Avadon: The Black Fortress Review

By Luke de Beneducci

Recently, I found Myself lucky enough to be playing Avadon: The Black Fortress, a nifty little RPG developed by Spiderweb Software.  You start the game with a choice of four classes; Blademaster, Shaman, Sorceress and Shadowwalker. After choosing one of these classes, learn about where you are and what you will be doing. You learn that Avadon is the martial aspect of the five lands of the Pact, with a duty to stop any Farlander military action. The current situation, when you arrive at Avadon, is tenuous with people moving around and a woman shouting orders. You learn that Avadon is over extending its forces and is on the edge of collapsing, which instigates you to immediately jump into the action.

Let’s Go Questing

The quests in Avadon are both numerous and  filled with story. You can converse with your quest giver to try weasel out as much information as possible. You start of by accepting a quest to go and clear out Avadon’s dungeons after the shortage of fighters. You can also choose one of two companions to bring along: a sorceress or a warrior. As I was playing warrior, I chose a sorceress companion. You can control this companion’s actions during fighting and control it almost like your own character by picking up items and placing stats. After clearing the dungeon, you are sent to help a dragon. You have to clear his lair and surrounding zone of creatures called wretches. You can also pick up side quests from other people around the area. After completing that quest, you go back to Avadon and you are immediately sent out again to hunt a mysterious beast who is attacking citizens of the Kva lands. After this lengthy quest, you get sent on many others, all with multiple side quests you can pick up. Eventually you arrive at the great question, kill the leader of Avadon and take his place or help him struggle onwards. Other aspects of the game also depend on your actions later in the game.

Slash and Slice the Bad Guys

Combat in Avadon is an interesting affair; you have you own character and the ability to bring along multiple characters of the other class types when you head out to quest. It’s an interesting way to work things as mostly my spare Blademaster was neglected by me in favour of my main character, but if you feel more confident with your class you might want to use two. The actual combat itself is interesting. You have a combat mode and peaceful mode, which you can turn on and off. The combat is turn-based, so you use an ability on each of your characters, then the enemy attacks and so forth. It doesn’t provide for quick paced combat, which would be understandable in giant skirmishes or rather large boss battles where it adds a tactical edge, but unfortunately it just runs you to a stop whenever you walk into small groups of mobs and Avadon has a lot of small mobs. When you level up, you have the ability to place stats and skill points in learning new skills and you can have up to four skills on your quick cast bar at any time these. I personally made my Blademaster a damage taker, my sorceress as well as my Shadowwalker damage dealers, and my shaman a healer allowing for a good balance.

Choose Your Role

Statistics and skill choice are rather simple in Avadon. There are four stats: Intelligence, for casters; Endurance, for tanks or health; Dexterity and Strength, for melee damage dealers. You gain a stat point per level and you can choose were to place it. You also gain a few skill points every level and these can be placed in any skill you want allowing a lot of customization. At levels 5, 10 and 15, you can place a point in a specialization that allows for greater depth to your choices. For example, on my Blademaster, I could choose between tank, damage dealer or survivalist specializations which allowed for a lot of customization in your group layout. If you need a good idea about builds for characters, there is a lot of helpful information on the Spiderweb Software official forums.

Shiny, Shiny Loot

You have the ability to pick up gear and valuable items while questing and killing enemies. You can also buy armour and helpful items back in Avadon. During your quests,  items such as, weapons, armour, items that enhance these armour or weapons, and potions can be found in various places. But, some items require specific stats to be worn by the player. For example, a large broadsword may need 8 strength points to wield and would require the user to be a Blademaster. You will also want to stock up on vitality and health potions whenever you return to Avadon because damage can be quite substantial at later levels and also because if you get stuck in the field without any vitality left all you can do is auto attack which is hardly an effective tactic.

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

For the $9.99 on Steam, Avadon is a great deal.  This game is overall a very good game with polished, if not slow, combat and good statistics with a fantastic underlying story line. Its only let down on one front, in my opinion, is graphics.  The game in my opinion looks like something from early 2000s rather than a new game from 2011, but if you can overlook the graphics, which is not to hard once you get absorbed into the story line.  It’s easy to start up thinking you’ll only play for a short time before finding yourself rubbing sleepy eyes three hours later.

 

Avadon: The Black Fortress Technical Summary:

  • Time Played – 8 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • 5.1 Audio – No
  • Bugs – None
  • DRM – Steamworks
  • Control Scheme – Mouse & Keyboard
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam

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