Immortals of Aveum Review – IGN

Magic Makes Immortals of Aveum a Unique and Engaging First-Person Shooter

Much like the waistband of MacGyver’s trousers, Immortals of Aveum is a gun-free zone. This may sound like a peculiar predicament for a first-person shooter to place itself in, but developer Ascendant Studios has made it work. How, you ask? Magic. And I’m not being facetious here; I mean, literal barrages of brightly-coloured bullets magically blasted from the fingertips of a bloke who really puts the war in warlock.

An unexpected collision of traditional high fantasy adventure with slick FPS action, Immortals of Aveum boasts a wonderful backdrop for its classy combat and comes with everything I crave in a modern shooter: it’s striking to look at, sturdy to play, and it’s strictly single-player only.

Aveum’s Arcanepunk Aesthetic Creates a Unique World

Aveum’s arcanepunk aesthetic is very absorbing and creates a world of interesting extremes; it’s a world where magic is ubiquitous and powers highly-advanced technology for war-torn societies still living a medieval-inspired lifestyle. This means wild flying machines and mindbending virtual puzzle rooms juxtaposed against gilded castles and ramshackle timber slums. It’s a cool clash of styles, and straddling multiple genres seems to suit Aveum’s ambitions as a first-person shooter with a twist.

An Engaging Story with Unique Dialogue

We play as Jak who, in a moment of extreme stress in the opening phase of the story, is suddenly revealed to possess the power of a Triarch – an extremely rare person able to wield the world of Aveum’s three forms of magic simultaneously. Jak subsequently finds himself drafted into the Everwar – a battle for control over Aveum’s magic that has been raging for millennia but appears to be barrelling towards a catastrophic conclusion. The story specifics get a little lost in the weeds during occasional salvoes of fantasy phrases but it’s otherwise easy to follow – and there’s a steady cadence of moderate twists to keep it from getting bogged. If you want to get seriously steeped in lore there’s a lot of optional stuff to dig through, but it definitely isn’t required to sufficiently understand what’s going on. There are some very elegant ecological and social parables tucked in here, too, and I ultimately appreciated the contemporary relevance – and that the story wasn’t just spinning its wheels mindlessly.

I’ve noticed some resistance to the choice to use modern vernacular and colloquialisms in Aveum’s dialogue, but I honestly can’t see myself being as engaged as I was if Ascendant had opted instead for po-faced, pseudo–Early Modern English. In fact, I’d argue that leaning on archaic language would only undermine how otherwise fresh and modern Aveum feels in the first-person shooter space. Not every line lands – and there’s a certain Generation Z angst about Jak that I didn’t always find entirely endearing – but the performances are good and I can get behind it broadly. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know that I need all my fantasy stories sifted through a Shakespeare filter just to dress up the dialogue with some 400-year-old dribble.

Engaging Gameplay with Varied Abilities

On default difficulty, Aveum kept me busy for well over 20 hours to reach the credits. It’s nicely paced and strikes a good balance between switching up our surroundings for new locations and returning us to places we’ve already visited. While there are a few drab and dreary spots, most of Aveum’s environments are exceptionally good looking – from its giant lava pools to its icy and jagged crystal caves. The excellent lighting is regularly a strong component of what makes Aveum’s levels so eye-catching. It’s a relatively linear experience and not a single open world, but there are some maps that are admittedly quite large and primed for exploring off the main path.

Jak’s list of abilities is, however, impressively long. They’re also rationed out until quite deep into the story, meaning things that might have stumped us hours and hours prior may suddenly make sense. Aveum feels a little plain at first, when Jak is limited to just his initial basic spell strikes, but as the story progresses he gains access to far more interesting attacks and abilities. These include things like sticky charges that have a slow-motion effect, the ability to hover after a double jump, and a lash that drags enemies in for an easier close quarters kill. Aveum is undoubtedly a lot more than a disguised military shooter with finger guns.

The finger guns are a fun touch, though, and they’re essentially split into three categories. Blue magic attacks function as a large calibre pistol, green magic attacks manifest as rapid fire SMG rounds, and red magic attacks are essentially a sawn-off shotgun. Red attacks are reloaded by fist pumping, by the way.

If you’re worried this means there are only three basic “weapons” in Aveum, don’t be; there are variations on each that change their damage, fire rate, and shots per reload depending on the associated “sigil” you equip to Jak’s arm, and there’s also another layer of secondary attacks – from damaging blastwaves to snaking volleys of magic missiles. There’s even an extremely potent beam that combines all three magic colours in a single, destructive torrent – gushing forwards like someone just knocked Cyclops’ sunglasses off. I really enjoy how powerful this attack makes Jak feel, and it’s crucial in some of the tougher boss battles.