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Avernum 2 : Crystal Souls Review

by on April 6, 2015
Details
 
Synopsis

The Empire is striking back out of revenge for your people killing the Emperor. Avernum is threatened with extinction and only a small group of Avernum residents can save it. You play these characters and you delve into the depths of Avernum to find out your legacy and save Avernum!

# of Players

Single player

Positives

- Amazing story line
- Massive amounts of possible paths to take
- Replay-ability due to skill choices and different ending quests
- Old style art and tactical gameplay

Negatives

- A bit too open sometimes, although this is solved with the hint-book
- Audio is rather simple at times and sound effects are monotonous
- Rather high price at $20

Personal negative
- It took me some time to get used to the old-school RPG style

Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
B

 
Graphics
B-

 
Sound Effects and Music
C

 
Story
A-

Writer's Score
B


Bottom Line
 

A great remake of a great RPG, allowing fans and new players alike to relive the cave-world of Avernum to it's fullest extent. Jeff Vogel gives us another game that will keep lore loving gamers involved and playing. Although not made with the high tech development tools we're used to nowadays such as the Cry engine or Unity, it's a game that promises the fun and compelling experience of an old school RPG and it does exactly that.

 

With so many NEW games coming out on the market, some people enjoy seeing old classics blown some new life into them through a little bit of love from the original developers. Being a remake of the original indie hits, the Avernum trilogy, it rewrites the story of Avernum, leaving you the hero in a world to stop the Empire! Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is a game that, for the older generations among us might create some nostalgia, while for the younger ones (including me) will enjoy for it’s old style with a new story! Spiderweb-software, the developers of the Exile trilogy, Nethergate, Geneforge series, The Second Avernum series and the Avadon trilogy have now come and recreated Avernum from the ground up! Old style RPG graphics and game play, with an interesting storyline and a system that works well makes this game definitely a fun game. After having put over 50 hours into this game and completing 2 of the 3 possible main quest lines, I like to think that I am now able to create a valid opinion of the game, although I still feel as though there’s more to discover.

First thing prospective players must note is that if you like high-detail graphics, epic orchestra music and being able to see every scale on that dragon you’re fighting as you slice it’s arteries causing a realistic gush of blood to flow out, then this game is not what you’re looking for. According to current expectations this game’s system is simple and it’s art style pixellated. But that is exactly what gives it it’s atmosphere. The system is built in a turn based system, and combat is the same, allowing you to tactically think about your decisions before you pull them off. The art style is colorful while you play from a fixed point of view, and character portraits look like it was pulled out of the original RPG games that we love. There are some aspects to this game that I find feeble or annoying but those are so minor that I can easily set myself past them.

Character creation in the game is linear to 3 different classes at the start of the game but that only determines the original skills the character will have. Then it’s completely up to the you to alter your character in the 28 different skill areas. Do you want to bash people in the head? Go for Melee Weapons skill. Want to heal? Learn first aid. You get the gist!

The game sets you in a world where there’s mayor layers of society. Quite literally 2 layers, as those who weren’t accepted into the Empire or were for some other reason not compatible, were all sent down under ground. These people, from many different races, have created a society in what they call Avernum. Existing in caves, where citadels and towns are built under a roof of rock, the people toil to survive. However, with surviving comes the acquisition of power and those cast down by the empire into the depths of Avernum grew in strength and struck back. They assassinated the Emperor. Avernum 2: Crystal Souls starts as the Empire strikes back at the outcasts, wishing to destroy them, taking cave by cave like hunting animals. As a group of mine-working friends/colleagues you have to find a way to stop this injustice or Avernum is doomed.

The game itself is not super intense, but with the simple audio systems and the good lore make up for that fact. I myself love reading through lore of games and I thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of information the game could give me so far (I should never become a Let’s Play’er). There are some contradictions that quirked me while playing the game, but I expect that Jeff Vogel will have a new piece of information in store for me that will tie it all together. But for how the game brings it’s story to you through your characters is what I’d expect from a good RPG game. That is to say, in a compelling way that makes me want to find the next bit of information. At least there is a hint-book available that allows for a little faster exploration.

One thing that I do want to mention, before signing this game with a grade of my own and continuing on my merry way in the world of Avernum, is that the layout of the game is rather small… I’m a young gamer, but the images on screen are rather small. If a lizard (already rather camouflaged) is scurrying across the floor, I didn’t see it and was running around with my nose touching the screen for at least 15 minutes. That might be on me, but if there had been a zoom option in the game I’d have greatly appreciated it.

So with many different options in an open world full of quests, lore and interesting people, you get the feeling that you truly are fighting the Empire back and saving Avernum. After creating a party of characters of your choice you run through dripping halls and fight growling enemies, all the while trying to stay alive at the best of your abilities in the caves of Avernum. The game is so big you might even get lost. With three different end-game quests you really get to chose a destiny, making this game an RPG worth remembering, albeit a little expensive. Cost wise, this game is rather on the high end being $20 on steam, but with so much to do in the game, you at least get value for your money.

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