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Xbox-exclusive Avowed solves one of Skyrim’s biggest flaws

Revealed at the Xbox Developer Direct, Avowed’s handy loadouts system looks to fix one of the biggest issues with Bethesda’s Skyrim.

Avowed loadout system: A skeleton mage holding a short staff at the ready, with an Xbox logo to the left and a yellow pencil and spanner icon to the right.

Avowed, Obsidian Entertainment’s latest RPG to rival Bethesda’s own, had a great gameplay showcase at Xbox’s Developer Direct. While we already knew it would be an Obsidian take on the seminal The Elder Scrolls series, Avowed’s combat features and mechanics look to offer up a significant improvement over Skyrim, most importantly through the inclusion of a loadout system.

While the Xbox Developer Direct showcase for Obsidian’s Avowed gave us a glimpse at its fantastical world, as well as a more concise Fall 2024 Avowed release date window, its approach to combat is arguably the most exciting. From dual-wielding flintlocks to flinging powerful magic from your wand or a trusty sword and shield, you’ll be able to swiftly change up your approach mid-combat in what is shaping up to be one of the best RPG games.

Gameplay director Gabriel Paramo explains that Avowed will have a “flexible combat system”, allowing you to “quickly swap from spellcasting and sharpshooting to melee combat”. With this loadouts system, players are able to save items and configurations to swiftly change their currently equipped items with ease. If you can’t set on a single approach, this will save you frequent trips into your menu.

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“We want to give you freedom to mix and match your loadout”, Paramo goes on to explain, all without interruptions. With a diverse weapon selection, from fantasy staples like swords and shields to hefty flintlock pistols – which you can even dual-wield – you’ll be able to get “tactical advantages” against the range of enemy types. With some enemies being extremely defensive or remarkably strong, you’ll need to change your approach to succeed, and this loadout system lets you do just that.

“It’s not just hacking and slashing”, notes Paramo, “you’re making real-time decisions about when to use your abilities, powerful melee attacks, blocks, parries, and special attacks”. This touches on one of the biggest complaints of Bethesda’s Skyrim. Despite all Skyrim accomplished, most notably its incredibly rich world, its combat left lots to be desired. Not only did it often boil down to basic hack ‘n’ slash – if you didn’t default to a stealthy archer, that is – but you’d often be delving into your inventory or the clunky ‘favorites’ panel to change your equipment. Well, Paramo’s claim suggests that Obsidian has been taking notes for its take on the fantasy genre.

With such diverse combat and a fantastical world, Xbox-exclusive Avowed could be one of the best Xbox RPG games when it comes out at long last. While you wait, dig into why Xbox Game Pass and Palworld is a ludicrous yet perfect pairing or how Xbox Game Pass added 150 games worth $5,000 in 2023 – a record which could be trumped in 2024.