. One common criticism of video game graphics is how eyes and teeth are portrayed in games. Surprisingly, Immortals of Aveum has some of the best facial mocap tech I have seen in a long time. The eyes and facial movements look impressively life-like and accurately represent the actors.
The game did have some texture pop-ins. In particular, texture pop-in was most noticeable during vista shots and up-close scenes. Dynamic textures and objects such as leylines that litter the game’s sky became extremely pixelated during my playthrough. However, a recent update did address this issue.
Distant objects and environmental assets would pop in while armor texture would take a split second to load up. If you’ve ever played any UE-powered games, like Gears of War, you’ll remember the infamous texture pop-in. After so many iterations and years, it’s strange that pop-in still rears its ugly head in UE. To keep the experience performing smoothly, the game aggressively makes use of upscaling technology.
FSR Upscaling Helps Maintaining Frame Rate… Though at a Cost
Because Immortals of Aveum uses UE 5.1, it is quite resource-hungry. Despite this, the game ran very well on my LG OLED C1 TV with Variable Refresh Rate turned on. The framerate was consistent and hardly dropped. I only noticed one choppy section during a cutscene. Other than that the game performed admirably, although at a cost.
AMD’s FSR 2.0 technology was utilized to maintain a stable framerate. This added fuzziness to out-of-scene objects and surroundings. It is immediately noticeable and suggests how aggressively the FSR is operating in order to maintain a solid frame rate. I would assume that the FSR settings were set on ultra performance, hence the aggressive nature of the upscaler. Reports did indicate that the game was being upscaled from a 720p image. This makes sense given the game’s technical showcase-level graphics. Even with its stellar graphics, the game has some decadent art style that lacks some cohesion.
Decadent, Yet Contrasting, Art Style
It’s clear that Immortals of Aveum is going for a realistic art style, akin to a Pixar-style production. The game doesn’t look too out of place from a movie like Dr. Strange, especially since the game is deeply rooted in magic. A lot of the interiors are decadently decorated. High ceilings and embellished statues are regular sites in Immortals of Aveum. However, there are some inconsistencies worth noting.
Aveum is a fantasy world through and through, but there are head-scratching aspects of the game’s world. For instance, players will regularly encounter massive airships that cover the sky and giants that could crush mountains in a heart. At the same time, players will regularly find medieval siege weapons such as ballistae. While non-magical foot soldiers carried swords and axes as giant airships flew right above them. It felt like an art direction clash where futuristic and magical elements are still rooted in high fantasy medical settings. It was as if someone elected to include the “above all” option when it came to creating Aveum.
Plenty of Accessibility Options Available in Immortals of Aveum
One thing Immortals of Aveum nails is its color blindness accessibility options. The game provides three distinct modes for specific types of colorblindness: deuteranopia, protanopia, and tritanopia. It’s these types of initiatives that can help bring more games to gamers and Ascendant Studios should be applauded for their inclusive features. Another standout aspect of the game is undoubtedly the voiceover and mo-cap work, which is essentially on par with Hollywood-level productions.
Top Notch Voice Acting and Mo-Cap in Immortals of Aveum
All of the actors put on noteworthy performances in Immortals of Aveum. You can tell a majority of the budget went into the game’s cinematic calibur as the game brought in a true Hollywood ensemble.
Darren Barnet plays the role of the game’s protagonist, Jak. While Gina Torres assumed the role of the leader of the Immortals, General Kirkan. Antonio Aakeel portrayed Devyn, the young and brilliant green mage of the Immortals. While Steven Brand portrayed Sandrakk, the game’s main antagonist and leader of the Rasharian nation.
All the voiceovers and performances were fantastic and added depth to the game’s narrative. Especially Gina Torres, who brilliantly portrayed General Kirkan. Though it was not too far off of the typical stoic leader archetype she commonly depicts. Brand masterfully performed Sandrakk and brought the mad tyrant to life and was compelling in arguing his cause and motivations are noble in essence.
While Darren Barnet showed he can evoke a wide range of emotions as the game’s main protagonist. From being sarcastic and coy to shocked and melancholy, Jak was a likable character that most players will likely relate to. All in all, the cast was solid and put on memorable performances.
Final Thoughts on Immortals of Aveum
No doubt Immortals of Aveum is an experience that you will not forget any time soon. Its graphical prowess and its combat and gear system are serviceable, albeit uninspiring. The star-studded cast will likely leave a lasting impression. But its overly linear loop and complete lack of meaningful side content hamper replayability while relying too heavily on typical AAA design choices. Immortal of Aveum checks off many lists, but it plays it safe for the most part.
Note – An Xbox Series X|S key was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.