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Immortals of Aveum Review – First Person Sorcery

Immortals of Aveum

In a year where magic-casting games seem to have been all the rage – we’re talking Hogwarts Legacy and Forspoken Immortals of Aveum might have just come along and blown them both out of the water. With a solid and interesting (if a little convoluted) story, fantastic acting from some familiar faces and fast-paced, exhilarating traversal and combat that we just can’t get enough of, this is a great debut from Ascendant Studios. Seriously, bravo: Immortals of Aveum is a hell of a lot of fun.

You’re cast as Paxton Hall-Yoshida – er, sorry, we mean Jak, an Unforeseen; in other words, someone who shows magical ability later on in life. After the destructive Rasharn army terrorises Jak’s hometown and kills his family, he joins the Lights Army to learn how to protect himself – and fight back. Turns out that Jak’s a Triarch Magus – a very rare kind of magic-caster who can use all three types of magic where other magic-users can only master one – and after several years of training, his skills land him a place in the coveted Immortals in order to fight the war to protect Aveum’s future.

Jak is played by Darren Barnet, best known for his role in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever. This may be somewhat of a departure from playing the heartthrob of Sherman Oaks High, but he does a fantastic job, bringing a lightness and air of fun to the role, but also being serious when the story calls for it.

Immortals of Aveum

He’s accompanied by a competent cast, including Gina Torres (Suits, Firefly) in the role of Jak’s senior, General Kirkan; Antonio Aakeel, who plays fellow member of the Immortals, Devyn, and Lily Cowles, who players the fantastically hard-faced Zendara. Let’s not forget Steven Brand, who absolutely nails the villainous Sandrakk. In a game that puts story at the forefront, strong and memorable characters are important, and this is definitely a line-up that’s going to stick with us.

Of course, protagonist Jak is the character you’ll be spending most time with here, as you’ll be stepping into his shoes. And what shoes they are. Controlling Jak is a delight, which only gets better as you progress through the game and unlock more abilities. From the get-go, you can run, jump and double-jump, allowing for easy and fast traversal. It doesn’t take too long until you’ll unlock the ability to glide, followed not long after by a grapple skill which lets you reach far-away hooks with your magical lash. The same skill also lets you ride magic ley lines that weave and twist through the skies of Aveum.

Related: The Best Single-Player Games on PS5

It’s a blast using Jak’s abilities to explore the world, and it helps that Aveum is so rich and varied. This is a beautiful-looking game, with numerous areas all having their own feel. Rocky outcrops give way to green, luscious valleys teeming with flora that truly feel like another planet, and elsewhere you’ll find yourself exploring dark, labyrinthine caves and caverns.

There are plenty of secrets dotted around the world and you’re never far away from an environmental puzzle to solve, often rewarding you with valuable resources or loot. (Did we mention there’s loot? There’s loot.) To solve them, you’ll need to make use of Jak’s abilities and myriad of spells to move objects, manipulate switches and more. Some of them require a good amount of thought, which we love, and some of them you’ll have to come back to later once you’ve got new abilities.

In terms of abilities, Jak’s fully-loaded to the nines. The first couple of hours of Immortals of Aveum are more or less one long training exercise, but we were glad of it as it allowed us to quickly get up to speed with our key abilities. With the push of a button, you can switch between three main types of magic – red, blue and green – each having its strengths and weaknesses. Along with a primary attack, different types of magic also have secondary abilities: your blue magic offers you a defensive shield, for example, while green magic allows you to fire out limpets, which cling to enemies (and objects) to slow them down.

Immortals of Aveum

It’s in combat that you’ll feel the most power of Jak’s abilities, and to truly excel you’ll need to be quick-fingered and master the range of skills on offer. Different enemies will respond better to different spells, so you’ll need to figure out what’s most effective in any given situation – particularly when you’re up against powerful enemies and bosses. And Immortals of Aveum likes to throw them at you.

Even on the easiest difficulty, combat isn’t a cakewalk; you’re still going to need to keep your wits about you to stay alive. That means making strategic use of your shield, effectively using your Blink dodge manoeuvre and knowing how to deal the most damage to an enemy. Your three different magic types all have their strengths in certain situations: green is great for firing at fast-moving enemies as it homes in on them, while the heavier-hitting power of red is great when you’re up-close and personal to an enemy.

With so many different skills and abilities to keep track of, however, it means that combat in Immortals of Aveum can sometimes feel a bit messy. When there are multiple foes on screen, coming at you from different directions, it’s difficult to sense and dodge incoming attacks, and often it feels like avoiding taking damage is impossible. You also can’t lock on to an enemy, so successfully tracking a moving target can be tricky. You’ll soon learn the quirks of the battlefield, though, and even at its scrappiest, there’s still a lot of fun to be had in the frenetic nature of Immortals of Aveum’s combat.

Outside of combat, Jak’s abilities have an important role to play, too. Some of his powers can augment in different situations: his grapple, for example, which grabs foes when in battle, can also propel him through the air, grabbing onto nearby hooks. And once you’ve learned the Restore spell, you can cleanse corrupted magic from the world around you. It feels like Jak’s abilities know no bounds, and they’re only made stronger as you progress and find new equipment. Jak doesn’t have the largest loadout, but there are several item slots to be filled, each offering various improvements and upgrades to his skills and hardiness.

Immortals of Aveum

It’s a little disappointing that the world of Immortals of Aveum isn’t a little more open. A world this beautiful simply needs to be absorbed, and while there’s room to explore a little and find secrets off the beaten path, it’s far from being an open world. But feeling like you’re always on a set trajectory isn’t always a bad thing: it allows for a more focused journey, and also provides an opportunity for some excellent platforming challenges to be thrown into the mix. The verticality of key environments has been fully taken advantage of, and making use of Jak’s nimbleness to reach out-of-the-way ledges and platforms is a great deal of fun. Throw in some light puzzling and parts of the environment to interact with, and you have some truly rewarding level design just waiting to be enjoyed.

We’ve played Immortals of Aveum on PS5 and, for the most part, performance has been solid. The main complaint we have, though, is that there are no graphics options whatsoever: what you see is what you get. We’ve played on two different systems, connected to two different TVs. On our 1080p setup, it plays absolutely flawlessly and buttery smooth, with no hiccups in sight. On our 4K screen, however, it’s generally not as smooth, and you do notice the framerate dropping at times – but not enough to be an issue. With no in-game settings, Immortals of Aveum will apparently draw from your system-level settings, and so if you’re experiencing problems, it might be worth limiting output to 1080p.

Despite a few niggles, our journey through Aveum has been a blast. Being in the shoes of Jak is a great deal of fun and although his range of abilities can feel a little overwhelming, mastering his powers is exhilarating. If a fast-paced adventure through a gorgeous world, backed by a solid story and excellent acting sounds like your thing (and why wouldn’t it?), don’t hesitate to jump right into Immortals of Aveum.


Immortals of Aveum Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Immortals of Aveum is based on the PS5 version of the game, via a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.