Have you ever seen a tech demo for a new game engine and thought how much you would love to play a game with as much quality as that detailed slice? Immortals of Aveum strives to do that, mixing magic with FPS combat and doing its best to show off the advantages of Unreal Engine 5. While the intentions are great and the passion is obvious, it never wows. It’s a jack of all trades but a master of none.
Before we dive deep into our Immortals of Aveum review, I want to state that I played this on an Xbox Series S. My review takes everything into consideration, and the visual state in which I played naturally factors in. Other Series S owners and those with PC hardware that doesn’t meet the aggressive system requirements will take away more, but there are plenty of other talking points here for anyone curious or on the fence about the game.
Immortals of Aveum Review: Blinded by the Magic Lights
Immortals of Aveum follows Jak, a young guy coming from nothing and caught in the middle of a war. After tragedy strikes and his latent magical powers emerge, he’s essentially forced to fight for the good fellas. Add in that he has the rare ability to channel all three forms of magic in this world and is personally trained by the leader of the Immortals (an elite unit of magic-users), and you have all the ingredients for a “chosen one” arc.
It’s obvious that the goal here was to create an epic action fantasy story. A stylized intro segment after the first chapter certainly tries to evoke feelings of such a series made for HBO. While I can see the vision, the bombastic action and occasional eye-rolling dialogue that tries to inject modern humor and an abundance of quips often get in the way.
For what it’s worth, I can’t blame any of the actors. Aside from a handful of awkwardly delivered lines, the cast brings its A-game and helps breath life into these characters. However, talent can only do so much to elevate the writing.
My main criticism is the tonal inconsistency that weaves throughout Immortals of Aveum. Even with funny moments and the awkwardly amusing Devyn, Jak’s sarcasm feels like a stark contrast to most of the characters you interact with early on, not to mention the world itself. Things get slightly better in the later chapters, where minor characters are meant to inject more humor into the game, but they rarely made me laugh and only underscored the tonal disparity that you’d expect from most Marvel films.
Inconsistency between what’s told and what’s shown is also a problem. There’s a time skip after the first couple of chapters, and you’re left to assume Jak goes through a lot, but there’s no sense of character development besides the fact he’s more familiar with some people. He’s also meant to face discrimination because of his upbringing and how his magic is activated, yet only one character shows this side of the story. Even then, it’s not handled well.
At the end of the day, I was left wanting more with the story. The world is inherently interesting, and the performances kept me intrigued. Immortals of Aveum is just very by the numbers, and any twists can be seen a mile away. It’s noticeable when this is a brand-new fictional universe, and I’m left questioning whether certain actions or lines make sense.
As high-budget as the storytelling is meant to be, the big focus is the gameplay. Earlier, I mentioned how Immortals of Aveum mixes magic with FPS combat, and that’s a core part of the experience. This genuinely feels like an FPS where the guns are replaced with magic. There are three different weapons called Sigils you can swap between. They need to be reloaded, and they even have recoil when you’re shooting spells.
This is combined with more powerful fury spells and totems that you can use to pull enemies in or interrupt their actions. Various gear can also be found all throughout the land. These allow for upgrades to abilities and adjustments to how your Sigils fire.
The framework for something great is here, and I had a lot of fun in the first half of the game. Regrettably, the novelty of a magic-based FPS wears off with repetitive gameplay. Early enemies can be defeated in a surprising number of ways, and the creative freedom feels great. This contrasts with stronger enemies, which are categorized based on magic resistances. Once you start dealing with enemies with obscenely large health pools, you’ll need to use specific magic on them.
What is initially interesting combat devolves into a rote pattern of just attacking enemies based on whatever color they’re glowing. This tedious routine is at its worst in the last act, where you commonly face waves of powerful enemies back-to-back. Any opportunities for creative and emergent gameplay are stifled, reduced to simple point-and-shoot mechanics.
Making matters worse is the lack of a weapon wheel. Needing to constantly remember when I should click or double-click to equip the sigil I need simply isn’t fun, and nothing feels worse than dying because I was fumbling around.
Immortals of Aveum makes things hard to see, too. A common complaint I’ve seen across every version of the game is how the magic and particle effects can take up too much of the screen. When you have a magical rune shield and a bunch of bright spells popping off everywhere, combat begins to feel overly bombastic. It looks lively, but it loses all weight.
I completely understand that the Xbox Series S comes with a trade-off in how games run. Most games on the console don’t have the luxury of quality and performance modes. I also truly appreciate that the developers wanted to maintain 60fps since this is a shooter.
Unfortunately, I’d rather they aimed for 30fps because the Xbox Series S version of Immortals of Aveum looks atrocious. Everything is fuzzy and smeared. The resolution is dynamic, but I’m positive it’s always well below 720p. Object pop-in is an obvious problem, and texture pop-in is even worse.
Another notable difference is how much darker this version looks compared to others. There are quite a few cave areas that are difficult to navigate, and I was forced to play in complete darkness just to see where I was jumping to.
Any issues with being able to see are amplified on the Xbox Series S. Every enemy has their specific magic color as a part of their design, but you can’t make that out with such dark environments and low resolution. You must rely on their magic to tell them apart properly, and that’s a problem when a lot of fuzzy spells are being thrown around.
If that doesn’t sound challenging enough, the game is also lacking when it comes to display options. There are no brightness/picture settings at launch, although a Gamma Correction slider was thankfully added in a recent update. It’s a nice fix and preferable over the default options, but it can make some areas look a little too bright. What’s far worse is the lack of an FOV slider, which would help a ton with the hectic combat.
Rounding it out is just a trove of smaller issues. Some encounters last much longer than necessary because the last remaining enemy is stuck in a wall. There a lot of chests simply floating in the air (and I don’t think it was due to magic). Occasionally, AI partners lag behind as you fight, forcing you to backtrack and find them.
Immortals of Aveum Review — The Bottom Line
- The tri-color magic system is fun and novel for the first half of the game.
- Great performances from the actors.
- There are makings of an interesting world.
- The gameplay devolves into repetitive color-matching.
- Horrendous visuals on Xbox Series S.
- A mediocre story with ill-fitting dialogue.
- Lack of display options.
You know when something looks weird or sounds off, and you can’t help but scrunch your face up and squint your eyes? As if it’s an involuntary response out of pure confusion? That happened repeatedly as I played Immortals of Avevum. The ideas and love that went into developing this are plain to see, which makes the middling-at-best end product all the more disappointing.
One of the best highlights is that the visuals show off what Unreal Engine 5 is capable of. Regrettably, they’re a bit busy in general and will look terrible on hardware that a lot of people have. This might be worth a shot for those with a stronger console or a high-end PC. If you own an older rig or an Xbox Series S, wait for a deep sale.
[Note: Electronic Arts provided the Xbox Series copy of Immortals of Aveum used for this review.]
Immortals of Aveum Review: Blinded by the Magic Lights
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