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Thursday, May 15, 2008

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Exploring The Underground In Avernum 5
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

RPGWatch has posted a new review of Spiderweb Software's Avernum 5. The latest installment in the long running RPG series takes a new direction with the story, allowing players to explore as a group of soldiers from the above ground world of the Empire. RPGWatch gave the game a score of 4 out of 5.

From the review:

Speaking of encounters, Jeff Vogel spoke in interviews prior to release about trying to remove the “trash” combats – those generic fights that serve only to fill out the content. The Avernum series has always leaned towards lots of combat – and Avernum V is no exception – but it's obvious that a lot of effort has been put into reducing random encounters and beefing up quest-related sequences and boss fights. And boy, are some of them memorable – the Soultaker's Pit, for example, is one of the most insidious dungeons I've played in a long time; equal parts frustratingly difficult but satisfying to finish.

Combat is definitely a central plank of the gameplay. As always, the combat model is based on a simple turn-based, party-based system that is solid and enjoyable but can get repetitive over the course of the game. I've reviewed four or five Spiderweb games over the last few years and one of my biggest complaints has been the lack of options for non-magic characters – there were plenty of overall tactics in party-building, positioning characters during encounters and managing buffs and spells across the group but if a character didn't use spells, they only had a standard attack (not including some passive abilities). Avernum V finally addresses this with Battle Disciplines and while the system isn't perfect, it's a welcome addition.

Battle Disciplines are special abilities that individual characters progressively unlock from a pool, based on a combination of their combat-related skill scores - which means with a couple of judicious choices mages and priests can also access them. During their turn, characters can add a Battle Discipline to their attack – they'll then have to wait a few turns for the fatigue to subside before using one again. Examples of Battle Disciplines include Shield Breaker, which makes foes more vulnerable to attacks for a few rounds and Berserker Rage, which adds some buffs for a while in return for a small reduction in health.
Check out the full review at the link provided below.

RPGWatch: Avernum 5 Review
Spiderweb Software
Avernum 5
Buy Avernum 5

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