Implayed (Episode 24): Avadon: The Black Fortress

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This is the first in 5 titles from Spiderweb Software that I’m going to take a look at. I’ve reserved a day extra to do each since they are such long-form RPGs, and although Avadon is nowhere near the first title in terms of release date, it’s the first I’ve played because it’s first alphabetically.

Avadon is an RPG. If you’ve played Dragon Age Origins, you pretty much know what you’re getting into. For those who haven’t, it’s a game in which you choose a customizable character and get to play an increasingly important role in an overarching story, while talking to various NPCs in order to influence them to do things for you. Or maybe that’s just me being a manipulative bastard.

Granted it’s quite a bit less in-depth than a table-top RPG would be, but it’s streamlined enough to not get in the way when you play through.

Indeed.

Getting high while spelunking? Sure!

When I played through the first few hours of the game, I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, just as Dragon Age Origins wasn’t. I found it overflowing with things that wouldn’t progress the main story, and I kept doing all the optional stuff until I got so sidetracked I got bored. It’s probably my fault, but that’s my gameplay style.

Avadon on the other hand is a text-based game – most of the story in the game is told via slightly verbose text boxes. I don’t mind wordy games, and that was its own reward as I played the game – as you get more into the story, you gradually get immersed into the world of the Pact, the alliance of regions protected by the Black Fortress, Avadon, a city-state of immense wealth and military power, which acts as some sort of Peacekeeper.

Slaughtering is straightforward and satisfying.

Slaughtering is straightforward and satisfying.

Inside Avadon, there’s a strict caste-based system, which sounds rather logical – there’s the Keeper, the big boss of the fortress, who organizes the entire thing, the Hearts, which are sort of the lieutenants, giving orders and handling the lower-level organization (middle-management, basically), the Eyes, which act as the information keepers and scouts of the fort, and the Hands, of which you are one, the agents of Avadon, basically taking the hands-on approach.

It gives you quite a bit of freedom, since it means your words generally have some sort of influence and weight when it comes to the foreign countries, not to mention you can go around stealing anything you want (as long as you aren’t seen). You get other Hands to come with you from early on, helping you quite a bit with the turn-based tactical combat. It works well, and there’s even loyalty missions linked to each of your companions, similar to what you’d see in a big budget title like Mass Effect. Your decisions have weight, but I haven’t gotten nearly far enough to feel just how much of an effect they did have.

The skills are interesting enough to want to get them.

The skills are interesting enough to want to get.

It’s detailed, it’s well written, it’s eloquent and doesn’t treat you like a dork, it’s a great game, which makes me look forward to the other titles.

It’s on Steam, it’s 7 Euros – if you’ve loved the classic RPGs of the 90s, you’ll totally love this one, and it’s completely worth the money. May not be much of a looker, but you’ll enjoy it if you give it a chance.

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