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Immortals of Aveum review - magic gunplay, tragic story

Our Immortals of Aveum review details why Ascendant Studios' battlemage FPS isn't very magical in the narrative department, bringing down its solid combat.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Jak can be seen alongside the Immortals of Aveum logo

Our Verdict

Immortals of Aveum fails to succeed at telling a captivating, well-written narrative that immerses you in its magic-filled world. Despite strong shooting and grand world design, it doesn’t make much of an impression during its 15-hour campaign and it feels like the scope is too big with the quality suffering for it.

On paper, Immortals of Aveum is a fascinating idea. Let’s take the feel, cinematic set pieces, and scope of a classic shooter campaign but set it all within a fantasy world filled with magic, spells, and gods. Unfortunately, Ascendant Studios has stumbled at a lot of the same hurdles that other big-budget shooter campaigns stumble at: story, characters, and writing.

The game has you play as Jak, a Triarch Magnus battlemage capable of wielding all three types of magic in Aveum. Triarchs are a rarity and Jak is brought on board by Kirkan, the leader of the Immortals, to protect Lucium, a region of Aveum, and try to stop the Everwar. And, while Immortals of Aveum’s length is longer than most shooter campaigns, Jak is a thoroughly bland protagonist without much personality beyond being the stereotypical soldier.

Similarly, the cast of surrounding characters isn’t particularly likable either. Kirkan commands the screen when she is talking because of the great performance from Gina Torres who voiced Ikora in Destiny for a period of time. But everyone else feels like one-dimensional caricatures for a story focused on war. You have the lighthearted, unserious Immortal Devyn, the charming and wise veteran Thaddeus, and the serious, stern brute Zendara. But beyond these initial characteristics, there is very little to learn about each of them and their role in the war.

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There aren’t any side quests or moments to get to know them, beyond just standing and talking to them for five minutes as you check off dialogue options from a list. Instead, they just hop in and out as you move from chapter to chapter and as such feel largely forgettable. Unfortunately, the dialogue and tone don’t do Immortals of Aveum any favors either.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Jak and Devyn can be seen

From the very get-go, the FPS has all the seriousness you find in a Call of Duty or Battlefield campaign. The first chapter is quite traumatic for Jak and Immortals of Aveum tries to carry that tone through all the way through to the final battle. But, injected into these serious moments are poor jokes that don’t land, confusing scenes of the story that are incredibly jarring, and incredibly played-out tropes and twists that had me rolling my eyes every chapter.

For example, in the middle of the game, you end a mission and go to the war table room, where the Immortals strategize and plan out battles. So far, everything has been serious and communicated with the gravitas you would expect for a group trying to win a battle called the Everwar. However, after arriving, the group of side characters and Jak have a drunken evening chat and act like goofballs during a cutscene that feels incredibly out of place. Additionally, during several important moments in the narrative, Jak – our serious, trauma-riddled super soldier – cracks jokes that feel like they’re from a 2000s straight-to-video film.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Kirkan can be seen

Kirkan, Zendara, and virtually every character show the same level of inconsistency in writing from the middle of the game onwards, eventually reaching a point where everyone just feels vaguely similar and no one from the cast stands out. The music in the game is also incredibly generic, with no identity of its own (I actually thought I had heard this music in other blockbuster movies or games before because of how by the numbers, it sounds)

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Kirkan and Jak can be seen

It was at this middle point of the game that I found myself tuning out to a lot of the plot points and character moments because they just felt like a laborious interruption to the gameplay and shooting sections. That’s a real shame because that’s what Immortals of Aveum does best. Gunplay (or, ‘Magicplay’, if you like) feels solid and the three different types of magic offer a surprising amount of variety, with blue magic representing a semi-automatic rifle, red magic representing a shotgun, and green magic behaving like a fast-firing SMG.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Jak can be seen firing a spell

Each is useful in combat and I found myself switching between all of them during various encounters, experimenting with them, and the various abilities you have to see what was most effective in killing different enemy types. Powerful Fury attacks let you cast waves of blue magic, punch through red armor, or summon a green barrage of missiles just to name a few, and feel akin to something like supers in Destiny 2. Switching between everything during intense, fast-paced combat felt great, especially when you add dodging and grappling to platforms into the mix. The game feels like it has the fluidity of the recent Doom reboot at times, which is when I was having my most fun.

The game shakes up the formula with some puzzles here and there. While they mostly amount to flicking a switch or hitting these three colored gems in a certain amount of time, they are effective enough to provide a quick dopamine boost, especially when you find a shiny piece of loot to upgrade your gear. But, that loot system largely amounts to watching a number go up and I didn’t find myself invested in stats or bonuses granted by pieces I found besides wanting to boost my defense, health, and damage. Things don’t really get any more strategic or tactical than simply equipping the thing with the biggest number.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Jak can be seen

Additionally, Immortals of Aveum is semi-open world, in that it has a number of locations for you to explore and revisit. It is similar to God of War in that there are puzzles, secret trials, and tough boss fights to find once you have beaten the game and are fully powered up. But, like the gear system, it feels like filler and is not as captivating as I hoped it would be. The lack of side quests or extra stories in Aveum beyond the main campaign also adds to the feeling that most of what you are playing in these areas is padding.

What really sucks about Immortals of Aveum as a final product is that you can tell so much work has been put into the game, building out Aveum as a world, and creating these grand structures and locations. Michael Kirkbride is credited as one of the story creators on Immortals of Aveum and he has previously written lore for The Elder Scrolls universe.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Jak can be seen firing at a boss

The lore and world-building here are as grand as that universe, but it is delivered to players and told with an extremely poor hand. MacGuffins and concepts steeped within decades of history in Aveum are just lobbed at you during conversations without any real setup or introduction.

There is also a separate realm within Aveum called the Shattered Realm which is like a mind-realm or something, as far as I can tell anyway – what it is and where it exists isn’t really communicated. So this all becomes terminology that you don’t really understand in the moment-to-moment cutscenes and it makes the overall plot really hard to keep track of. I found myself just lost on what was happening multiple times.

Immortals of Aveum Review PS5: Jak can be seen casting a spell

Ascendant Studios has crafted a vast world, and it wants its narrative to showcase some rich lore-building and history, which I would say they have done. But, the studio seems to have forgotten that we are just beginning our time in Aveum, and have no grasp of its concepts, battlemage factions, and the rules of the universe. The game is constructed from the perspective of people who have spent years sculpting this universe, immersed in every facet of it, but with little consideration given to the players who are seeing this universe for the first time.

With how much focus is placed on the badly written characters, by-the-numbers narrative, and overstuffed world here, the solid magicplay and fun combat of Immortals of Aveum can’t save it from being a mediocre game when looking at the whole package. As such, you’d be better off playing another FPS or fantasy game to get your fill of either.