Immortals of Aveum hands-off preview - Put under a spell

Jak in Immortals of Aveum

Jak in Immortals of Aveum

There's a specific type of shooter the mid to late '00s was known for: a 10-20 hour campaign, actors you recognise, and a story ripped straight out of the Marvel universe. Things were big and everything was in pursuit of the spectacle. Though I've only seen an hour of it, Immortals of Aveum feels like a successor to these, in both the best and worst ways.

We recently had the chance to watch some gameplay and hear about the world of Immortals of Aveum. In this, we were told a little bit about the story, watched a few fights, and heard the team talking about the game's inception.

Led by Bret Robbins, a senior creative director on many of the cod titles, we were told about a daydream, envisioning a typical battle scene from blockbuster titles with dragons and magic instead of rockets and bullets. This was the perfect explanation of what we would see in the gameplay.

The Sales Pitch

In Immortals of Aveum, you play as Jak, a Magnus who is born without magic but gains it later in life. This gives him a new calling as an Immortal - a guardian of his world. Your goal is to end an eternal magic war and discover your magic powers. Though the world itself is original and filled with landmarks, this story backdrop leaves quite a lot to be desired so far.

A commander from Immortals of Aveum
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Aveum itself is made up of leylines that gather great magic and they wrap around The Wound, a huge bottomless gulf that continues to grow every day. The world is littered with sculptures, statues, and battles due to the war consuming it.

Immortals of Aveum is envisioned to be a cinematic blockbuster first-person shooter with wands and spells instead of guns and knives. This chaotic world is meant to propel you into bigger and bigger fights and, from the gameplay we saw, it seems to do this quite well.

A different kind of shooter

In Immortals of Aveum, Jak has control of three central types of magic: A long-range blue shot, a shotgun-like red blast, and mid-range homing green shots. In turn, battles are made up by knowing the right colour magic for each enemy type. Where a blast might work in close quarters, it sufferers when there are too many on screen.

Combat is where the Call of Duty influences are at their greatest. The combat we saw was filled with corridors and halls - great for taking out tonnes of enemies in a row. In my time seeing the game, it is clear it goes for spectacle. It wants players to clip moments and share them with their friends.

Immortals of Aveum boss fight
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This being said, it is going significantly bigger than Call of Duty, pushing that campaign length out all the way to the 20-hour mark. The story itself, while serviceable, wasn't hugely intriguing so it's hard to think of the directions it could take to justify all that time.

A halt

We saw a little gameplay near the start of the game and, while it was fast paced, we weren't told how gameplay evolved throughout the game. It seems there are currencies you can collect but I worry that the game may have a low skill ceiling. Jack can learn greater spells that operate on a cooldown like a "blink" short teleport movement ability but it is unclear how deep these systems go.

You can find new gear and items through the game and there is a skill tree which encourages exploration. Unfortunately, there are quite a few numbers going in screens and it is unsure how they will really affect your build as you play.

Leylines in Immortals of Aveum
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Fundamentally, I walked away from this gameplay tentatively excited. I couldn't play the game myself so can't testify how everything feels but spells look weighty and appear quite cinematic in scope. I'm worried they may fall flat after a couple of hours but upgrade systems promise some depth.

Virtual Tourism

Aesthetically, Immortals of Aveum looks decent. Its graphics and physics look reasonably realistic without going for hyper-realism and it is so committed to its own world that all statues, characters, and weapons feel like part of the world. It's not striking but definitely unique enough to stand out.

The music, in turn, is epic and large - filled with strings, electronic pads, and more. Magic shots have a certain sharp pitch to them that adds to the clatter of battle in an almost melodic way. This all comes together to provide an experience that you'll really have to play to fully understand. Hopefully, Immortals of Aveum's gameplay matches its ambition.

Though we have only seen a small portion of the game, it has set up some interesting things that the full release has to cash in on. There's enough there to worry me but even more to excite me. Immortals of Aveum launches on July 20, 2023 and you can expect more coverage of the game on its release.

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